Puff-sleeve flashback tee + tutorial

Want an easy way to “girl up” your Flashback Tees? How about a puff sleeve? It’s so easy, it’s crazy. Here’s what I’m talking about:

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(she’s wearing a basic rectangle skirt that we sewed together, by the way…I put the elastic in and did all the pressing, but she sewed the side seam, the elastic casing, and the hem, with my help of course. It’s a nice quick project to sew with your kid!)

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I made this tee with my Flashback Skinny Tee pattern but you can do this with any sleeve really. Here’s a quick how-to:

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First, cut your sleeve pieces, but move the sleeve pattern piece at least 1″ away from the fold, keeping the edge parallel to the fold (this will add 2″ to your sleeve width, because the fold doubles everything).

  • If you don’t want your sleeve to have 2″ added to the entire width, tilt the pattern pieces so that the top of the sleeve is 1″ away from the fold, and keep the bottom of the sleeve right at the fold.
  • If the sleeve pattern piece is full-width rather than a half pattern piece like the one shown, just fold the sleeve pattern piece in half to create an edge to place along the fold.

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Gather the top of the sleeves. I use a long stitch length and high tension on my machine, and I sew about 1/4″ away from the edge. I usually cheat and do just one row of stitches. One other thing: you know how the top of a sleeve kind of looks like a hill? I only stitch along the “top of the hill,” not the entire curved top edge of the sleeve. If you want to get technical: I only gather the top of the sleeve where it’s convex, not where it’s concave.

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Pin and sew the sleeve to the armhole.

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Repeat for the other sleeve. Then sew the side seams and finish up the hems!

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A couple other things. First, you can do this with long sleeves too!

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Second, if you don’t like how wide the sleeve is at the bottom, you can sew an elastic casing or a line of elastic shirring at the bottom of the sleeve to gather it, like I did with this top (can’t wait to show you more of this top!!):

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Just in case you missed it, the tutorial on turning the flashback tee into a short-sleeve tee is here:

and the Flashback Tee can be found here:

18 thoughts on “Puff-sleeve flashback tee + tutorial

  1. Where in the world did you get that fantastic striped fabric?? Thanks for the tutorial…I’ve been meaning to figure out how to do this….

  2. Tell me more about sewing with C…

    My daughter is a bit younger and enjoying helping in her father’s woodshop, so I’ve been wondering how to let her help with sewing.

    • Hi Erin,

      You know, as long as she is interested, I just put the pedal up on a large tupperware bin (or move the machine to a kiddy table), and put her in my lap. She pushes the reverse button and pushes the pedal; I help “steer” and tell her when to start and stop. We talk about staying away from the needle alot. She also likes to cut the thread at the end of each line of stitching. It lasts about 5-10 minutes before she gets bored, so I prep the skirt for the next step after she’s “done.” :)

  3. Wa-hoo! I love the sleeve-puff! I have 4 (four) little girls and I see a lot of puffed sleeves in my future. I’ve been on a re-fitting kick for one of my gals — making the oversized t-shirts that come with soccer and VBS and school and everything else actually, y’know, *fit* the kid by laying the flashback tee pattern on top of the ill-fitting shirt. How much funner will it be with puffed sleeves!

    Thanks, Rae!

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