How to Add Sleeves to a Sleeveless Dress

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The perfect dress, both flattering and modest, can often be so hard to find. But not if you know how to add sleeves to a sleeveless dress. If showing those upper arms just isn't your thing, go ahead and buy that sleeveless dress anyway because you're about to learn how to easily make any sleeveless garment more work-friendly, comfortable and cool weather appropriate.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Things You'll Need

  • Sleeveless dress
  • Coordinating long-sleeved T-shirt
  • Sharp scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine with a 90/14 universal needle
(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 1

Cut off the sleeve from the T-shirt right along the existing seam.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 2

Measure around the armhole, or armscye, of the dress and around the top of the T-shirt sleeve.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 3

If the measurement of the top of the sleeve is larger than the armscye measurement, you'll need to take in the sleeve. You can do this by subtracting the armscye measurement from the top of the sleeve measurement and taking in the sleeve by that much at the underarm seam.

For example, if your armscye measurement is 16 inches and your sleeve measurement is 18 inches, use this equation to determine how much to take in your sleeve: 18-16 =2/2=1. You will need to take 2 inches off the circumference of the top of the sleeve. Do this by measuring 1 inch in from the underarm sleeve seam and pin along this line.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 4

Sew along the pin line, removing the pins as you sew.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 5

Trim the new sleeve seam. Leave a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 6

Turn the sleeve right-side out and place it inside the armhole so the right side of the sleeve is against the wrong side of the dress armhole.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 7

Pin the sleeve in place.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 8

Sew the sleeve in place, and be sure to remove the pins as you sew.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Now you can wear your dress and feel more confident, modest and warm.

(Image: Beth Huntington)
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