How to Sew Perfect Cuffs: A Tutorial in 27 Pictures

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I have been afraid of cuffs for a very long time. However, recently I made a few long-sleeved shirts and pants for my son and discovered: They aren’t that bad. In order to show you how straightforward and simple it can be to sew perfect cuffs, I wrote this post. It does not matter whether you want to sew cuffs onto sleeves of a shirt or legs of a pants, this tutorial will work. You can basically use the same strategy to sew cuffs onto pants as waistbands or to sew thin cuffs onto shirts as necklines.

Some notes on cuff fabric choice and requirements first:

1. Cuff fabric is a fabric with pronounced stripes. It is most stretchable into the direction that is perpendicular to these stripes. So if your stripes go from top to bottom, the fabric can be stretched best to the sides. For cuffs, you will need to cut a rectangular piece of fabric. Always cut cuff fabric with the stripes being parallel to the short side of this rectangle.

0_cufffabric

2. The dimensions of your cuffs strongly depend on the stretchability of the fabric. It is best to measure the wrist or ankle circumference of the respective person, and then take only that length of cuff fabric that is—when stretched—a bit longer than this measurement.

3. As you will see during steps 5 and 6, we are going to divide each cuff and each sleeve into 4 equidistant parts and mark each with a pin needle. While sewing (step 7), only the cuff fabric will be stretched in order to align corresponding pin needles of the cuff and the sleeve. This way the cuff will later be stretched equally around the sleeve.

4. I am using an overlock machine here. If you are using a standard sewing machine, use a flexible stitch (such as a ZigZag stitch) first and sew at a distance of about 0.2 inches (i.e., 0.5 cm) from the edge. Then sew again, this time along the edge, to keep it from fraying.

But now let’s get started:

STEP 1: Lay your cuff fabric in front of you with the wrong side facing up (picture below, top). Then fold it horizontally to the right (picture below, bottom).

1_foldhorizontally

STEP 2: Pin in place. If you feel comfortable enough to sew this without pinning, you can skip this step.

2_pinb

STEP 3: Start sewing along the short edge (the one you just pinned). It is advisable to remove pins while they approach the pressure foot.

3_sew

When done sewing the first cuff, guide the next cuff under the pressure foot and continue sewing. This is much faster than sewing each cuff individually.

4_continuesewing

Again, you basically sew both cuffs in a row without cutting the thread.

5_onerowofcuffs

Then cut the thread in-between both cuffs.

6_cut

STEP 4: Take one cuff and fold it in half: wrong side to wrong side (as shown in the picture below, right). Thereby you are hiding the seam in the inside.

7_foldover

Make sure that both seams are perfectly aligned on top of each other.

8_perfectalignment

STEP 5: Lay the folded and aligned cuff in front of you…

9_layitinfrontofyou

…and mark the outer edges with two pins. The heads of the pins face the raw edges of the fabric.

10_pin1and2

Move the pins on top of each other and straighten the cuff…

11_overlayPin1and2

…in order to mark the new outer edges with another two pins.

12_Pin3and4

STEP 6: Proceed similarly with the sleeve as explained above for the cuff. First, lay it straight in front of you.

13_grapsleeve

Mark the outer edges with two pins.

14_sleevePin1and2

Move the pins on top of each other and straighten the sleeve…

15_sleeveOverlayPin1and2

…in order to mark the new outer edges with another two pins.

16_sleevePin3and4

STEP 6: Take the cuff and turn it with its raw edges away from the sleeve. For both cuff and sleeve the right sides of the fabrics face outside.

17_positionsleeveandcuff

Move the sleeve into the cuff piece (the cuff hugs the sleeve)…

18_movecuffoversleeve

…and carefully guide it towards the end.

19_alignatfrontedge

Make sure to perfectly align the two cuff seams (in the inside of the cuff piece) with the sleeve seam (in the inside of the sleeve). This way you will later get only one but neat seam.

20_alignseams

STEP 7: Remove the two pin needles that mark the seam region and carefully move everything (keep seams aligned!) under the pressure foot and start sewing.

21_guideunderpressurefoot

While sewing, pull the cuff fabric so that its next pin needle comes to lay on top of the next pin needle of the sleeve (see picture below for clarity). Do not stretch the sleeve fabric.

22_startsewing

Continue as described above for pin needles 3 and 4 and sew until you reach the starting point. Sew a bit over it to secure the seam.

23_almostdone

This is how your seam will look like afterwards. Pretty, right? 🙂

24_done1

STEP 8: Turn the cuff inside and admire your beautiful and perfect cuff.

25_turnoutsideandbehappy

See how the seam of the sleeve and the seam of the cuff form a single line? That looks awesome.

26_perfectseam

Hope you had fun and good luck with your perfect cuffs! Please stop by again soon. And if you have not followed this blog yet and liked Me & My Veritas on Facebook, please do it right away.

Please click here and leave a comment… Ich freue mich auch sehr über Kommentare auf Deutsch. 🙂

I am linking this to KiddikramMade4Boysfuersoehneundkerle, Talented Tuesday, and Threading My Way.

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29 thoughts on “How to Sew Perfect Cuffs: A Tutorial in 27 Pictures

  1. I love the multi-coloured overlocker thread not sure if you did this just for the tutorial but it looks great, I sometimes think the plain white/black/grey I tend to use makes it look homemade.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 🙂 Juchuh! Danke für Deinen Besuch, liebe Anni! Na in Zukunft wird es hoffentlich durch dieses Tutorial viel viel besser! 🙂 Ich habe beim ersten Mal sicher auch ALLES falsch gemacht, was man nur falsch machen kann. 😉 Viele liebe Grüße, Jana

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  3. Hooray! I love it, too! 🙂 You are so right. It served two purposes. First, to make it easier to follow the tutorial. Second and more importantly, in my opinion this multi-coloured look is just perfect for kids cloths. When the serger/overlock came with 4 differently coloured threads (to make it easier to learn how to thread upper/lower looper and both needles) I immediately fell in love with the multi-coloured seams. So for now I stick to them. 🙂 Have a lovely weekend and thanks again for stopping by.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is an excellent tutorial! I have never done this before but it makes total sense and I have a project coming up that is going to need this! Thanks!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jessica, thank you very much for stopping by! It’s wonderful to read that this tutorial makes sense and motivates you to try sewing cuffs. With the right knowledge at hand, it is really no big deal! Good luck with your upcoming project and best wishes to you, Jana

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hallo Sabine. Da fühl ich mich aber geehrt, dass Du persönlich vorbeischaust. Vielen lieben Dank dafür. 🙂 Ich hoffe wirklich sehr, dass das Tutorial anderen eine Hilfe ist und somit mehr Menschen Gefallen am Nähen finden. 🙂 Die herzlichsten Grüsse in die Heimat, Jana

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  7. Pingback: DIY Egg Carton for Play Shop | Me & My Veritas

  8. Dear Kathy, thank you very much for your helpful comment! I’m going to double-check with a friend and, if necessary, will change the tutorial accordingly. It’s sometimes not so easy to find the right word if you are not a mother-speaker. 🙂 So, thanks again and have a lovely day, Jana

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