DIY Belle Sleeve Top

Hey all!  Today I am sharing a DIY that has been on my todo list for about 43984573 years … no joke.  Do you ever write something in your planner and you don’t get to it so you move it up to the next week.  Which is fine, but I moved this project up to the next week about a thousand times!!  So you can imagine my excitement now as I sit here, FINALLY sharing this project with you!! Lol!

The belle sleeve top has been a staple this year and will continue to be this coming fall and onwards.  Today I am showing you a super quick and easy tutorial on how to take a basic shirt and turn it into a beautiful belle sleeve.









I’ve linked all the details to the items in this outfit, or the like over here

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It is best to read all of the instructions prior to starting

  1. first you are going to want to get your fabric.  I was using a black shirt so I decided to use this dark grey and white print fabric.  You don’t necessarily have to go out and buy fabric.  You can also recycle an old item of clothing if that works too!
  2. Once you have the fabric you would like to use, cut a 2 large circles out of it, and then another in the middle of these circles.  To do this I just traced over a large mixing bowl and for the inner circle I traced over a cup.  My mixing bowl was 12 inches in diameter and the cup was 3.  If you don’t have access to a large round object, you can also tie a string to a piece of chalk at the desired length you would like.  Then hold the string down in the middle with your finger, then trace a circle using your other hand and the chalk.
  3. To determine the size of the circle is really up to you. A larger circle will equal to a large more dramatic belle sleeve.  Where a small circle will turn to be more of a frill like sleeve.  It is really up to you and your preference.
  4. Once you have cut out your circle, you will need to cut the circle within it.  If you notice, I placed my inner circle a little off centred of my large circle.  This will allow the sleeve to drape slightly longer in the back.  If you wish to have it even all the way around, place the inner circle directly in the middle.
  5. To figure out the size of your inner circle, measure the circumference of the sleeve opening of the top you will be attaching this to.  I used a cup to measure my inner circle.  It was slightly bigger than the opening of my shirt but that is okay and I will tell you why soon.

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6. If your shirt fabric or circle fabric as a lot of stretch to it, you will want to attach an iron on interfacing to it prior to sewing.  This way the fabric stays in place while             sewing it and it doesn’t go all wonky on you.

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7. Next is the fun part! To prep your sleeve for sewing.  Lay it flat and fold your circle in half, bringing it towards the sleeve like shown above.  I have my fabric inside out because I would like the print to peak from the inside of the sleeve instead of being so bold on the outside of the sleeve.

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8. Next, match the edges of the sleeve with the circle and pin into place.  If you have designed your circle to be off centre, be sure the longer side of the circle is pinned to the back of your sleeve.

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9. Start sewing the sleeve.  Make sure you are sewing with the sleeve inside out so when you are finished, your seams are hidden on the inside of the garment.  Start your stitching in the middle of the top of the sleeve, sewing until you reach the stitching of the original sleeve about half way through.

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10. Next, starting where you last began ( the middle of the top of the sleeve), sew the other half of the circle stopping at the same spot you previously ended the last stitch.

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11.  Remember when I said my inner circle opening was slightly larger than my sleeve opening?  This is why.  With the left over fabric (as shown below), press down evenly to make a pleat in the fabric (more pics below).

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12.  Once you have your pleat, finish by sewing across it, joining your stitches on either side and attaching the circle completely to the sleeve.  Then trim your remaining strings, repeat these steps for the other sleeve, and your done!!


I hope you all enjoyed this DIY and I can’t wait to see the designs you guys come up with!  Share them with me using the hashtag #ohsomonaDIY or in the comments below!  Stay tuned for more Fashion DIY projects! Also, a big thank you to Vicki Bartel for her amazing job capturing the images of the final outfit.



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