Hello, I’m Laura from @cottonreelstudio. I’m based in the UK and I have been making my own clothing for a number of years. I am thrilled to be a part of the Chalk & Notch blogger team for 2020. Today I am sharing how I hacked the sleeve for the Orchid Midi Dress to make a cute short puffed sleeve.

Woman stands while wearing a floral print puff sleeve orchid midi dress.

This year the trend for a puff sleeve has become more and popular. I didn’t think it was a trend that I would like when I first saw it. But, as I have been making an effort to try out as many new things as I can this year, this was one of them. I have been surprised at how much I actually do like it.

It is quite an easy adaptation to make and you can be as bold or as subtle as you’d like with it.


Onto the inspiration, I love a floral print, particularly those with smaller ditsy designs and this one from Rixo mixes two different floral designs with the same dark coloured background.

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The lighter floral print from LoveShackFancy would be ideal for the spring and summer season.

Finally the bold red colour from Di La Vali would make a stunning statement dress for the holiday season or another special occasion.


For this dress I wanted a fabric that was light weight and had lots of drape. The one I found is pretty floral viscose crepe, with a dark background ans really bright vibrant colours.

Here are some fabrics you could use to achieve a similar look to the dress I made and the inspiration images above.

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For this tutorial you will need;

  • Orchid midi dress sleeve (pattern piece 13)
  • A curved and straight ruler
  • Extra plain pattern paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors


The adjustments I made were to pattern piece 13, which is the long sleeve pattern piece for view B of the Orchid midi dress.


Take your pattern piece and draw a horizontal line 7 inches below the bottom of the armcyce. Cut along this line and remove the extra length, we will not need it.

Orchid sleeve pattern piece shown on cutting mat.


Next we are going to draw five vertical lines right through the full length of the sleeve. To do this we need to measure equally along the bottom of our new shortened sleeve pattern (mine here was 14 inches / 35.5cm). Divide this number by 6.

Orchid Midi sleeve pattern piece is shown with vertical lines drawn in blue.

Cut along the whole of the vertical lines you’ve just drawn. You should have six pieces.

Orchid puff sleeve pattern piece shown with lines cut and pieces spread apart.


Take a large piece of paper and arrange the pattern pieces so that the bottom edge is in alignment. Make sure the pieces are spaced out evenly by one inch and tape them down.

Orchid puff sleeve pattern pieces are spread apart and taped to paper underneath.

Next take your curved ruler and redraw the curve of the sleevehead as smoothly as possible. Make sure to add in the notches close to the original pattern piece too.

Top curve of puff sleeve pattern piece is redrawn in blue.


Next we need to add some extra height into the sleeve head to give it some extra fullness too.

Take your long ruler and draw another line, this time horizontally across the sleevehead. I used the front and back notches here as a guide. Cut along this line.

Orchid puff sleeve pattern piece is spread apart and taped to paper underneath.

Grab some more pattern and spread the two pattern pieces apart evenly by one inch. Tape the pattern piece down.

Sleeve cap of orchid puff sleeve pattern piece is shown spread and height added.

The last thing to do now is to true up the sleeve head using your curved ruler to ensure you have a nice smooth curve.

And you are done! Cut out your final pattern piece, cut out two (mirror image) piece of fabric and you are good to go.


The construction of the sleeve and the method for sewing it onto your dress is exactly the same as your instruction booklet directs.

The only thing to note is that you would usually add enough elastic to the hem of your wrist, you will need to add some extra length to ensure you have a comfortable fit around your bicep.

Close up of floral puff sleeve Orchid Midi dress bodice


Woman wears floral puff sleeve orchid midi dress while standing in front of stone wall.