Tabbed Sleeve Tutorial

This is really so simple but I feel compelled to share my method for tabbed, roll-up sleeves because on McCall's 6116 I find the directions inappropriate, particularly for printed fabrics. Their directions have you do a 1/4 inch hem and then roll your sleeves up and pull the tab from the underneath and sew it down, corralling the folds. As you can see in the sample above this gives you the wrong side of the fabric on the outside of the garment, not pretty. Here is what I did instead.

First, decide where the hem fold will be.Do this before cutting out the sleeve. My hem is about 3 1/2 inches deep. Fold the pattern piece on top of itself at that point. You will see that because the sleeve narrows you need to add a bit of width to the side seams . This way when the hem is folded up you won't be short fabric in your seam. OK, so now you have fixed your sleeve side seams and cut your pattern and your fabric. Good. Next, serge the bottom edge if you can, otherwise turn up a 1/4 inch and press.I don't like pressed roll up sleeves. I like them to look, well, rolled up. So I do not press in the hem fold.
You can see how the hem is folded up and pinned, about 3 1/2 inches deep.Go to the machine and stitch right down the line of the serging. Yes, there will be a stitching line on the right side of the sleeve.
Fold up your sleeves a couple of folds. Pull your tab out from underneath and stich in place with your button. Your rolls easily cover the stitching line of the hem and your right side of the fabric is on the right side of the dress, much better looking and so easy.  And don't mock my "mock tab"!

Yes, this is really simple but how much simpler could it be to just give some better directions on the instruction sheet? I really, really wish I had the job of editing these patterns. I hope some of you try this pattern. It gives so many opportunities for fit. I wore the dress to work today and got good feedback. If you would like to see a different looking version, and a great one at that, check out Coudre Mode. Love how she used the piping.....Bunny


  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I will use it if/when I try a rolled sleeve. :)

  2. thank you for the insight on a better technique on rolled sleeves. i'm just getting back into sewing and i love your blog and look forward to seeing your projects. beautiful work!

  3. I just love this detail on a sleeve cuff, and use it lots of time on 3/4 as well as short sleeves. It's just one more custom touch that separates a run-of-the-mill ready-to-wear from a beautiful, individualized creation! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you for the tutorial!

  5. It might be simple, but it is *way* better than the pattern directs. This is how many of my vintage patterns do the cuffs, too, with very deep hems so that the right shows at the final turn up.

  6. I'm afraid that I'm one who follow a pattern to the letter, but I see that it's not always the best looking, thanks for "thinking" for me

  7. Well, your way certainly makes much more sense, Bunny! Why don't they speak simple English in patterns?? I can't tell you how much I struggle sometimes.

    I've never made a roll up sleeve, but when I do, I'm coming HERE for a refresher. Bookmarked!!!


    p.s. Thanks for your sweet comments on my photos. Honestly, its not me, its the $1300 camera I bought myself for my Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary gift since DH was too sick to shop for me. :D :D :D

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