I thought I would share how I shortened the sleeve of a dress shirt. I had to take it up about 3 3/4 inches.
thread to match the shirt
To begin I actually googled to see how other people did it. There are two ways to shorten a sleeve and some will argue about which is actually the best way. Some feel shortening from the shoulder is the best way to go. Doing it this way you eliminate the need to move the cuff and placket. Others feel that shortening from the bottom is the best way as recutting the sleeve shoulder can be a pain and can change the shape, and therefore fit, of the sleeve. Also if you only need to shorten by 1 inch or less, you just need to move the cuff and it shouldn’t affect the size or look of the placket.
I chose to go the route of the latter mainly because the shirt I was working on was a really well made Christian Dior and they had flat felled the shoulder seam, which I didn’t want to have to redo so making the adjustment at the cuff seemed the lesser of two evils.
I also decided that it would be best to do one sleeve at time. This way I could use the other sleeve as a reference and it lessened my chances of mixing up pieces or putting something on backwards. smart no? :D
First things first, I very carefully took off the cuff and placket. As I removed the stitches I took note of the important measurments: wrist measurement and placket slit.
Next I cut off the excess sleeve material making sure to leave enough for the seam to reattach the cuff. It’s hard to tell but I’d like to point out that most sleeves like this are not straight across at the wrist. There is usually a little more length towards the top of the sleeve. This makes sure the cuff appears straight on the wrist. So I made sure that I cut off the necessary amount while following the curve at the wrist of the sleeve.
Next I measured and cut the slit for placket to the correct length. You can see the cuts from where the top of the original slit was.
Next I opened up the underarm seam to within a few inches of the underarm. The sleeve needed to be narrowed at the wrist to match the original wrist measurment.
This was actually the second sleeve I was working on so I had learned from the first one that it is best to leave this seam open until the placket is back in. So I reattached the skinny side of the placket. It’s edge stitched in place and at the top of the slit there is a little triangle cut. That gets stitched across the top of the placket piece. Sorry for such a crappy description but I’m not sure how else to put it in words. So here’s the photo.
Next I reattached the larger placket piece. It’s pretty self explanatory in the photo’s, just allign it with the other cut edge of the placket slit and top stitch.
Next I sewed up the underarm seam. It’s a flat-felled seam so I just used the original seam at the top of the underarm seam as reference for how much to press under for the area that I had trimmed off. Once that was done I used the original wrist piece that I had cut off as reference for where to place the pleats. I used a marking pencil to mark the folds. Then I lined up the cuff and edge stitched it back on. All that is left is to reattach the button and it’s done!