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Two Cuff Design Ideas | Video

Louise Cutting offers easy fixes for sleeves that don't fit.

If you have a garment with sleeves that are too long or too wide at the hem, Threads Contributing Editor Louise Cutting offers a solution with a couple of sleeve cuff designs. These are are easy fixes that improve the garment’s look and wearability.

Shorten a sleeve

Louise shows how to shorten a sleeve by adding a tuck about 3 inches above and parallel to the hemline. This tuck removes up to 1 inch of length, and the finished effect is of a double-layered sleeve. If you need to shorten the sleeve by more than an inch, sew additional tucks farther up the sleeve.

Narrow a sleeve

The sleeve hem circumference in many commercial patterns is large—often 11 inches to 14 inches. This can be unflattering and awkward to wear. If you have already completed the garment and want to narrow the sleeve at the hem, try adding multiple pin tucks perpendicular to the hem. Make them about 4 inches long, but don’t worry if they are a bit uneven. Louise explains the tucks look more fashionable when there is a slight variation in length. First, confirm that the fabric, with its original hem sewn, is lightweight enough to allow you to stitch 1/8-inch-deep tucks. When sewing the tucks, don’t backstitch at the ends. Instead, pull the upper thread to the wrong side and tie it to the corresponding bobbin thread.


About This Video Series

Louise Cutting, a Threads contributing editor, is a renowned designer and teacher. She focuses on industry sewing techniques that help home sewers achieve a professional result. In Volume 8 of her popular Industry Insider Techniques video series, Louise shares methods for improving your garments with precision construction tips, design ideas, and better closures. This volume includes the following 12 videos: Put a Dart on the Slant Reduce Pocket Bulk Trim a Dolman Sleeve Proper Corner…

More About this Video Series


  1. user-7225691 | | #1

    Love the pintuck idea. If there is a way to add these pintucks elsewhere, the garment would look more put together.

  2. lindalouise | | #2

    Very clever Louise, thank you!

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