How To Sew a Bishop Sleeve

Hello, my fabulous friends! Today, I’m going to show you How To Sew a Bishop Sleeve 😀

Remember that adorable Madison Blouse I up-cycled from a vintage bed sheet for my little girl (read the post HERE)? Here’s a quick pic to jog your memory… 😍

Girls Madison Blouse

Eek! I just can’t get over how cute she is in her vintage-inspired outfit 😍

In that post, I mentioned I had something up my sleeve (Ha! Get it?…sleeve?) for the women’s version of the Madison Blouse. Well,  I’m here to make good on my promise.

😍 But first, let me show you my inspiration for the look I’m going for. I couldn’t sleep one night, so I was scrolling through Pinterest (don’t we all?) and I came across this little gem. The whole look is gorgeous, right? But check out those sleeves! <3

Ok…So, I’m not looking to copy the entire outfit (maybe if I had her figure!) I’m just looking at the sleeves. These Bishop-style short sleeves would be perfect on the Madison Blouse. I must have them! And, so I shall!

Let me show you how I converted sleeves from an existing pattern into 😍
Bishop Sleeves.
How To Sew a Bishop Sleeve
How To Sew A Bishop Sleeve

The first thing you’ll need to do, is make a new pattern piece for the sleeves. As I said before, I am using the Madison Blouse from Mummykins and Me. But really, you can use this tutorial on most any woven blouse pattern.

Make a New Pattern Piece: 😍

First, take your existing pattern piece and trace it onto a new sheet of paper. Ok, I’m actually using a paper grocery bag. Lol! What can I say? All in the spirit of re-cycling, right?

Bishop Sleeve – Trace pattern piece

Next, fold your pattern piece in half (as shown in the pic).

Bishop Sleeve – Fold

Then, fold in half again. 😍

Bishop Sleeve – Fold again

Now, unfold. 😍 Check it out! You should have 3 vertical lines. One in the middle and one on each side.

Cut along each fold line to create 4 pieces.

Bishop Sleeve – Cut

On a new sheet of paper (err…paper bag) place your pieces so they connect at the top and fan out at the bottom. Depending on how much poof you want in your sleeve, will determine how far apart you’ll fan them.

For example: I am measuring  2 in. between my pieces for a total gain of 6 in. to my sleeve. 😍 If you want more poof, just add more.

Once you have them where you want them, loosely tape them down to hold them in place.

Bishop Sleeve – Make new pattern piece

Trace around and cut out your new pattern piece. 😍 Go ahead and transfer all existing pattern markings (i.e. Front and Back labels, pleats/gathers, etc.).

Now, you are going to add a gather line at the bottom. Measure in from both corners of your hem 3/4 in. and make your mark.

That’s it! Your new pattern piece is finished. 😍

Bishop Sleeve – Gather lines
Time to sew!

Go ahead and assemble your blouse per the pattern instructions. 😍 Come back here when you get to bit about the sleeves……

Bishop Sleeves

Start by cutting 2 mirrored pieces from your fabric.

Bishop Sleeves – Cut out sleeves

Sew two rows of gathering stitches, starting and stopping at your gather mark. 😍 One row 1/4 in. from the hem, and another 3/4 in. from the hem. The Madison Blouse calls for gathering at the shoulder, so I went ahead and sewed those as well.

Bishop Sleeves – Sew gather lines

Sew the side seams on your sleeves per the pattern instructions. For my Madison Bouse, the instructions call for French seams. 😍 One of the things I love about Mummykins and Me is that most of her patterns have no exposed seams. So your finished garment looks just as snazzy on the inside as it does out. French seams may look intimidating, but are really pretty easy. Maybe I’ll do a tutorial on those some day, too 😍

Bishop Sleeves – French seams
To Make the Arm Band

Get out your trusty measuring tape and measure around your arm where the bottom of the sleeve will sit. Then, take that measurement and add 2 in. (1 inch for seam allowance, plus 1/2 in. for ease). TIP: It may help to try on your sleeve to see exactly where it lands, and measure there. 😍

Bishop Sleeve – Measure arm

For example: On the Madison Blouse, the sleeve comes down a little more than halfway between the shoulder and elbow. 😍 My arm measured 10.5 in. around and I will add 1/2 in. for ease (room to flex those muscles), then 1 more inch for seam allowance. So my total length is 12 in.

Now, take that measurement and use it as the width to make a rectangle. The height will be 4 in. (unless you want your arm band to be taller, then add more).

Cut 2 pieces from your fabric, using those measurements.

Bishop Sleeve – Arm band

😍 Fold your bands in half so the short sides are together and sew.

Bishop Seeves – Fold band

Press seam allowance open. Then, fold bands in half, lengthwide, with wrong sides facing. Press.

Bishop Sleeves – Fold

Open them back up and fold one of the edges in 1/2 in. Press. 😍

Bishop Sleeves – Fold edges

Match up side seams and insert the sleeves inside the bands, right sides facing. The folded hem should be on top (see pic).

Bishop Sleeve – Instert sleeve into band

Pull the basting threads to gather the sleeve until it fits in the band. 😍 Try to get the gathers nice and even. Pin in place and stitch.

Bishop Sleeves – Gather

Open it up, and press the seam.

Bishop Sleeve – Press seam 😍

Fold the top half of the band back to the inside of the sleeve, making sure to conceal the seam allowance (much like applying bias tape). Pin in place.

Now, “stitch in the ditch” (as they say) from the outside of the sleeve to close it up.

Bishop Sleeve – Stitch in the ditch

And…Viola! Your sleeves are done 😍

Bishop Sleeves – Done!

Attach them to your blouse 😍 (following your pattern instructions). And…… Fabulousness!

Madison Blouse – Bishop Sleeves


Bishop Sleeves
Sew All The Bishop Sleeves!

I would love to see yours! Tag me (@amyreinagel) on Instagram so I can 😍

Thanks for stopping by <3


***This post may contain affiliate links. This means, if you make a purchase through one of my affiliated links, I earn a few pennies. 😍 This helps feed my fabric habit, which leads to more blog posts for you to read and enjoy. It’s a win, win. So click away…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *