How To Shorten Sleeves On A Shirt

When it comes down to it, there are actually two different options when learning how to shorten sleeves on a shirt. Some people feel it is best to shorten sleeves from the shoulder is the best option, as you eliminate any necessity in moving the cuff or placket. Others figure that to shorten sleeves from the bottom is the best way to go. This article will deal with the latter option, as shortening from the shoulder can not only be difficult, but can also change the shape and fit of the sleeve entirely. Either way, this isn't really something a novice should tackle. If it is an expensive shirt or you haven't much experience with tailoring, it would probably be best to take it to a professional to shorten sleeves on a shirt.

Supplies needed to shorten sleeves on a shirt:

  • thread that matches the shirt
  • a marking pencil
  • scissors
  • a seamripper
  • an iron
  1. Measure it out! After making the measurements, going one sleeve at a time, carefully take off the cuff and placket. As you remove the stiches, make sure to take down wrist measurement and placket slit size. Now cut off the excess sleeve material to your measurements, making sure to leave enough seam to reattach the cuff. Measure and cut the slit for the placket to the correct length.
  2. Plackets galore. Open up the underarm seam up fairly close to the top of the underarm. Reattach the skinny side of the placket and stich across the top of the placket piece to keep it in place. Now reattach the larger placket piece, it should be obvious how to align it with the other edge.
  3. Sew what! Sew up the underarm seam using the top of the underarm seam as reference. You can use the original wrist piece as reference but probably won't need to if you have your measurements handy. Use your marking pencil to mark the fold and line up the cuff. Edge stitch it back on and reattach the button and you are done! If you aren't too confident in your abilities, leave a little extra material the first time you try to shorten sleeves–it is always easier to remove than it is add.
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