Adventures in sewing: Shortening shirt sleeves

More of my sewing adventures from this summer… next is a project I’ve been thinking about since this winter, when my friend Stephanie fashion-swapped me several items from her wardrobe, as seen here in this post. One of those items was a cute black-and-white button-up top with a small diamond print on the fabric.

Librarian for Life + Style | How to shorten cuffed shirt sleeves

I wore the top a couple of items before deciding that I needed to shorten the sleeves from a 3/4 length to above the elbow.

Librarian for Life + Style | A before shot of my cuffed sleeves

Librarian for Life + Style | How much to shorten the cuffs

I’ve never done this before, so I studied the structure of the sleeve to figure out the steps of what I needed to do. A majority of time on a sewing project is always spent on the prep work, much more than the actual time sewing. Here are the steps of the prep work I needed to do:

  • measure how much I needed to shorten the sleeve
  • take out the stitching that connected the cuffs to the sleeves
  • take out the stitching of the back vent bindings
  • measure how much fabric needed to be cut — and re-measure!
  • cut a new back vent for each sleeve

Librarian for Life + Style | Seam ripping

Librarian for Life + Style | Measuring how much to shorten shirt cuffs

I then repinned the binding covers for the new back vents and sewed them back on. This was necessary before sewing back on the cuffs.

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing progress in shortening cuffed shirt sleeves

I then sewed the cuffs back on, after pinning them and double-checking them in the mirror to make sure of the shorter length. And the final result below! I could have skipped the back sleeve vents, but I felt them necessary for a bit of extra give — and they make the end product look much more professional!

Librarian for Life + Style | Results of shortening shirt cuffs

The very last step was to remove four small belt loops right under the bustline. There used to be a matching fabric belt with this top, but Stephanie said that belt got lost years ago. Also, it feels unnecessary to have a belt on this top, so I didn’t feel bad at all about taking off the four little loops. It was a simple job, picking out the top stitching of the small belt loops.

Librarian for Life + Style | Taking off belt loops

I smiled when I realized those four little belt loops also happen to be the perfect size to use later on for bra strap holders for a couple of dresses. Waste not, want not! 😀

And best of all, it feels like I have a totally new top for the fall! What do y’all think of my sewing project and end result? Please leave a comment and let me know!


10 thoughts on “Adventures in sewing: Shortening shirt sleeves

  1. Meghan @ Hayes Days

    The result is super cute! The top has a much younger vibe to it with the shorter sleeves, especially with the keyhole opening. You did a great job!

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      Thanks! I am definitely paying more attention to the structure of clothing now, especially if I like something but it’s not quite right. I then ask myself, “Could I fix this easily or not?” It’s funny, though, how you can feel such a big feeling of accomplishment by just hemming something! 😉

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