Detachable Bell Sleeve

We all love fashion in some sense or form. Some a lot more than others! I personally couldn’t keep up with every trend that’s churned out every week. It’s time consuming and can end up costing the earth! Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to dip into a little of what’s on offer now and again but I do try and choose wisely. In fear of throwing my money away I can’t help but think, ‘will I still want to wear this is a few months?’ Some may think I’m totally over thinking the buying process and I should just get it if I like it but can’t help try and avoid joining the ‘throw away fashion’ army. This is how I came up with this idea of a removable sleeve! The yellow dress I have used was bought from Zara about 5 years ago. I love it so much but recently been thinking I’d love it even more if the sleeves were shorter! As I’m not one for wasting anything I thought there must be something I could use the rest of the cut off sleeves for? Yes! Another sleeve! I do like the bell sleeve that’s made an appearance over the last few months but some of them are that big look like they’ll get in the way of simple daily things like washing your hands or eating. Then there’s clothes with frilly bits on… They always look pretty but then I think they’ll be an seasonal fad and I’ll go off them which brings me back to not wanting to waste my money on throw away fashion. Since altering my dress I love the way I can now wear it in two different ways and it was mostly done without a sewing machine!

What you’ll need:

·         A long sleeved dress

·         Matching coloured cotton

·         Press Studs (the mini metal hooks featured in the photos was what I used originally for this idea but they failed! Press studs are much better!)

·         Scissors

·         Tape measure or ruler

·         Fabric chalk or a pencil

·         Iron

·         Pins

·         Sewing machine is optional


Step 1

Fold your dress in half with the sleeves stretched out together and mark where you’ll be shortening the sleeves to. You might want to try on the dress first to decide this. Leave a couple of centimetres to double up a hem and cut the sleeve. Double hem, pin and press with an iron and sew. I preferred sewing the hem by hand so I could do an invisible stitch.


Step 2

Making the detachable sleeve piece. Unpick the remaining piece of the sleeve that you have just cut away to open it up. Cut the opened up piece in half and then sew it together to make it longer. (This is the only part that I used my sewing machine on. Hand sewing these two pieced together will also do the trick). Measure the width and note it down to make sure you make the other sleeve will be the same size.

Step 3

Double hem both of the long sides pin it in place, press with an iron and sew.

 Step 4

Now pleat one edge. Gather and fold it a little bit every couple of centimetres and then stitch together.

Step 5

Keep the pleated sleeve inside out and join the two ends together. Check that it fits into the sleeve of the dress and if its too big adjust the size. You want it to tuck in as neatly as possible. Pin to the correct size and then sew it together. Turn it out the correct way again before sewing on the press studs.


Step 6

Sewing in your press studs. Start off with four and see how you go. The amount of press studs  depends on the width of your sleeve. Pull them apart and sew your first four halves on the inside of your sleeve that’s attached to the dress. Sew the other four halves on the outside of the detachable sleeve. This will ensure the studs will stay invisible.


Follow my blog with Bloglovin


Leave a comment