WHAT IS IT?
A cuff is a band of fabric used to finish the hemlines of sleeves or pant legs. Cuffs can be elasticized with a casing (page link) or interfaced (page link) and flat. Cuffs are often cut smaller than the opening, or they can be cut the same width as the sleeve or pant. Cuffs on tailored dress shirts are often sewn with a placket opening (page link) so the shirt can be released to put it on and buttoned tightly around the wrist. Cuffs on sleeves that end above the elbow are usually wide enough to fit over the hand and won’t need a placket, but you may want a placket as a design detail or so the sleeves can be rolled up.
Buttoned cuff on a blouse
Cuff on Thurlow Shorts
Elastic cuff on Minoru Jacket
WHEN DO YOU USE IT?
Cuffs add an elegant touch to shirts and blouses and look more polished than a plain hem. Add cuffs to trousers or shorts when you want to draw attention to the hems or when you want the option of taking down the cuffs and adding length later on. For athletic wear or casual garments, elasticized cuffs add movement and comfort. Cuffs may be a single rectangular piece folded at the edge or cut from two pieces, an outer cuff and a facing. Having a facing (page link) on your cuff allows you to use contrast fabric on the inside, to shape the cuff or to insert lace or trim along the cuff edge.
Tips + Notes
- For elastic cuffs, follow the directions for making a casing on page link.
- Test the fit of the cuff by making a muslin sample. Make sure the cuff is not too tight on your wrist or arm. If it is, add width to the cuff and reduce the pleats or gathers in the sleeve to match, or add to the sleeve seam.
- To sew a French cuff, cut your cuff piece twice as long and fold it back to form a double cuff. Instead of sewing buttons, make four buttonholes on the cuff and attach cuff links through the buttonholes. This is a nice detail on dress shirts. If you can’t find cuff links, sew two buttons together with a long thread loop (page link) in between and use them to secure the French cuff.
HOW TO SEW A CUFF WITH PLACKET
Prepare the sleeve for the cuff by making the placket opening (page link) in the sleeve and sewing and finishing the sleeve seams. If there are pleats (page link) or gathers (page link) where the sleeve meets the cuff, sew the pleats or gathering stitches. You can either sew the cuff to the sleeve before sewing the sleeve into the garment, or you can apply the cuff to the attached sleeve.
Cut the cuff piece from your fabric, mark the fold line and apply interfacing (page link). Turn under the seam allowance on the long side of the cuff that is not going to be sewn to the sleeve, and press. Usually this side has no notches and is called the “unnotched” side of the cuff. Trim this seam allowance down to ¼” (6mm), if you like, to reduce bulk.
Fold the cuff along the fold line, with the right sides together, and sew along the short sides of the cuff.
Trim the corners and turn the cuff right side out. Press. You may want to sew the buttonhole (page link) at this point, while the cuff is still flat.
Pin the right side of the cuff to the wrong side of the sleeve, matching notches, remembering that there will be an extension on one side of the placket for the closure. I find this easiest to do with the sleeve turned right side out and the cuff pinned to the inside. Sew the cuff to the sleeve, while pulling the folded edge out of the way.
Trim the seam allowance (page link), press the seam allowance toward the cuff and line up the folded edge of the cuff along the seam line, tucking the seam allowance into the cuff at the corners. Baste (page link) or pin the folded edge in place.
Edgestitch (page link) across the cuff seam first to close up the cuff, then continue edgestitching around the entire cuff. Topstitch (page link) a second row of stitching parallel to the edgestitching if desired.
HOW TO SEW CUFFS ON TROUSERS AND SHORTS
Decide how wide of a cuff you want to add and add enough length to the hemline of your garment to cover twice the desired cuff width.
Mark a line up from the hem that’s the cuff width plus the hem allowance. This will be the fold line for the hem. Finish the edge of the hem. Press up the hem along the fold line, and sew in place. Press up the cuff along the cuff fold line, and tack in place at side seams and inner leg seams.
Cuff on Thurlow Shorts
Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine