Briar sleeve cuff hack

This week I have an easy hack for you. I used Megan Nielsen’s Briar t-shirt pattern as my base and added sleeve cuffs. I bought this pattern shortly after it was released and I made several versions from rayon jersey at that time, but haven’t touched it for a while. Inspired by Deer & Doe’s Ondee sweater, I wanted to add sleeve cuffs to one of my favourite t-shirt patterns, the Briar. I used the Ondee sleeve cuff piece, but you can make your own pattern piece just as easily. Not only that, you can use this hack on any t-shirt pattern with fitted sleeves.

Briar happy skulls front 02

I bought 1m of this fabric with the intention of making underwear, but then I thought it was a bit too awesome to only wear it under my clothes. It’s called Happy Skulls, but I’m pretty sure it’s inspired by sugar skulls (calaveras) from the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration. It’s 96% cotton and 4% lycra, so it’s got a nice amount of stretch and recovery. I cut out the sleeve and neckline bands from a navy blue jersey that has 3% lycra, so it’s not quite as stretchy.

Briar happy skulls front 01

How I did it:

  1. I lengthened the sleeve by 1.5cm (5/8″). I also straightened out the sleeve seam a little bit so it looked more like the Ondee pattern piece. I marked the centre of the bottom of the sleeve.
  2. I cut out the Ondee sleeve band and marked the centre points. You can draft your own band using these dimensions: 8cm width by the length of the bottom of the sleeve, minus 6cm.
  3. NOTE: the briar pattern uses a 1.5cm seam allowance, but the Ondee uses 1cm seam allowances. I kept the 1cm seam allowance. If you’d like to use 1.5cm seam allowance, adjust your cuff pattern piece as required.
  4. I assembled the Briar as per the instructions
  5. Then I sewed the short ends of the cuffs together. Folded it in half, then matched the sleeve seam with the cuff seam and the centre marks with centre marks. You have to stretch the cuff as you sew to match the bottom of the sleeve.

Briar happy skulls back 04

To be honest, I didn’t take out the instructions, so I cannot really comment on them. I just know that Megan Nielsen’s pattern instructions are always very thorough. She creates simple and pretty patterns that anyone can sew and the Briar is no exception. There are only 3-4 pieces (depending if you use a sleeve band or just hem it) so this is a quick and easy make.  The Briar is very well drafted. I cut a size M and graded out to an L at the hip. One thing I did differently was I used interfacing to stabilize the shoulder seams instead of clear elastic.

Briar happy skulls side 03

Because I used a cotton jersey, there is a bit more structure to this t-shirt. You can see in the side photo that it doesn’t cling to my back. I also think because of the structure, the cuffs were a good choice to add. I love how it turned out and I would make it again!



Patterns: Briar T-shirt by Megan Nielsen Patterns, Ondee Sweater by Deer & Doe (optional)

Fabric: Stretch cotton “Kids Jersey, happy skulls” from and Navy blue cotton jersey with 3% stretch.

Notions: Thread, interfacing

Alterations: Graded from M to L, added sleeve cuffs

Modelled with: My black Brume Skirt from Deer & Doe 

If you’d like to see my blog post about the brume skirt, or if you’re interested in my other sewing projects, pay a visit to my website,


I am really looking forward to next week. I’ve been working really hard on making a killer indie pattern outfit. I’m looking forward, as always, to reading what everyone else is doing as well. Good luck!


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