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Sleeve Lengthening Tutorial: Sailor Top

If you are like us, you have a hard time giving up your favorite tops when cooler weather comes around. Well, now you don't have to, because today we are sharing Amber's tutorial for a 3/4 or a full length sleeve Sailor Top! And there's more in store. Check back Monday for a simple tutorial on how to transform your Wanderlust Tee into a cozy, full sleeve sweater!

 Two shirts, a 3/4 length sleeve and a long sleeved Sailor Top hanging on a white wallAmber wearing a Full Length Sleeve Sailor Top


  • Scissors
  • Pattern Weights
  • 24" Quilting Ruler
  • French Curve
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Swedish Tracing Paper
  • Sailor Top Pattern


To make your long sleeve top, you will need an additional 1/3 yard of fabric than recommended for your size. 

Materials Needed to Lengthen the Sailor Top Sleeve

1) Determine finished sleeve length style

    For a 3/4 sleeve, you will add 10.5" to the current sleeve length.
    For a full length sleeve, you will add 15.5."


    2) Trace Upper Sleeve: As you start, make sure to leave plenty of tracing paper below  the top of the sleeve for the full length of your new sleeve. Using Swedish tracing paper, trace the upper half of the existing sleeve pattern piece to the underarm point of the sleeve, including all markings.

    3) Add Guide Marks: Place a mark at the bottom corner of both sides of the original sleeve hem (upper left). This is the reference point from which you will lengthen the sleeve. Also, extend the grainline down about 14", making sure to keep it straight. 

    4) Mark New Sleeve Length: Measuring down from your original hem dot, and keeping your quilting ruler parallel with the grainline, mark a dot (for 3/4 length) at 10.5" or (for full length) at 15.5" below the first dot. This new dot indicates the final length of the sleeve. Repeat on opposite side of sleeve for the other length dot.

    Mark spot either 1" or 1 3/4" in from outer dot

    5) Taper Sleeve:

    If you are making a 3/4 length sleeve: Narrow the sleeve hem by bringing in each of the dots you just made 1" toward the center of the sleeve, to narrow a total of 2". Cross out the original dot you made in Step 4 to avoid confusion.

    If you are making a full length sleeve: Narrow the sleeve hem by bringing in each of the dots you just made 1-3/4" toward the center of the sleeve, to narrow a total of 3-1/2". Cross out the original dot your made in Step 4 to avoid confusion.

    Or: You can determine the finished wrist circumference you would prefer by either draping a soft tape measure around your wrist or measuring a shirt that you already have. Add 1" to your measurement to allow for your seam allowance. Now you have to measure the distance between the two dots you made in Step 5. Subtract your desired wrist circumference (including the 1" you added) and divide that number by 2. That is the number of inches you will measure in toward the middle of the sleeve from each dot you made in Step 4. These dots indicate the new hemline edge. Cross out the original dot you made in Step 4 to avoid confusion.

    Connect underarm point with new hemline

    6) Sleeve Side Seams: Using your quilting ruler, connect the final hem dots with the original sleeve pattern at underarm. Repeat on opposite side of sleeve.

    Perpendicular line to new hemline

    7) Hemline Curve: To avoid an angle where the edges of the sleeve meet, we need the hem and side seam to be a right angle. Take your quilting ruler and align it perpendicular with the the bottom of the new sleeve line you just created. With a pencil, draw a line a few inches long in toward the center of the sleeve. Repeat for other side of the sleeve.

    Gently ease the sleeve edges together with a french curve

    8) Using a curve tool, ease the perpendicular lines together using a gentle slope. If you don't have a curve, you can also freehand this line.

    Long sleeve Sailor Top pattern piece

    You have finished your new pattern piece! Now it's time to cut it out and stitch it up in your desired fabric.

    When cutting out your pattern, you will not need to cut out the original sleeve facing or sleeve pieces. 

    Skip the steps for the sleeve facing and instead finish your sleeve with a simple 1/4" turned up hem. 

    3/4 Sleeve Fancy Tiger Sailor Top

    We hope to see you out in your new Sailor Tops this fall and winter! Share with us using #SailorTop and check back next week for a tutorial on how to lengthen the Wanderlust Tee sleeves.


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