How to lengthen/shorten a sleeve length

A modification of the sleeve length allows you to adjust it perfectly to your own morphology or to create new lengths when a pattern has only one version.

Basic material for making a transformation
To transform a pattern, it is advisable to have :

  • Adhesive tape

  • A parrot rule

  • A square

  • A graduated ruler

  • A support sheet

  • A pair of paper scissors

  • A fine point criterion/pencil


Adjustment of the length to its morphology

This technique does not require a very large modification. The objective being to rectify a part for a question of comfort, it is not normally necessary to add or subtract a very important value. 

For more details on methods A and B mentioned below, please refer to the article entitled "Basic techniques for shortening or lengthening a pattern. »

Definition of the transformation value

The basic stature used at Maison Fauve is 1m65.
For a stature of 1m70, the sleeves must be lengthened by +1.5 cm.
Above 1m70, the sleeves must be lengthened by +3 cm.
Below 1m70, the sleeves must be shortened by -1 cm.

Method A Cut the pattern pieces in 2 and add/subtract the desired value between the different parts.

This method is the most recommended as it does not alter the cut of the sleeve.

  • Draw a line perpendicular to the straight thread on the sleeve. Place it anywhere between the hem line and the underarm line.

    Key point: If the sleeve has a fancy cut, it is important to check that the proportions of the volumes are still well respected. Place the transformation axis in adequacy with the model.

  • Cut on the line, then spread the pieces to lengthen the pattern or stack the pieces to shorten the pattern.

Case of a classic straight sleeve
Maïa dress

Case of a fancy sleeve
Sweatshirt Granite

Case of a sleeve with a cut-out
Dress Sonia


Method B Modify the bottom of the pieces in the continuity of the existing layout.

Depending on the cut of the sleeve (straight, flared, fancy) and the desired transformation, it will be possible or not to modify the piece from the bottom, in the continuity of the existing line . It will depend on the case.

For more details on this method, please refer to the article entitled "Basic techniques for shortening or lengthening a pattern. »

Shorten/lengthen a sleeve to get another version.

This technique allows you to turn a short sleeve into a long sleeve and vice versa. It is also possible to opt for a ¾ length. This transformation is mainly applied to classic straight cut sleeves, without fancy elements.

  • Visually define the new sleeve length on the arm, then measure the height from the shoulder rounding to the virtual line defined previously.
    On the sleeve pattern, draw an axis connecting the 2 underarm points (from left to right). Normally this new axis should be perpendicular to the straight thread. Measure this line and mark a point in the middle. From this new point, draw a vertical axis on the whole height of the sleeve, remaining parallel to the straight thread and perpendicular to the underarm line. This axis will be used as a reference so as not to deform the structure of the sleeve.

  • Transfer the desired length of the new sleeve along the vertical axis. The starting point is at the top of the sleeve head. The end point is at the hem of the new sleeve.

    In the case of a conversion to a long sleeve, the vertical axis must be extended beyond the basic line.

  • Draw the new hemline always parallel to the underarm line and perpendicular to the straight thread.

For a short sleeve

The hemline begins and ends at the intersection with the side lines of the base sleeve.

For a long sleeve

  • The width of the sleeve on the bottom must be defined beforehand by measuring the wrist with ease. Check that the hand can pass, if not increase the ease.

  • Divide the measurement obtained in 2 and transfer it on both sides of the vertical axis, at the hem.

  • Trace the sides of the sleeve from the underarm stitches to the bottom.

1 comment

Thank you Emilie for your very clear explanations.
I will be able to transform my short sleeve into a long one.

Kergoat Gaëlle March 28, 2023

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