Busy Bee – How to cut a sleeve without a pattern

Hi everyone.

So I haven’t posted anything in a while, I have been so busy with an exciting new project; I am currently making some beautiful pieces for the photo shoot for my website (I will update everyone once it is up and running) and my clients have kept my sewing machines rumbling with plenty of orders, no complaints there however 🙂 . Stay tuned because there will be loads of exciting news to share with you guys over the next few weeks and beyond *wink wink*.

If like me you do not like showing your arms, and I believe this is the case with so many women I come across, this tutorial might just be a life saver. The ability to add sleeves to ready made sleeveless garments is a very handy skill because it means you don’t have to pass up on that dress you wish had sleeves in the shop, you can be creative with the kind of sleeve and your fabric choice and it is a great way for a newbie to get used to working the sewing machine. so here goes……

You will needImage

Fabric

Tape measure

Scissors

chalk, or something to mark you fabric with

ruler

sewing machine

steam iron

Measure the circumference right at the top of the arm, (Round Sleeve RS). Don’t wrap the tape too tight here because you will need a some ease.

Measure the circumference around your elbow area, (Round Elbow RE), do this by bending your elbow at a 90 degree angle and then measure.

Measure the wrist circumference, bare in mind that your hand has to slip in and out of the wrist comfortably, so if you are not using a stretchy fabric then you must make this measurement accommodate your hand (I usually make a loop with the tape and test for ease of entry)

Measure your sleeve length and your elbow length (watch this link as it shows you how to measure for freehand cutting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkywf2kGthg&feature=youtu.be )

Half the RS, RE, and wrist measurements

Cut out a piece of fabric that is the length of your sleeve+4 inches and the width of your RSx2 + 3 inches

Fold the fabric in half width-wise and press and in half again width-wise and press, you should have one edge that has two folds and the opposite edge should have a cut edge and a folded edge, the edge with the 2 folds are now the centre of each sleeve.

Working on the folded edge (cdenter sleeves) mark your sleeve length adding half an inch to the top and one inch to the bottom of the sleeve

Then mark your elbow length along the same edge.

Measure 6 inches down from the top of the sleeve centre edge and mark (this is the RS point)

Those are your vertical measurements for your sleeves done, now the horizontal measurements and remember you are working with the halved measurements now

from the RS point mark the halved RS measurement+0.5 inch horizontally

Do the same with the elbow and wrist from the previously marked round elbow and wrist points (the wrist is the bottom of the sleeve)

using a ruler draw a line the connects the RS, RE and Wrist marks

At the top of the sleeve freehand a curve that slopes down from the RS point and climbs up to round the top of the sleeve

Image

This is how your sleeve should look, now cut it out and notch the centre edge at the bottom and the top. you are ready to sew your sleeve!!!!

To set in your sleeves, match the notch at the top centre of your sleeve with the edge of your shoulder seam and sew.

Here is what I made.

Image

please send me pics of garments you reinvent with a sleeve addition, and message me if anything is unclear

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18 comments

  1. Hi Chinelo hope you are well!! I really would like to learn free hand techniques and was wondering when you will be doing another work shop?

    Keshia

  2. I dont understand d part about folding d fabric in half width-wise twice.thus i can’t proceed wt d instructions.wd u pls explain better or at least post a picture of d folds.thank u

    1. Hi Bunmi. When you cut the fabric, the length is the lenght of your sleeve and the width is the measurement of your armcycle x2, fold it this way and not along the length, so the length of the sleeve is not affected at all by the folding. Does this clarify things? if not just let me know. Please send me a pic of your completed top
      Xxx

  3. Chinelo, I love your blog and I’m busy watching my recorded episodes of the Sewing Bee, I’m on the quarter finals week! I adore this jacket you’ve made, was it freehand cut? Would you be able to post the instructions on how to make something like this at some point in the future pretty please? I live in Plymouth and would love to come to one of your workshops, but it’s just too far to travel.

  4. Hi Chinello,
    This is really good. Happy to see that you are sharing. I learned to sew by making patterns, but just don’t have the time to. So I don’t sew anymore. But you will get me sewing again. I live in the Caribbean and this is how most people do it. But no one tells you how. Please post more vids. Maybe you can have a membership site and we can pay to join so your videos are monetized. Why not? I’m sure all will be happy to support you. Great job.
    Dawn

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