Let’s add sleeves to this darling prom dress, for a bit of added modesty. This post shows a how to add sleeves to a dress tutorial with step by step instructions. Read through all the instructions first, before beginning. (Please excuse the color differences in the pictures. Natural light from the window compared to overhead light bulbs really made the dress color change!)
Luckily, in the case of this dress, it came with a shawl (drape or shrug) of the same fabric so we started with a perfect match for making the sleeves. Otherwise, look in fabric store for a fabric similar or identical to the actual dress fabric.
I used bias tape to help finish the ends in a clean, no-loose-threads way. You could also use ribbon or make bias tape (with the same sleeve fabric) to cover the ends. Generally, fancier fabrics unravel in an annoying and messy way so it’s nice to keep them covered and protected from falling apart.
To finish the bias tape ends: 1. Trim the excess fabric, and the bias tape to a 1/4 inch from the edge of the sleeve. 2. Fold in the end of bias tape. 3. Fold the top over. 4. Fold in the final edge and pin to hold into place.
With a seam ripper, carefully remove the other straps (if there are any) and carefully repair any seams that might need to be fixed. Then, place the sleeves where you want them to be situated on the dress. Re-check the desired length by having the garment owner try it on. Pin into place.
The finished product should look something like this (above). I will admit, I had to pick out the stitches (to change the sleeve placement) at least once, in my case to make the sleeves fit tighter and not slip off the shoulders.
And here is the finished dress. The gathered sleeves work especially well with the design of this particular dress. Depending on the dress, you could add flat pleats or just a flat piece of coordinating fabric as a sleeve- depending on your dress. Good luck friends!
I’d love your feedback…. Leave a comment here and let me know if this tutorial was helpful or could be improved or clarified in any way. Thanks!