How to add sleeves to strapless bridal gowns

Written by michele casteel
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to add sleeves to strapless bridal gowns
This gown needs sleeves. (elegant wedding dress gown back veil image by Paul Retherford from

You found the perfect wedding dress to fit you and your budget. The only problem is that it is sleeveless. Trends in wedding dresses slide from completely strapless to large, poofy sleeves from one decade to the next. If you have basic sewing skills it is possible to add sleeves to your dress.

Skill level:

Other People Are Reading

Things you need

  • Sheer fabric, lace, or a solid satin that match your gown
  • Ready-made cap sleeves
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing equipment

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Measure the wearer's body to determine the correct measurements for the sleeves. Place the end of the tape measure at the base of the neck along the shoulder line through the shoulder bone. Label this as measurement A. From the shoulder point, run the tape along the arm down to the elbow. Hold down the tape on the elbow and place it on the side of the forearm down to wrist bone and label this as measurement B. Sleeve length will be equal to measurement A minus measurement B. If it is your dress, get someone else to take the measurements.

  2. 2

    Make the straps. Lay out the sheer fabric on a flat surface and cut it with the given measurement using scissors. This measurement will serve as your strap. Sew in the strap by starting from the tip of the front of the dress to the tip of the back of the dress. Stitch the shoulder seams of the garment.

  3. 3

    Attach the cap sleeves. With the strap you just made, put on the ready-made cap sleeves. Align the sleeve piece by putting right sides together. Attach the cap to the strap area using assorted pins.

  4. 4

    Stitch the seems together with the sewing machine. Slowly stitch the sleeve caps to the bodice from one notch to another. Begin sewing with the sleeve on top. Put a seam allowance on the sleeve side up. Sew two rows of hem stitches from end to end or notch to notch. Leave a few inches of thread at one end. Gather up the sleeve cap, at the notches. This section will fit into an armhole. Leave a couple inches of thread at one end. Slowly gather the sleeve cap, matching notches, to fit in the armhole. Press seam toward the sleeve and trim close to the stitch.

  5. 5

    Add the secured stitching. Once the cap sleeve is sewn into the strap, pull about twice the length of thread from the bobbin. Put the bobbin thread along the cap and the notch area. Gently lay a zigzag seam above the bobbin thread. Take hold of the sleeve cap and pull the bobbin thread, notches and sew.

  6. 6

    Repeat Steps 3 to 5 for the opposite sleeve.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.