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5 Tips To Add Sleeves To A Wedding Dress

You’ve been searching for a wedding dream for so long until you stumbled upon this gorgeous-looking dress that seems to fit you like it’s made just for you.

It suits you perfectly and is everything you’ve ever wanted, except for this small issue; It doesn’t have sleeves.

You wonder whether you should buy it, or look on. No worries, adding sleeves to a wedding dress is a piece of cake.

Key Takeaways

  • Adding sleeves to a wedding dress isn’t as daunting of a task as you may think.
  • Sleeves can, in fact, be added to a wedding dress by any seamstress.
  • Adding sleeves, whether long or short, will obviously cost a bit more.
  • Many different types of sleeves can be added to a wedding gown.
  • Make sure to match the materials with the dress you own.

Can you add sleeves to a wedding dress?

The short answer is, yes. Yes, you can. Adding sleeves to a wedding dress should be something easily achievable for any experienced seamstress.

And there are a few ways to achieve that. So, even if you don’t add full sleeves, I’m sure you can at least add seams or straps which will help you achieve the result you desire.

A great option is detachable sleeves as well, however, if you’re sure you want to buy a long-sleeve dress you can also search for some more to find one that doesn’t need more work.

A lot of the time, when you want to buy a wedding dress from a wedding dress designer their options offer both sleeveless dresses with sleeves, as well as detachable ones or a lace jacket. 

So, if you want to have more options and your own wishes granted, wedding dress designers are a great solution for you.

If not, you can look at already-made dresses in stores in search of the dress you want and find the closest thing that resembles the dress of your dreams.

Also Read: Is A Wedding Dress Ironable?

Make or Buy Detachable Sleeves

When it comes to adding sleeves after you’ve already obtained your wedding dress, your best bet is to buy sleeves that are detachable. This could be long or short sleeves depending on your preference.

You could come up with an idea of how you want your sleeves to look and you could execute it yourself or ask a professional to help you with making a pair of detachable wedding sleeves for your dress.

You could make the detachable sleeves puffy and short or you could make them flowy and boho.

Make sure you have a design you know you want and know what kind of materials you’re working with.

Some materials are a lot easier to work with than others. If you have a stylist this should be no problem for them, however, it will cost you more than just buying a dress.

Handkerchief sleeves

This type of sleeve is rather underrated when it comes to wedding dresses and even dresses in general. Handkerchief sleeves can be achieved with any lightweight, or see-through, delicately beaded material.

They fall seamlessly along the arm and can be short or long. Soft fabrics make this type of sleeve very flowy and ethereal. This gives it an effortlessly elegant look and isn’t as hard to achieve as normal tight-skin long sleeves.

They’re made with a diagonal cut which results in a waterfall look and perfectly covers your arms leaving no room for any insecurities even if your arms aren’t super fit.

Cap sleeves

Cap sleeves are a great option when it comes to a wedding dress. They can be in any shape or form you like, from stiff and lacy – incorporated with the dress to see-through and delicate. They are a great classy option for any type of gown.

Wear long gloves

A great option, depending on the style of your wedding dress, is adding a pair of fancy, glamorous long gloves that are almost as long as an off-shoulder sleeve, if not longer.

These gloves will make you feel like a princess and protect you from the cold, and germs, and will look stunning with a gorgeous wedding dress made out of similar materials. Just make sure you match the colors and materials, and you’re set!

Also Read: How many sizes does a dress come in?


When it comes to straps, they’re a lot easier to add than long sleeves. And, this can be done almost seamlessly. Adding straps is probably the easiest option out there for adding sleeves to a wedding dress.

There are also many amazing materials you could incorporate into the making of straps that will hold your bridal dress. Such include lace straps, tulle straps, off-the-shoulder straps, and puffy balloon straps.

Lace straps

Lace straps are a small addition to your wedding dress that is perfect if your dress is already lacy. If it isn’t, however, consider adding lace to the front top part of the seam or along the back, so the straps fit well with the dress and don’t look out of place.

These types of straps can be sewn even manually and they’re really great, as you can add them on top of the dress, or on the side, resulting in an off-the-shoulder type of moment.

If you don’t want straps you can also add see-through material with lace on it underneath your dress or sew them yourself, as this falls under the detachable sleeves you can make on your own.

Tulle straps

These straps are mostly found either as long puffy sleeves added on top of the dress or maybe as ruffles that are slightly shorter resulting in a fun look.

Tulle material, as we know, is see-through and very lightweight. This is why we make the sleeves puffy as they shape the arm better to achieve that look.

This type of sleeve can also be a detachable sleeve that can be sewn in on the side of the dress to give you yet another off-the-shoulder glamorous look.

Usually, these types of sleeves have an elastic band at the end of them, at the wrist. This gives them definition and helps with keeping them tight on your arm in addition to your romantic dreamy wedding gown.

Unless, you want a short strap look that can be done on the sides, with a dainty see-through ruffled material giving you a “Princess Belle” kind of look.

Off-the-shoulder straps

As I already mentioned, off-the-shoulder straps are one of the easiest methods of adding a sleeve. They can be long or short, depending on how you want them.

They can be as versatile as you want, whether that be a tulle strap or an easily applicable lace strap that is silky or a classy plain sleeve.

Off-the-shoulder dresses are my personal favorite and I vouch for them whether they are straps or long sleeves.

My personal wedding gown had detachable tulle sleeves that made for a stunning off-the-shoulder glamorous look. So, I guess I’m a little biased.


And last but not least, cover-ups are a great way to add sleeves without actually having sleeves. This can be done by having a little cover-up jacket in the form of a bolero or a satin cape.

They might not be sleeves but are gorgeous nonetheless.

Also Read: Dress Hemming Techniques Without Sewing

Final Words

In conclusion, if you want to have sleeves added to your wedding dress, it’s totally doable. Any wedding dress can be completed with a pair of long or short see-through sleeves. Or, you could have fitting gloves that add glamor to your look.