October 15, 2012

Shortening Men's Dress Shirt Sleeves Instructions

My husband asked me to make these long sleeve dress shirts into short sleeve dress shirts. I got them completed so I thought I'd share with you how I did it.

Here are my instructions for making a man's long sleeve dress shirt into a short sleeve dress shirt.

First, measure an existing short sleeve dress shirt to know how long to make the sleeves.
On mine, the top measured about 10.5".

 The bottom measured about 5.25".

For seam allowance, add 1.5". So on mine, I measured on the long sleeve shirt 12" at the top of the sleeve and 6.75" on the bottom of the sleeve. Draw a line across the sleeve.

 Cut along the line and removed the excess sleeve.

 Turn the shirt inside out and press up a hem of 1/2".

 Then, fold it up 1" and press again.

 Pin it in place.

 Sew along the hem.

Here's the finished sewing job still inside out.

And here's the finished sewing job right side out.

Repeat the process with the other sleeve.
With a couple of the shirts, I did struggle a bit where the sleeve width changed a lot just in that 1.5" of hem. The hem would bunch a bit near the seam, but I went ahead and sewed it and they turned out alright. Unless people look closely, I don't think they'll notice.


  1. i am having the same problem with the bunching too! thanks for the tut!

    1. i finally figured out it's because sleeves are tapered to accommodate the shoulder - unless pants - if anyone else has the bunching problem (the ones i'm hemming are xxxl so it's a big problem) anyway following this tutorial for determining the length of how short to make the sleeves, then rip apart the bottom seam 3 inches, hem up and sew in the flat (instead of the round) - then sew your seam back together and serge edges. you will come up short near the seam on the first fold of the hem because of the tapering of the sleeve but this eliminates the bunching. hope this helps someone else!