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Shortening Men's Shirt Sleeves

Altering the length of sleeves can add extended wear and save you money. This guide is about shortening men's shirt sleeves.


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By 0 found this helpful
February 28, 2007

I am altering men's shirt sleeves from long to short. They are definitely tapered. Help please!


By Jean in GA (Guest Post)
March 2, 20070 found this helpful

I did that when my husband's long sleeve shirts got grease on the bottom of the sleeve. I just took one of his "store bought" short sleeve shirts and laid it flat on top of his long sleeve shirt and cut about 1 and 1/2 inch too long. Then machine stitched the long sleeve shirt. He couldn't even tell that I had done it.

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By ybergh (Guest Post)
March 2, 20070 found this helpful

Thanks for the pointer 'Jean in GA'.
I will use it...along with the thought,
When the sleeves are tapered, such as with dress shirts, (the part you are turning up will be narrower than where you will be attaching it) you take in the seam allowance on the line where you will stitch the hem in place.

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By Peggie (Guest Post)
March 3, 20070 found this helpful

The only solution for this is to use part of the cut off fabric to widen the new short sleeve. Cut a triangular piece to fit in the seam line, it will widen the sleeve and look like a design element. No one will be the wiser.

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By ybergh (Guest Post)
March 3, 20070 found this helpful

Thanks Peggy.
I have certainly appreciated the pointers. I will face the 6 shirts on my 'to do' pile with a bit more confidence ;}

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March 8, 20070 found this helpful

you may have to taper and reshape the hem to fit, usually I measure 10" from the shoulder draw my hem line with chalk, leave a 1 1/2 hem hem allowance to be turned under once for a nice finish. You can then judge if you split the seam if you can make it fit, press the hem allowance up. It usually works just fine.

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December 2, 20050 found this helpful

How can you shorten men's long sleeve shirts to short sleeves? After cutting off the sleeves my hems end up not being big enough around so they leave little pleats at the seam line. I often take out a small length of the underarm seam where I turn up the hem but that doesn't work to well. I have received about 25 long sleeve shirts and want to shorten the sleeves. Big savings.


Seamtress from Illinois


December 2, 20050 found this helpful

Are your shirt sleeves tapered? You should be able to cut your sleeve, remember at an angle since the outside of the sleeve is longer than the part under the arm, and hem without any pleating. The only thing I can think of is that the shirt is tapered. I alter all my husbands shirts and have never had a problem. Wish I could be more help.

Laura in NH - Custom Seamstress

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By Elizabeth (Guest Post)
December 5, 20050 found this helpful

If you are using a machine to do the hemming, try placing the outside of the sleeve on the bottom against the feed dogs. The inside of the sleeve will be facing up towards you. This will allow the feed dogs to ease the fabric as you go around the sleeve.


Unless your sleeves are extremely tapered, this should work. Whenever you have a piece of fabric that is slightly larger than the piece you are joining it with, i.e. around curves, etc., place the larger piece on bottom to allow the feed dogs to do their work! :)

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By Juanita C (Guest Post)
August 20, 20080 found this helpful

Is there an easier way to shorten sleeve just about 1" without taking the sleeve off the shirt

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