How to Add Sleeves to a Sleeveless Dress

I do it all the time.

I buy those sleeveless thrift store dresses with a little fantasy playing in my head about how great I’m gonna look when I wear it. When I get home, I try it on, only to (once again) realize that sleeveless just isn’t my thing anymore. When am I ever going to learn?

I mean just look at this dress.

Add sleeves to a-dress-before

How cute is that! So adorable on the hanger. But clearly not so adorable on me. 😦

But you know what, we can fix it!

If sleeveless isn’t your thing anymore either, go ahead and buy that cute dress anyway, because you can easily make any sleeveless garment more work-friendly, comfortable and cool weather appropriate.

All you need is a coordinating long sleeve t-shirt, sharp scissors, pins and some chalk.

Add sleeves to-a-dress-materials-needed

And Ta-Da!

Mucho bettero!


To find out how to add sleeves to any sleeveless garment, and for your chance to win a copy of The Refashion Handbook, click here, leave a comment, save and pin. The winner will be announced next week.

The Refashion Handbook


And for more refashion inspiration, click here.

Happy Sewing!



About The Renegade Seamstress

I'm a busy wife, mom, grandma, and teacher who loves to create. I've joined the refashion scene and I 'd like to share and connect with all those talented and creative people out there doing similar things.
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27 Responses to How to Add Sleeves to a Sleeveless Dress

  1. Carolyn says:

    Thank you for this wonderful tutorial! I don’t wear sleeveless and I’m excited to go to the thrift store and see what I can find. I really want your book!

  2. Laura Lucci says:

    Great idea.

  3. Claire-Louise says:

    It looks better with the sleeves.

  4. Bien mieux! It looks great with sleeves. I can’t wear sleeveless anymore either. 😦

  5. Martha Jane Frasier says:

    I love this love this one Beth!

    Sent from my iPad


  6. Beth! Thank you for all your amazing work! I love this blog and I am constantly inspired!

  7. Valerie Krantz says:

    Great idea Beth! Here we go again with more refashions for me. Love it, just keep them coming.

  8. this is a great tip – not just putting in sleeves, but using a recycle tshirt for sleeves – why didn’t I think of that?

  9. beakie48 says:

    Nice and easy solution! I love it.

  10. Tammy says:

    This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Regina says:

    This is genious

  12. Anonymous says:

    So many sleeveless garments I have passed up, I love you!

  13. Wow… mucho bettero indeed! I think this just changed my life.

  14. Accidental Seamstress says:

    Cute. I love the color block look you’ve creative.

  15. Tammi Titsworth says:

    I just LOVE EVERYTHING you do!! I am a retrained beginner seamstress, over a span of 40 years of no sewing, and all your videos are so very inspiring and you are retraining my sewing skills I had learned when I was 15 yrs old from Home Economics! Lol Keep your videos coming!! We all love ’em!!

  16. lucindalines says:

    Great look!! Back in the mid ’90’s I taught in a school where the mothers were super frugal. One bought her daughter a $5 dress on a sale rack and added lace capped sleeves and it was the cutest short skirt prom dress you ever saw. Fun to see those things.

  17. Nancy K. says:

    A wonderful idea and an excellent tutorial. Very inspiring! Thank you for being so generous with your time.

  18. I love this! Thanks for the tip!

  19. Pingback: How to Hem Knits Without a Serger | The Renegade Seamstress

  20. Dawn says:

    You inspire me! So wishing I’d of saved those bags of clothes I took to goodwill!

  21. Amy-June says:

    Thank you for this! I hate my bingo wings and am always finding dresses that I wish had sleeves!! Love your make!

  22. vintage51 says:

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    Awesome idea for those of us who consider our arms to be less than attractive or who want to upcycle a dress.

  23. Margie says:

    Very easy-to-follow tutorial. It looks very nice on you. Good job! (I pinned)

  24. Kathy Mueller says:

    I have a about 10 summer dresses giving me that look, why don’t you like me any more? Can I get out if this closet that green dress just won’t stop whining. LOL

    Now I will tell them they are going to have a makeover and I will be able to go into my closet in peace:)

  25. Tommie Neely says:

    Thanks for your great work! Hope to win your book!
    Tommie neely

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    If you want to know how to make extra bucks, search for:
    Mrdalekjd methods for $$$

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