How to Make Puff Sleeves

Written by sarah dixon
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How to Make Puff Sleeves
Puff sleeves add a special touch to any outfit. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Puff sleeves can be traced to the Renaissance era when women and men alike wore this fashionable trend. Today, this style continues to be popular and can be seen on a variety of blouses and dresses. Recognised by their gathered edges and billowy structure, puff sleeves can be easily added to any outfit to create a flattering and feminine look.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Fabric
  • 1/4 inch wide elastic
  • Sewing machine
  • White paper
  • Scissors
  • Fabric pen
  • Tape measure
  • Safety pins

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  1. 1

    Draw a sleeve pattern using fabric pen and paper. The pattern should measure approximately 24 inches across, 14 inches high and be bell-shaped. Increase or decrease height based on desired puff size.

  2. 2

    Measure the length of your garment's armhole. Increase or decrease the bottom length of your pattern if necessary.

  3. 3

    Trace the pattern onto material with a fabric pen and cut out two sleeves.

  4. 4

    Sew across the curve, beginning 1/3 of the way into the sleeve and stopping 1/3 distance from end.

    How to Make Puff Sleeves
    Use a straight stitch when sewing your sleeves. (Jupiterimages/ Images)
  5. 5

    Cut the threads, leaving 2 to 3 inches in excess. These will be used later to gather the sleeve.

  6. 6

    Stitch the bottom of the sleeve.

  7. 7

    Hold both ends of thread at the top of the sleeve. Gently push the fabric toward the centre, gathering the edge until it reaches the length of your armhole.

  8. 8

    Tie the threads on each end to hold the gathers in place.

  9. 9

    Sew the bottom flaps together to create a seam.

  10. 10

    Fold over and iron 1/2 inch of the bottom edge. Stitch the bottom, leaving a small opening on either end for the elastic.

  11. 11

    Cut a piece of elastic the length of the armhole. Attach a safety pin to one end and thread it through the bottom edge.

  12. 12

    Remove the safety pin and gently gather the fabric over the elastic. Stich the ends of the elastic together and sew the edge closed.

  13. 13

    Match the seam of your sleeve to the armhole of the garment and sew the edges together.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid gathering the sleeves too tightly. This can reduce the size of your sleeve and prevent it from fitting properly.
  • Increasing the height of your pattern can add more volume to your sleeve.

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