How to Design a Butterfly Sleeve

BUTTERYFLY SLEEVE – This blog will show you how to design a Butterfly sleeve from basic sleeve patterns.

The double layered butterfly sleeve has two layers, an upper, shorter sleeve, and the lower, longer sleeve pattern. Both sections can be created quickly from the one pattern. The upper sleeve section is merely a copy of the lower section made shorter.


Use tracing paper, draw a straight line down the middle of the tracing paper. Place the tracing paper over the sleeve pattern, with the middle line, drawn on the tracing paper placed on top of the fold of paper.

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Trace a copy of the sleeve pattern by tracing along the seam & hem allowances. As shown (in yellow) below.
Fold the tracing paper along the middle line that was drawn in diagram 2. With the tracing paper still folded, pin the paper securely together, then cut out the traced sleeve pattern, along the seam allowance, from the tracing paper.

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Open up the folded, traced pattern. Draw in the centre line on the fold line of the tracing paper. Mark a notch at the top of the centre line, on the sleeve head. Return to the original pattern, draw another curved line, above the hem line, to shape the upper part of the butterfly sleeve.

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Draw another curved line, above the original hem line, to shape an additional hem higher, for the shorter, upper part of the butterfly sleeve.

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This curved line is the hem line for the upper sleeve and should be sited approx. half way above the depth of the original hem. Keep the new curved hem line even/parallel to the hem line of the larger, lower sleeve section underneath.

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You already have the seam allowances which were placed on the original pattern earlier. All that is needed to complete, is to add a small hem allowance of 1 cm on the hem line of the upper sleeve section.

Cut the upper sleeve free from paper, along the seam allowance, then open up the folded paper.

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The frilled effect on the hem line is created by 2 factors:

  • Cutting the fabric on the bias.
  • Overlocking (serger) the hem line. Slightly stretch the fabric as it passes under the needles of the overlocker (serger).
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Related Products – Kearing Tracing Papers

TP8257 2C 04
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