Tutorial: Two-tone Princess Sleeves

I’m not much for following patterns. I’m more of a take a little from this a little from that kind of sew-er. One of the easiest pieces to swap are sleeves. And out of the various types of sleeves I love what I call princess sleeves. Think Snow White with contrasting colored pleats.

As long as you have a sleeve seam you’re probably going to put them in the same way and they are going to be pretty similar in shape. So you can make princess sleeves. (The exceptions would be if you’re doing a doman sleeve or a raglan sleeve.)

To make these take your basic sleeve pattern and then make three slits in your fabric. Next take your contrasting fabric and then cut segments sew them together so now you should have elongated sleeve pieces. (I like to use a poofy/gathered sleeve pattern as my base but if you don’t have one before you cut the main piece you can just add a few inches in the middle (basically elongating it so there is room to gather) before you cut the main piece).

Next fold back the contrasting segments so that the main colored fabric touches and the contrasting colors are folded on each side i.e. box pleat  and pin. Sew across the top and bottom to secure the pleats.

Run basting stitches along the top (rounded) edge of the sleeve pieces. If you are finishing the sleeve with a band then run basting stitches along the lower edge as well

Band Bottom Sleeves: For T’s (purple and green dress) I finished it with a band by cutting a length of fabric a bit longer than her bicep. (I did it loose since you want it to be comfortable) Then I folded and ironed it in half lengthwise. Pin the raw (unfolded) edges of the band to the bottom edge of the sleeves pulling the basting stitches to make it fit against the band. Sew and serge or finish the edges. Then fold the band down and the sleeve is ready to put into your garment like you normally would. Or I have also made a band the entire length of the sleeve and then put a piece of elastic through it to gather it up.

Elastic Edged Sleeves:  For L’s (strawberry dress) I finished it with 1/8 inch elastic. I cut a piece of elastic a little longer than her bicep. (I do it so when it’s unstretched it’s loose since you want it to be comfortable.) First finish the bottom edge of the sleeve I used did a rolled hem on the serger but you can just roll the edge under a couple times and sew.

Then with the right side down sew over the elastic making sure to back stitch extra at the beginning and then zig zag over the elastic while stretching it so that it extends the full length of the sleeve edge. Make sure to do extra back stitching at the end too. And the sleeve is ready to put into your garment like you normally would.

If you missed them the first time make sure to check out T’s Butterfly Princess dress and L’s Strawberry Princess dress posts. And yes you’ll get to see more of my sweet husband being the BEST UNCLE EVER! And yes she was even let me turn into the cutest butterfly ever for T’s birthday invites.


  1. I love this idea!!! Thanks for showing how you made it. Hope you don’t mind, but I’m pinning this.

  2. LoL awwww very very cute!! def loving the unicorn hat!


  3. Oops. I think I left a comment under the wrong post. Anyway, I was talking about the cute sleeves. :)

  4. Lovely idea! Thanks for sharing.Pinning…

  5. This is great! I totally pinned it for later! I’d love for you to consider joining our first ever Pattern Party! Those with free patterns to share are invited to link up. Check it out!

  6. Thank you! I will be trying this on something for my granddaughter very soon!

  7. Awww. She’s a lucky girl to have a mommy who sews. :-) Please share your project at http://www.creativecraftsthursday.blogspot.com each and every week and check out what other creative divas are up to.

  8. Wonderful tutorial! I loved the outcome!
    Great post!! I included it in my post Βόλτα στη Γειτονιά #24 :)
    Have a great week!!

  9. Super cute! Love the unicorn!

  10. Adorable! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures


  1. […] used this a lot when I am putting elastic into princess sleeves for the princess dresses that I make for my nieces. I also use it to pull the ribbon through the […]

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