Sewing Indie: Out and About Dress TUTORIAL by Dixie DIY

Happy Monday, friends! Last week you may remember me announcing Sewing Indie Month? And then we had a stellar interview with Sewn Square One. Well, TODAY the lovely Dixie of Dixie DIY is sharing a tutorial on how to convert the sleeves on the Out and About Dress two different ways and I am squealing with excitement about these tutorials!!

First, though, have you seen her amazing blog?? She writes phenomenal tutorials and has some pretty sweet patterns, too! AND she is a fellow Texan! 😀

OK, so, take it away, Dixie!


Hey everyone! I’m Dixie from and I’m excited to be here to share with you a couple sleeve drafting alterations you can do yourself that can instantly change the style of a top or dress. You can use any pattern that has a sleeve piece like Sew Caroline’s Out and About dress for example (which I used for my flutter sleeve version).

It’s easier to do most of these alterations without seam allowances. All of these graphics should be considered “seam-allowance-free” to avoid confusion. If you don’t take off your seam allowances just remember to do all of your slashing and spreading from the *stitching line* not the cut edge of the pattern piece.

Oh, and if you do take off your seam allowances remember to add them back on before sewing!

Flutter Sleeves

Flutter sleeves are great for summer when you want to cover your shoulders from the sun but still need some air circulation (I know this because I live in Texas…). If you’re afraid this style will make your arms look big, no worries, making them in a knit jersey or a light weight fabric won’t be bulky.

To make flutter sleeves trace your sleeve pattern piece and transfer markings. We’ll use the Slash and Spread method.

Dixie DIY Flutter Sleeve Tutorial

Draw vertical lines from sleeve cap to hem along several points of the pattern piece. Cut the pattern piece into slices along those lines.

Dixie DIY Flutter Sleeve Tutorial

Spread out the slices at the BOTTOM of the pattern to get a nice curved hem shape.

I’ve found that on especially light or drapey fabrics all that the extra fabric likes to fall back and pool under your arm. To compensate for that I do most of the spreading at the *center* of the pattern piece rather than near the underarm sleeve.

Also, and this is totally optional, I like to add some gathering at the sleeve cap to balance the fabric out.

Dixie DIY Flutter Sleeve Tutorial

To add gathers you simply spread apart the slices closest to the center an even amount top AND bottom. Mark dots where you’ve spread the pieces so you know how far to gather the fabric up.

Unless you add gathers your sleeve cap length should be the same as the original pattern piece so you can sew up your sleeve like normal.

Dixie DIY Flutter Sleeve Tutorial Dixie DIY Flutter Sleeve Tutorial Dixie DIY Flutter Sleeve Tutorial

Tulip Sleeves

I rarely see shirts/dresses with tulip sleeves so it would be a pretty unique addition to your sewing project. They look cool and are simple to make.

Dixie DIY Tulip Sleeve Tutorial

Start by tracing your sleeve piece twice. Make sure to transfer markings.

On one piece draw a curved line extending from the left side of the sleeve cap to the hem. On the other piece do the same starting from the right side of the sleeve cap.

It’s important to start far down on the curve of the sleeve cap so you have enough fabric covering your shoulder. If you cut the overlap too high on the cap then the sleeve will just spread open and all the fabric will bunch up in your armpit.

Dixie DIY Tulip Sleeve Tutorial

Cut out your two pieces along those newly drawn lines.

Place one piece on top of the other to get the tulip shape and mark where the pieces overlap – that way you’ll know where to match your fabric up.

Dixie DIY Tulip Sleeve Tutorial

Now tape the two pieces together at the underarm seam. If that seam line is angled you’ll get an angled sleeve piece, which is fine. I like to smooth out the hem line.

When you sew your sleeve overlap the sleeve cap and baste the layers together.

Dixie DIY Tulip Sleeve Tutorial Dixie DIY Tulip Sleeve Tutorial Dixie DIY Tulip Sleeve Tutorial

13 thoughts on “Sewing Indie: Out and About Dress TUTORIAL by Dixie DIY

  1. Great tutorials! I’m definitely going to be adding some flutter sleeves to my tops this summer. Thanks from a fellow Texan, Dixie and Caroline!

  2. Hi Caroline!
    I have flutter sleeve tops and I lost weight and do not like them…
    Is there a way to turn them into a regular sleeve?

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