Cap sleeve sewing tutorial. Remove spaghetti straps and replace with wider capped sleeves.

sew capped sleeves

How to sew capped sleeves. Easy sewing tutorial.

In this clothes upcycling and DIY sleeve sewing tutorial, I’ll show you how to make and add a capped sleeve to a dress. This is an easy sewing tutorial that would be suitable for beginner sewers.

Watch the capped sleeve sewing video tutorial

I bought this cotton sundress for $5.00 from my local thrift store (I actually featured it in my thrift haul video back in February).

I had been on the lookout for a dress to add a capped sleeve to and this one was perfect. Along the way, I made a few basic alterations to tailor it to my height and personal style.

Step 1 – Reduce the hemline.

The first step was to reduce the hemline. The reason why I did this first was because I needed the fabric to make the new capped sleeves.

Step 2 – Remove the spaghetti straps. Sew thicker shoulder straps.

Next, I cut off the spaghetti straps. I didn’t think spaghetti straps would be sturdy enough to support the new capped sleeve so I made wider straps.

I rummaged through my bag of ribbon and found something that resembled the width of the new straps. It was actually the handle from an old calico shopping bag.

Using this as a guide, I folded over the point at the top of the dress where the spaghetti straps were attached so it was a straight edge. This would then form a neater transition to the wider shoulder straps.

These were then top stitched down to form a new hem.

Using the fabric I’d cut from the bottom hem, I created two new shoulder straps around 30mm wide (1.2 inches). These were stitched in the same place as the original spaghetti straps. I played around with the length to elevate the neckline because it was originally too low for me.

Step 3 – Make the new capped sleeves.

Then I made the new capped sleeves.

I created my own pattern for the sleeves based on how short I wanted them. You could adjust this according to your personal taste.

For this project, I folded the fabric for each capped sleeve in half so the same pattern was visible on the underside of the sleeve. Next time I might try sewing a contrasting fabric to the underside to add a surprise pop of colour.

Sewing each sleeve inside out, be sure to leave a small section of the seam open so you turn it right-side out.

To get a nice straight edge, I use a knitting needed. Each sleeve is then pressed so the edges are nice and sharp.

Step 4 – Attach the capped sleeves to the new shoulder straps.

Next, find the centre of the should strap, being the top of your shoulder and match this to the centre of the sleeve piece.

Pin the sleeve to the underside of the shoulder strap and top stitch it in place and you’re done.

I think the capped sleeves really elevated this dress and made it just a little bit more special.

Thanks for watching, BEX.


benefits of learning to sew

The benefits of altering, mending and making your own clothes.

In an era of environmental consciousness, learning to sew and make your own clothes is more relevant and beneficial than ever.

Sewing skills not only mean saving money (more important in times of high cost of living) but play a significant role in reducing your environmental footprint.

Below are how learning to sew and utilising your existing sewing skills can make a positive impact on your life and the planet.

Learning to sew can be cost effective

Learning to sew and mend your clothes can lead to substantial savings now and in the long term.

Instead of discarding garments due to minor damages you can easily repair them yourself. Upcycling clothes gives them a new life, keeping then in the circular economy rather than going to landfill.

Making your own clothes means you can create custom pieces tailored to your style and fit.  Best of all, you’ll have the satisfaction of wearing something unique, knowing you made it yourself.

Sewing reduces your environmental impact

The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse emissions and environmental polluters. By learning to sew, mend, and upcycle, you actively participate in reducing this impact through waste reduction, resource conservation, and by reducing your carbon footprint.

Evolve your personal style and expression

Homemade and upcycled clothes offer a unique opportunity for personal expression where you can tailor clothes to your preference, size and design.

Sewing means you can enjoy a more meaningful wardrobe that’s filled with items that you love and cherish.

Sewing enhances creativity

Sewing fosters creativity and skill development.

Upcycling encouraging you to think creatively about how to repurpose and rejuvenate old items. Sewing your own clothes allows you to experiment with different fabrics, patterns, and designs. There are no rules!

Making something with your own hands or bringing a beloved items back to life cultivates a sense resourcefulness.

Making ethical fashion choices

By making and mending your own clothes, you align with ethical fashion principles.

Fast fashion often involves exploitative labour practices and poor working conditions. By creating your own garments or repurposing second hand clothing, you know exactly where and how they were made, promoting fair labour practices and ethical production.

Sewing is less wasteful

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, millions of tons of textile waste are generated each year.

Repairing and upcycling clothes keeps them out of landfills and often being shipped overseas and burned.

By extending the life of your garments, you contribute to lowering the environmental impact of clothing waste across the world.