Short to Long Sleeve Shirt Sewing Tutorial

Short to Long Sleeve Shirt Sewing Tutorial

Hi there! Today I’m sharing this Short to Long Sleeve Shirt Sewing Tutorial. If your kids are anything like mine, they blow through the knees in leggings like crazy! We have so many pairs of leggings with holes knees, and lots of t-shirts. With cooler weather here, long sleeve shirts are in high demand around here.

I already often cut the bottoms off of the torn leggings to make shorts for my girls to wear under skirts, and out of curiosity one day I took the legs I had cut off and put on on my daughter’s arm. Eureka!! I had found a use for all those stray legging legs that were left over! When I cut off the part the was damaged from the knee holes, it came down from their shirt sleeve exactly to their wrists. Even if your kids have longer arms, you can easily use legging bottoms to make 3/4 or elbow length sleeves to make those shirts just a little warmer.

So if you take a t shirt and holes leggings, you’ll end up with a long sleeve shirt AND a pair of shorts for under skirts. That’s a pretty good end result! Oh, and did I mention there’s no hemming? Yep, it’s that awesome.

Let me show you how easy it is to do! Here’s what you’ll need.

Note: All the shirts and sleeves should be knit material for the best results. I get all my kids shirts and leggings at Target because they’re cute and inexpensive, and the knit they use is very easy to sew.

Check out some cool jeans patching ideas, too!

Short to Long Sleeve Shirt Sewing Tutorial

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  • A knit t-shirt.
  • Knit leggings with holes in the knees. 
  • Scissors.
  • Pins.
  • Sewing Machine. You can also do this by hand, but a sewing machine makes it a 5 minute project.

Start by carefully cutting your leggings just below and above the holes in the knees. That top part there? That’s your shorts! No need to hem them as knit doesn’t fray, and they look like classic bike shorts as long as your cuts are clean and not ragged. You can always straighten up your cuts if you need to. I have a ton of these and they are so, so useful for under skirts and dresses, and they’re also great play shorts for the park or sports practice. Now let’s focus on the often thrown out part, those legs! Set them side by side. If one is longer than the other, trim the raw top down so they match.

Pay attention to where your seam is. You want the seam on the leggings to match up with the seam on the underside of the shirt sleeve. Turn your shirt and your leggings inside out, and set the leg over the sleeve, matching up the seams on the underside and placing a pin there. Find the top crease of the leg and the sleeve, and place another pin there. The leg will most likely be larger around than the sleeve, but that’s okay. Knits are very forgiving. See how when you stretch the sleeve, the leg matches up? You’ll just stretch the sleeve enough between the pins so the leg matches up and doesn’t pucker as you sew.

Place the whole thing on your sewing machine, sliding the sleeve over the body of your sewing machine through the neck of the shirt. It’ll be a tight fit, but that will most likely automatically take care of stretching the sleeve for you. You want the edge of the leg to come about 1/4 inch past the seam on the sleeve, as that’s where we’ll be sewing. Use your fingers to feel where that seam is, and try to line your stitches up with it. Going slowly, stitch all the way around the sleeve. Cut the threads and take it off your machine. It should look like this. Turn it right side out, and take a look!

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If your stitches landed right, they should be nearly invisible. And the bottom leg seam should line up with the arm seam perfectly. Now just do the other arm! I love that this looks trendy, and cute, and like it was picked straight off a store shelf.

And my daughter? Absolutely loved it!

This is a great way to repurpose damaged leggings and the perfect way to save that pair that your kids absolutely loves and was upset when they got damaged. In fact, I have a pair of hello kitty leggings that my daughter is obsessed with that just got holes, and they’re sitting in my sewing pile waiting to be added to a favorite shirt to make a nice new long sleeve for fall.

I hope you found this Short to Long Sleeve Shirt Sewing Tutorial helpful, and have fun trying all kinds of new pattern combinations!

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About the author

I'm a wife and mom of 3 kids, a blogger, beauty vlogger, graphic designer, and jill of all trades.

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