Okay, so step number 1 is to take the shirt off, turn it inside out, and put it back on. Good luck buttoning those buttons inside-out... That MAY be the hardest part of this entire project. ;)
Actually, wait, this next part is. If you are like me, and you never have a buddy around to assist, you get the pleasure of trying to pin the shirt in a couple places to make the fit tighter. With all the frills up front, the darts on this shirt were in the back, so I had to play contortionist for a minute to place pins in the back of the shirt. I took it in from each of the two sides and then from each of the two darts in the back.
I had no idea what I was doing, so I just followed the original seams but where I had marked the new size with my pins.
Another very difficult part of this project: Photographing myself, since we don't even own a full-length mirror. Awesome.
So once I had it tailored to the right fit, the arms were the next project. I'll admit it. I was sceered. I had no idea what I was doing.
With the shirt still inside out, I hiked up the sleeve until it looked like the right length, and then I put one pin right where the new sleeve should meet the top of the shoulder seam. Can you see the little pin in that pic? Sorry...I warned you the pics would be awful. And it had already slid down as I was trying to take the pic. Ugh! But please note that you do NOT pin it to the shoulder seam...just put a pin where it WOULD meet.
Then I took a deep breath and... Cut. The. Sleeve. Out! The edge had been serged, and I didn't want to deal with unpicking, so I just went ahead and cut the sleeve right where it was stitched to the shirt. Here it is laid out on my floor. You can barely see the pin right at the top center. Oh, and say hello to my purple toenails. Nice.
Then I realized I was going to have to have about the same angle/line in my new sleeve, so I decided just using the old one would be easiest. I cut straight up the sleeve, leaving a small amount for seam allowance.
Then I just laid the "template" part of the sleeve on top of the new edge and cut right along the pattern. Then I pinned it onto the body to make sure it worked right and tried it on...being careful not to poke my armpits! ;)
Once I was confident it would work, I unpinned it (yes, it's a pain, but you want matching sleeves). Then I used that sleeve as the pattern for the other side, so they would match exactly.
Then you'll pin them to the bodice with right sides facing each other. I started down at the armpit and then went up the sides, alternating sides. That way the excess fabric would be at the top, and that would be where the "pleats" look shows, so it's gathered at the top like regular puffy sleeves are. No one wants a puffy armpit...
I was sure to place my pins and stitching BELOW the original seam, so none of that old serged edge would be sticking out. And I just used a regular old straight-stitch, 'cause I'm non-adventurous like that. ;) But I DID go around each arm twice for extra measure! Does that count for something?
And here's the finished product:
Want the side-by-side / Before-and-after view?
Not bad for just winging it and figuring it out as I went along, right?
Let me know if you make any attempts! I'd love to see them and feature them!!