Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday Sewing - Short Sleeved Shirt Into Long Sleeved

I found this darling vintage embroidery pattern of a kitten on French Knots and wanted to embroider it onto a shirt for little c.  She's crazy, crazy about cats!  The crazy cat lady of the two-year-old bunch!  I had a leftover short sleeved shirt from a bunch I bought last summer to dye up for her, but the weather's too cold for short sleeves in the Northwest this time of the year, so I decided to add sleeves under the short sleeves.  This is really easy to do if you have an extra T-shirt laying around.  I had a really nice soft one I loved - until I accidentally put it in the dryer and got a midriff shirt.  Not very attractive at my age!

Before adding the sleeves, I dyed the shirt (about one part Procion magenta with a smidge of cobalt blue and 1/2 part pewter) and did the embroidery.

1.  Take the T-shirt you're going to add sleeves to and lay it out along the edge of a newspaper section that has a fold in it as shown below.  Put the top of the sleeve directly on the fold.

2.  Using a straight edge, draw a line from the armpit to the length you want the long sleeve to be.  Notice how I'm following the taper of the sleeve so that the wrist will be a little narrower than the shoulder.

3.  Make a mark on the newspaper's folded edge at the shoulder seam.

4.  Fold the sleeve under and draw a line along the curved sleeve seam.  There are dressmaker tools that can help you do this - if you have one, you can use that.  Don't worry if you don't - you get close enough this way.

5.  Draw a line 1/4 inch beyond the lines you already have - this is your seam allowance.  You won't need an allowance at the wrist since we'll be using the bottom hem of the extra T-shirt.

6.  Open up your newspaper pattern and place on the extra shirt, placing the wrist along the bottom hem.  Make sure you have the bottom hems lined up evenly.  Pin and cut out - you should have two sleeves.

7.  Take one sleeve, fold in half (right sides together) and sew in a 1/4 inch seam.

8.  Turn right side out.  Fold the sleeve in half and mark the side that doesn't have the seam where shown.  This is where you'll place the sleeve on the shoulder seam of the T-shirt you're adding sleeves to.

9.  Slide the long sleeve into the short sleeve.

10.  Find the seam inside the shirt where the short sleeve was attached to the shirt.  Pin your long sleeve to this seam matching the mark you made to the shoulder seam and matching the underarm seams.

11.  Finish pinning along the whole seam. 

12.  Sew along the seam line that was used to attach the short sleeve.  I use a straight stitch and then go over it with a wide zigzag (too narrow and it makes the seam rough), but you might have a machine stitch you like to use to sewing and overcasting.

13.  There's your first long sleeve! 

14.  Repeat with the other sleeve.

Happy Creating!  Deborah


  1. The shirt is very cute! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I appreciate your work. It is very helpful and also it's a easiest way to make short sleeve shirts. Thanks for such a great post. Keep it up !!!