sewing alterations

Transform Your Ladies' Suit: Remove Sleeves and Add Jewel Buttons

Mastering Sewing Alterations for Ladies' Suits: Removing Sleeves and Replacing Buttons


Sometimes, a ladies' suit just needs a little tweak to go from drab to fab. Removing the sleeves for a chic sleeveless look and replacing the standard buttons with jewel buttons can completely transform your suit. In this guide, we’ll walk you through these alterations step-by-step, so you can achieve a stylish and unique suit that truly stands out.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Sleeves and Adding Jewel Buttons

Tools You'll Need

  • Seam ripper
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle and thread
  • Jewel buttons
  • Scissors
  • Fabric matching the suit (for finishing armholes, if needed)
  • Iron and ironing board

Removing the Sleeves

Step 1: Mark the Sleeve

  1. Try On the Suit: Have the wearer try on the suit and determine where you want the armholes to end.
  2. Mark with Chalk: Use tailor's chalk to mark the line around the armhole where you'll remove the sleeve.

Step 2: Remove the Sleeve

  1. Use a Seam Ripper: Carefully unpick the stitches attaching the sleeve to the body of the jacket.
  2. Detach the Sleeve: Remove the sleeve completely, ensuring you don’t damage the fabric around the armhole.

Step 3: Finish the Armhole

  1. Prepare the Edge: Fold the raw edge of the armhole inward to create a clean finish. If the fabric frays easily, you might want to use bias tape or a strip of matching fabric to bind the edge.
  2. Pin in Place: Pin the folded edge or binding fabric around the armhole.
  3. Sew the Edge: Using a sewing machine or hand stitching, sew the edge to secure it. Ensure the stitches are even and neat.

Step 4: Press the Seam

  1. Iron the Edges: Press the newly finished armhole with an iron to set the seam and give it a professional look.

Replacing Buttons with Jewel Buttons

Step 1: Remove the Existing Buttons

  1. Cut the Threads: Using small scissors or a seam ripper, carefully cut the threads holding the existing buttons in place.
  2. Remove the Buttons: Take off the old buttons and save them for another project or discard them.

Step 2: Select and Position Jewel Buttons

  1. Choose Your Buttons: Select jewel buttons that complement the fabric and style of the suit.
  2. Mark Button Placement: Using tailor's chalk, mark where each new button will go, ensuring they are evenly spaced and aligned.

Step 3: Attach the Jewel Buttons

  1. Thread the Needle: Use a strong thread that matches the fabric or buttons.
  2. Sew on the Buttons: Attach each jewel button to the suit, ensuring they are securely fastened. Sew through the button holes multiple times for stability.
  3. Knot and Trim: Tie a secure knot on the inside of the suit to finish, then trim any excess thread.

Tips for a Professional Finish

  • Reinforce Armholes: If the armhole fabric seems too flimsy, reinforce it with interfacing before finishing the edges.
  • Button Alignment: Use a ruler or measuring tape to ensure all buttons are aligned perfectly.
  • Extra Buttons: Sew an extra jewel button inside the jacket for future repairs.
  • Fabric Matching: If you use binding fabric for the armholes, ensure it matches or complements the suit fabric perfectly.


Transforming a ladies' suit by removing the sleeves and adding jewel buttons can give it a fresh, modern look. With a few simple steps and some basic sewing skills, you can create a stylish and personalized suit that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you're doing this for yourself or a client, these alterations will make the suit stand out in the best possible way.


Q: How difficult is it to remove sleeves from a suit? A: Removing sleeves is relatively straightforward but requires careful attention to detail to ensure the armholes are finished neatly.

Q: Can I replace buttons without a sewing machine? A: Yes, you can replace buttons by hand sewing. It may take a bit longer, but it’s definitely doable.

Q: What type of thread should I use for sewing jewel buttons? A: Use a strong, durable thread, such as polyester or heavy-duty cotton, to ensure the buttons are securely attached.

Q: How do I choose the right size jewel buttons? A: Select jewel buttons that are proportionate to the suit and complement its style. Avoid buttons that are too large or too small for the buttonholes.

Q: Can I alter a suit made of delicate fabric? A: Yes, but extra care is needed. Use sharp, fine needles and take your time to avoid damaging the fabric.

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