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DIY Puff Sleeve Shirt: Refashion the Trend

My Second Chemotherapy Treatment
A Finicky High-Low Hem Dress Refashion

Puff sleeves are a huge trend right now. It’s not hard to see why. They’re dramatic. They’re feminine. Hey…Even Anne Shirley knew they make a statement.

anne shirley puffy sleeve gif

Now, a designer puff sleeve shirt miiiight not be in your desired price range.

This one by Alexander McQueen is gorgeous, but it comes at a cost.

Alexander McQueen Puff Sleeve Shirt
It’ll set you back $640!

Stuad’s version is considerably less expensive, but I think we can do better, don’t you? 😉

Black Puff sleeve top by Staud
For $138, this can be yours!

Aren’t you lucky there are TONS of old ’80s dresses sitting on the clearance rack of your local thrift store to play with?

The dress I used to make my DIY Puff Sleeve shirt set me back ONE DOLLAR!

refashionista puff sleeve top before
I take my luck where I find it folks!

As I said, this is a verrrry puff-sleeved dress from the ’80s.

I chose it for this Refashion not only for the sleeves, but also because I feel like black is a great starter color for experimenting with a bold trend that might otherwise make you a bit nervous.

As-is, it’s looking a little sad and dour though. It doesn’t fit me and it looks a tad funeral-ish as a dress.

That collar was in pretty bad shape too. The black from the dress bled into it when I washed it. I ignored the “Dry Clean Only” label since I knew I’d be removing this part and therefore wasn’t worried about color bleed.

You can see it’s also badly worn and frayed.

close up of damaged collar
It has seen better days.

Let’s make a DIY Puff Sleeve Shirt!

I started by ripping out the shoulder pads.

removing shoulder pads with seam ripper
Pick. Pick. Pick.
removed shoulder pads
Y’all just go’on! GIT!

Don’t worry! My sleeves are still going to be plllllenty puffy, especially with the help of these!

closeup of puffy shoulder things
Extra puffitude!

I cut a chunk off the bottom.

I left it a little longer than I thought I’d want it to be in the end as I knew I’d be taking it in later which would make it shorter. Cutting some off first at this point is just to make this piece easier to work with.

cutting off bottom of dress
A simple chop!

The cutting didn’t stop there!

Let’s tackle that collar!

There are a couple of ways I could handle the collar.

I could have used my seam ripper to open the collar and take it out.

Instead, I opted for just cutting it off.

I thought this would give the collar a sort of interfacing for support. It was also much easier and less time consuming than pick-pick-picking it out with my seam ripper.

cutting out collar with pinking shears
Pinking shears keep it from fraying!

I was happy to bid it adieu!

removed collar
Bon Voyage!

Then, I pinned the pinked edge under.

pinning collar under

Time to run it under the needle!

The collar under layer made the neckline fairly thick, so I put my machine in turtle mode (unofficial term) and stitched it down slowly and carefully so as to not break my needle.

sewing down neckline
Here we go! Slow & Steady!

Take a peek at the label! Hee hee!

DIY Puff Sleeve Shirt: Refashion the Trend 8
The “before” version of this dress didn’t put me “In The Mood” for anything other than a Refashion!

I plopped my top on my dress form inside-out and started pinning!

pinning dress on dress form from the back
Tailor Time!

I opted to take my top in from the back, as I didn’t want to lose any volume from the sleeves by taking it in from the sides.

The sleeves have a connected (shorter) under layer of fabric that gives them that puffiness at the bottom. Yes, I could have removed the sleeves, taken in the top, and then reattached them, but I didn’t that was necessary to get the look I wanted.

It’s okay to take the easy way out sometimes, friends. We don’t have to be Coco Chanel every time.

When I was done pinning, I stitched it down, using the same slow & steady technique from the collar. The layers of fabric were quite thick at the top!

sewing back of shirt
This doesn’t work for every refashion, but when it does it’s nice to have such a simple option!

After the back was sewn, I snipped off the excess fabric and tried my top on.

I pinned where I wanted to the length to be and chopped a little more off the bottom.

cutting off small part of bottom of top
One more little chop!

I pinned my bottom hem…

pinned bottom hem
Future hem!

…and stitched it down!

sewing bottom hem
Stitchy Stitch!

We’re almost done!

To make the bottom of the sleeves puffier (and a little more fitted), I folded them over at the top and pinned them like so:

pinning bottom sleeve

Next, I stitched them down!

sewing down bottom of sleeve
A mini-whirr!

After pressing everything, I was done!

I think my newly Refashioned Puff Sleeve Top looks quite posh!

DIY Puff Sleeve Shirt Refashion After Close Up
Total Boss Babe vibes, amirite???

And here’s the back! It’s not perfect, but I think it turned out just fine!

back of puff sleeve dress refashion
Le back!

And yes…that’s another one of my wigs! Her name is Amy.

Wig closeup
Amy is serious about Pilates and works part time in her luxury interior decorating store. Her husband is a hedge fund manager.

I think my top is perfect for work, as well as dinner and drinks afterward!

puff sleeve top refashion after
Amy seems nice, doesn’t she?
amy looking at phone
Amy is one busy lady.
amy angry
“Good GOD Jared! I told you to get me a macchiato TWENTY minutes ago!”
amy pontificating
It’s so hard to find good help these days.


DIY Puff Sleeve Shirt Refashion before and after
My Second Chemotherapy Treatment
A Finicky High-Low Hem Dress Refashion