Sewing Sleeves on Doll Clothing Patterns

The Differences in Design and Construction
You may have heard the phrase "the right to bear arms"? Well, here we will talk about covering a bit of Dolly's bare arms to put a finishing touch on her outfits. Sleeveless sundresses are perfect for summer outings, but as Autumn leaves fall and Spring showers arrive, Dolly may wish for more on her arms without having to put on a sweater or jacket. There are a variety of options to choose from in order to enhance any outfit as you sew unique clothing for your dolls.
As you work with doll clothes, you encounter challenges of sewing on a smaller scale. Sleeves are no different. Since the opening is so tiny, you cannot do set-in sleeves as you would if you were sewing a dress for yourself. In Dolly's case, you must leave the side seam of the sleeve and bodice open and sew the sleeve cap into the arm hole seam and then zigzag the edge.
Several steps were glossed over so let's go back with a bit more detail to give you a better visual:
First, fully finish your sleeve before attaching it to the bodice. Now is the time to add embellishments. Complete the hem by adding lace, making a casing with elastic threaded through or gather it into a band.
Know the type of sleeve you will use. One example is to create a puffed sleeve by using elastic. First, finish the bottom of the sleeve. Then use a clear plastic elastic that is very stretchy. This can be sewn on rather than cased in and is best used for large areas of fabric that need drawn together as 2" of plastic elastic will stretch to great lengths. It also has less bulk and is easier to slide Dolly's arms in and out of.
Once you have the sleeve's design figured out and finish the sleeve, run thread around the sleeve cap and sew into the bodice and then finish sewing the side seam for the bodice.
Here is a helpful tip: I always run 2 rows of gathering threads 1/8" and 3/8" from the edge of the sleeve's head. I pull the two gathering threads at the same time to ensure even gathers. Then, I stitch down the middle of the two rows with a regular (2.5) stitch. This puts me at a seam allowance of 1/4" away from the edge of the sleeve for my final stitching. It is important to pull out your gathering threads at the end, after stitching. All that is left is to zigzag the seam allowance in order to finish the raw edges.
Look through pattern books on sewing for dolls and evaluate each sleeve on each outfit. See where they are gathered or puffed or banded and how it fits with the rest of the design. Play around with it. If you create a sleeve that doesn't work, make a new one. Have fun and realize there are many ways to achieve the look you desire for Dolly.