Tulip Sleeve Jacket Tutorial

Previously, I’d posted this tutorial over at The Sewing Rabbit. I will show you how to draft your own tulip sleeved jacket from any existing bodice pattern you already have. You can use the info on making a tulip sleeve for anything you’d like from dresses to jackets.  I’ll show you how to make the rest of this cute jacket too while I’m at it. You can use any pattern in your stash that has a basic bodice and an inset short sleeve. Go grab your favorite. I used the bodice and short sleeve from five and ten designs. I sized up to give it more room so that it can be worn over tops. If your bodice pattern if pretty fitted, you’ll want to size up as well.
Here we go!

You can do this with a woman’s pattern too and it would be so pretty over your summer dresses.










What you’ll need


Fabric for outside and lining fabric

Basic bodice pattern and sleeve pattern



Pencil, marker or favorite writing utensil


Alright, now that you have your pattern, put it on a piece of paper and trace it.

Next, flip it over and trace the other side so that you have a whole sleeve traced out.

Draw a line from the bottom corner to the opposite corner. This will be a guide for the next step. I used a lighter color pencil, but you don’t have to. Use what you have.

Using the bottom corner line as a guide, draw curved shape from about 1/3 of the way in to the bottom corner. I cheated and used my french curve ruler, but you can eyeball it just as easily. Just make it look something like this. You don’t have to be precise here. The curve you draw, will be the curve of your tulip overlap on your sleeve. You want it to be straighter at the bottom and more curved at the top but don’t worry too much.

Alright! Now, you cut it out. It will look like a petal. The straight side will be cut on the fold of your fabric, so mark it accordingly. Make sure to mark the size of your new pattern piece too.

Now, take your bodice front pattern, trace around it and add 1 inch to the center.

Decide how wide you want your button overlap to be. Mine was about 2 inches, so I measured down 2.5 inches (I added .5 inches for seam allowance). From that point, draw a curve down to the bottom of your pattern piece. I didn’t like the first curve I draw, so I did a second one. You can use a french curve ruler or you can eyeball it. When you’re done, cut out your new pattern piece, marking it correctly so you know what it is later.

Once you have your pattern pieces cut out, take them over to your fabric and cut out all your pieces. You should have 3 pattern pieces, the 2 you just made and you’ll use an unaltered bodice back piece that was paired with your bodice front from the original pattern.

4 front pieces – 2 outer and 2 lining

2 back pieces – 1 outer and 1 lining

2 sleeves

Once you cut your pieces, sew your fronts and backs together along the tops and the sides. You’ll have two unfinished bodices-one in your outer fabric and one in your lining. Put these two bodices, right sides together and sew them together along the outside leaving the armholes unsewn. Don’t forget to leave a space in the bottom to turn your pieces.

Okay, turn your pieces and then sew your bottom closed and topstitch the entire thing. It should look like a sleeveless jacket at this point. Next up, baste your arms together.

Hem your sleeves. Make sure you hem the right end. The straightest edge is the bottom.

Fold your sleeve in half, wrong sides together, to find the center. Place this fold on the seam line of the side of your bodice(right sides together). This will ensure that both sleeves are positioned the same on your top and look the same once they’re sewn on. Start pinning. Go toward the back of your bodice first if you want your tulip in the front. Go toward the front first if you want the tulip in the back. Mine was pinned back first, then front.

Pin all the way around. You’ll get to a point where your sleeve looks like this. It’s supposed to. Don’t panic! just keep lining up your sleeve, pulling your pins out and repinning all the layers together as you go along (aren’t you glad you basted earlier?!). Once you have all of your edges lined up and approximately 800 pins in place, take it to your machine and sew that puppy on!!

Turn right side out and check for puckers in your bodice. Make sure your sleeves look right. Use your seam ripper if you have any flaws. Inevitably, I always sew one sleeve on backwards so that I have one overlap at the front and one at the back. EVERY TIME!

Position your button where you want it and sew on your button hole and DONE!

Dance, holler, and cavort! Then, go take pictures of your cutie in her jacket.


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