Sleeve Tab Tutorial

Recently I made a Grainline Archer button down shirt and added these little sleeve tabs (which I think everyone agrees to call them that now, which is alright by me) to help keep my sleeves rolled up and to add a little bit of extra style.

I wrote up this tutorial so you can easily make tabs for your Archer or any other shirt for that matter. I added my tabs so that my sleeves roll up to about elbow length but you can add them anywhere on the sleeve, this was just how I did it.
Important: Add tabs before sewing your sleeve!

Cut 4 rectangles 7.5″ by 2″. 1/2 seam allowances are included on all sides.

Interface two of those rectangles.

I angled the corners on my tabs but you can leave them rectangular or curved, whatever you like.

Right sides facing, pin one interfaced rectangle to one non-interfaced rectangle. Stitch around three sides leaving one short side (the non angled, side) open.

Clip corners, grade seams and turn right side out. Topstitch 1/8″ to 1/4″ from the edge all around the rectangle.

On the closed short side stitch a vertical buttonhole starting about 1/2″ from the edge.

On the open short end of your tabs, fold it under to the wrong side about 1/4″ and press. (Oops, I accidentally drew this short end like it was stitched, you can stitch it or not, doesn’t matter, just fold the short end opposite your buttonhole)

On your sleeve pattern piece, on the wrong side, draw a vertical line down 7″ from the sleeve cap’s  shoulder notch, then move over 1″ towards the front of the sleeve, mark this spot. (If you don’t move them towards the front a little bit they’ll look like they’re on the back side of your arm. Mine are moved slightly forward and they look like they’re just right on the center of the sleeve.) You can pin the tab temporarily and try it out to adjust the placement.

Wrong sides together place the center of your folded tab edge on your marked sleeve spot.

Pin and stitch a square.

On the right sides sew your button in the center of the stitched square.

Repeat for the other sleeve then stitch up your shirt like normal.

You can see my tab through my semi-transparent fabric when my sleeves are down to get an idea of how they’re supposed to look.

If you want to make epaulettes it’s the same idea except on your shoulders. Stitch the unsewn short end into the sleeve cap seam and add a button along the shoulder seam line near the collar.

Pretty easy right?

  • I adore those tabs and definitely want to make them on my next Archer – thanks so much!

  • A Stitching Odyssey

    Thanks so much for this Dixie, so helpful!!

  • Nifty! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Roseana Auten

    It looks good, Dixie. Roll-up tabs are great for long sleeve shirts in our climate. You’ll have to show me how you made the illustrations, someday.

  • Kim

    Thanks for the tutorial! Def pinning this for my next Archer 🙂

  • Great tutorial Dixie! I remember sleeve tabs when I was a tech for jackets. Anthro added them to many of their jackets so that customers could turn them up the sleeves a show a contrast lining of cuff.

  • Hey Roseana! I use Adobe Illustrator. It’s an expensive program (all Adobe stuff is) but it’s easier to use for graphics making than Photoshop.

  • oooooh, contrast lining! that would be awesome for a jacket. anthro continues to inspire 😉

    thanks maddie!

  • Eleyna

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I can’t wait to use it on my next archer!

  • Katrina Blanchalle

    This is SO helpful, thank you! It is great to have everything drawn out in steps, and I would never have known to move the tab forward. I would have sewn them on and then spent forever trying to find the darn things on the back of my arm!

  • Threadassembly

    Awesome! thanks for making this, I’m almost done with my first archer shirt and am going to attempt this on my (already sewn) sleeves. Definitely adding it to archer no. 2. Looks perfect for keeping them nicely rolled up.