How To Make A Flutter Sleeve

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Do you have sleeves on your sewing patterns that just don’t fit quite right? Or, maybe, you want a sleeve that is loose and flowy. This quick sewing class will demonstrate how to make a flutter sleeve.

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This gorgeous fabric is a John Kaldor Portia ITY Silky Knit Fabric from Minerva. It is soft, floaty, and easy to sew.

I wasn’t happy with the fit on the sewing pattern sleeve. I wanted something a little more roomy. Easy fix.

Pattern Work

Trace your pattern on pattern paper. I like Prym Gridded Pattern Paper. It comes on a roll, I use it for all my pattern adjustments. The dots make it easy to square up your pieces.

How To Make A Flutter Sleeve
Trace Your Pattern

Next you want to draw lines radiating out of the sleeve cap to the bottom edge. Five lines work well for a slight fullness. Add more lines if you want something super fluttery.

How To Make A Flutter Sleeve
Draw lines radiating from the sleeve cap to the bottom edge

Cut out your new sleeve pattern. Then cut up the lines from the bottom edge to the sleeve cap. Make sure you cut to the sleeve cap but not through the sleeve cap. You are left with a little “hinge” and the pattern should be in one piece. Tape is good if you get a little wild with the scissors!

How To Make A Flutter Sleeve
Cut to but not through the sleeve cap

Lay your newly cut pattern back on the gridded paper. I use plain old stainless steel washers to hold my pattern pieces down. They are faster and easier than pins.

How To Make A Flutter Sleeve
Reposition cut pattern piece

Here Comes Some Math

Decide on the width of the bottom hem of your sleeve. You need to do some math here, sorry. Take the desired circumference of your new sleeve, subtract the original pattern circumference and the difference is how much you need to spread your cut lines.

On my sewing pattern, I wanted to increase my sleeve edge circumference by 7.5 inches. I had five cut lines, so 7.5 inches divided by 5 cut lines equals 1.5 inches. I spread each cutline 1.5 inches to create my new sleeve.

How To Make A Flutter Sleeve
Determine the sleeve edge spread

Trace you cut pattern piece with the openings evenly spread. I extended the sleeve seam because I wanted it more square. This is a style decision, but if you don’t extend them, your sleeve will be shorter at the seam line.

How To Make A Flutter Sleeve
Trace your new sleeve pattern

By keeping the sleeve cap together, you won’t have an issue inserting the sleeve into your pattern. all you have done is make the sleeve wider and more roomy.


You are now ready to cut out your fabric and sew up your top or dress pattern.

Changing up elements of your best patterns give you lots of style options. It also helps you get the fit and look you want in your clothes.

You can find out more about making this dress in my post How To Sew A Swing Dress That Fits.

I hope you have enjoyed this quick sewing class on how to make a flutter sleeve.

Visit my Sewing Class and Trips page for more information about ongoing classes and trips.

Happy Sewing


6 thoughts on “How To Make A Flutter Sleeve

  1. Sandi, I love your articles and you make sewing seem so much easier. I just regret that I haven’t had a sewing machine in years; hopefully I will get another sewing machine one of these days!

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