How to Add Sleeves to a Sleeveless Dress

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 Credit: 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 Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 1

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

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 2

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

Image Credit: 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 Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 4

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

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 5

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

Image Credit: 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 Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 7

Pin the sleeve in place.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 8

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

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

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

Image Credit: Beth Huntington