I’m finding as the seasons change (we’re slow about season changing here in Southern CA) that Eli has outgrown most of his existing long sleeved shirts. I’m trying to go the frugal route these days and as he has plenty of short sleeved T-shirts that fit him well I decided to try adding long sleeves to them.
Here’s how I went about doing so:
I started with this shirt. Yea, already has long sleeves, but they were at one time in the distant past white and no amount of laundering or stain treatment is returning them to their former glory, so this shirt had been pulled from rotation some time ago. The shirt itself is fine though and one of Eli’s favorites, so we’ll just switch out the sleeve.
Carefully clip it free… so much faster than seam ripping!
Open it up and trace it onto freezer paper to make a pattern. I did seam rip the side seam to preserve the side seam allowances. Add 1/4″ at the top to account for what was left behind when cutting it from the shirt. (I think you could probably make a pattern easily enough by tracing the sleeve of a long sleeved shirt still attached, doubling it mirror image and adding a seam allowance.) Leaving the bottom without allowance for hemming was on purpose as I plan to use the hemmed bottom of another t-shirt for the sleeve.
Iron the pattern to your donor shirt. I loved this yellow stripy shirt that became hideously stained by Colic Calm long ago. (Wonderful product… deadly to fabric.)
Open the side seam of your sleeve a little ways.
Sew the top part of the long sleeve to the bottom part of the short sleeve. This can be done by machine. I did it by hand as I was out of brown thread that would have blended in with the existing serged line of stitching and I thought a contrasting machine stitch would just look tacky, especially if I wavered at all which often happens with me. I also liked that the front of the shirt has an embellishment of brown embroidery, and a printed-to-look-hand-embroidered line around Elmo. On the sleeves the darker red stripes are machine embroidered, so I thought carrying the motif over to the attachment of the sleeve with a little pop of red might be fun.
Pin and sew up the sides of the sleeve. For this I did use the machine. (Use a zigzag stitch).
Turn right side out and enjoy the “new” shirt!
I also used the same pattern piece to make long sleeves to add to a short sleeved t-shirt. This time I sewed up the side seam of the sleeve ahead of time and then attached it to the short sleeve by hand. I did it this way simply because I didn’t feel like ripping open the side seam of the short sleeve and I knew I was needing a little handwork to bring along with me for a time I knew I’d be sitting around waiting for Jeff and Eli. The dark blue on the bottom is just some left over neck ribbing from another old t-shirt that I added for an extra pop of color.
I hope you find this tutorial helpful in extending your little one’s wardrobe through another season.
Thanks for reading!
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