How to Draft a Flutter Sleeve Pattern

What is a "flutter" sleeve?  It's a full, flowy - and usually short - sleeve that's perfect for a summer top or dress.

This page shows you how to create a sleeve using your blouse block. Don't forget to finish with hems and seam allowances!

light blue top with flutter sleeves

This is a very feminine look, very airy and cool in warm weather.

It can be made long or short, but it's the most "fluttery" when worn short.

It's also a variation on a full sleeve - but the fullness is loose and fluid, not gathered into a cuff.

Drafting the Flutter Sleeve

Start with your blouse sleeve block, shortened to about 2-3" below the bicep.

Draw vertical lines dividing the sleeve into several sections, about 1 1/2" wide (except for each end - leave those sections about 3" wide).

pattern draft for flutter sleeve

Cut along these lines from the hem almost to the sleeve cap.  It's best to keep the sections connected at the sleeve cap so they don't get out of order, but it's not a problem is you accidentally cut through the edge - just don't re-arrange the pieces!

separating the pattern pieces for a flutter sleeve

Spread the pieces apart to create width and fullness at the bottom. 

For a relatively modest flutter and flare, separate the pieces about 1 1/2' each.

You can adjust the pieces to add as much or as little flare as you want - for a fuller flare and more drape in the sleeve, spread the pieces about 2" each, until the side seams are almost horizontal.

The final shape may seem a bit strange, but it will produce a nicely draped flare at the hem.

All of the fullness in this sleeve is at the bottom - there is no gathering or "puffiness" at the sleeve cap. 

final pattern for flutter sleeve

Give this one a try on your next garden party dress or warm weather top!

Learn to design dozens of new sleeve styles in the in-depth tutorial, A Beginner's Guide to Sleeves and Cuffs Kimono sleeves and Dolmans, raglan sleeves, leg 'o mutton and cowl sleeves, a pretty little petal sleeve - and variations of all of these! - are demonstrated in the tutorial. 

Check out the Beginner's Guide to Sleeves and Cuffs now!

What's the Next Step?

Decide how you'd like to use this sleeve - on a dress or top - and the neckline you'd like to use.  In this case, I'd keep the focus on the sleeve, so a simple neckline compliments the sleeve nicely.

And remember to add seam allowances and a hem before finishing your pattern!

More Sleeve Styles

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