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Trendy Sleeve Shrug

Get Fashionable with this Trendy Sleeve Shrug

All fashion is cyclical so you may remember the shrug from the Y2K era or even further back to the 1950s, or from its original origins when we called it a Bolero.  A shrug is essentially a detachable set of sleeves that covers your shoulders so, it’s sort of like wearing a half-garment, half-accessory that you can incorporate into any outfit.  The style is perfect for layering and may even replace donning a full-length jacket.  It’s a smart choice to add to your wardrobe because a shrug can perform double-duty for a casual day or for a glammed-up night out… throw one on over a fitted tank top, slip dress, high waisted trousers or even a formal gown.  Today’s shrug is modern, chic and the must-have fashion staple of the year.  The good news, you can easily make your own.

Brother Sews Ambassador Logo

As a Brother Sews Ambassador I get to create all kinds of sewing projects using the BEST sewing and embroidery machines on the market.  There is so much you can do with a Brother machine and some fabric but my favorite is to refashion old clothing into a new style…giving it a new life.  These trendy shrug sleeves use an old sweater to create the cuffs.

Supplies:

Brother Sewing Machine
1.5 yards of fabric for the outer layer
1.5 yards of fabric for the lining
Knit cuffs (pre-made or repurpose an old sweater but using the waistband or existing cuffs)
Pattern paper & pencil
Fabric scissors
Paper scissors
Measuring tape
Straight pins

sewing suppliesPATTERN:Sketched out sleeve pattern

Start by measuring the length of your arm span. You can do this or have a friend help. With your arms stretched out to the sides, measure from wrist to wrist and adding a few inches for hemming at the cuff.

Measuring arm spanTake that measurement and divide it in half to get the pattern length from the centerfold. For example, if the length is 64 inches, then from the centerfold of the fabric, you will use 32 inches for the length. If the arm span is 60 inches you will measure 30 inches from the centerfold.

Measuring back

Next, measure the distance across the back from underarm to underarm. If the measurement is 18 inches, take half of that and mark it from the centerfold.

Marking the pattern for back width

Start making these measurement markings on your pattern paper so you can easily draw the pattern when the measurements are complete.

Top Tip: If you don’t have proper pattern paper, you can use the backside of gift-wrapping paper.

Measuring on wrapping paper to start the pattern making

The width of the back panel can we wide or narrower, it just depends on what look you want. To create a narrower piece across the back, take half the existing width between the back measurement markings. Here it is 5 inches wide. This will be the back of your shrug.

Showing the slope of the back pattern from shoulders to arm hole

For the sleeve width, measure, and mark 10 to 14 inches from the long edge, top of the pattern paper. You can vary your sleeve width depending on how full you want your sleeves.

Measuring and marking the width of the sleeve

To complete the pattern, draw a curved line blending the two measurements: from the narrow back to the bottom of the sleeve. Cut out your pattern and set it aside.

FABRIC PREP:

You will need to fold the fabric to fit the pattern.   Note, the fabric needs to be folded twice because there are 2 fold points on the pattern; one for the length sleeve on the top of the pattern and one for the center back.

Laying pattern on one fold of the fabric

Lay the fabric flat, lengthwise, and right side up. Fold the top over – about 15 inches or enough to cover the width of your sleeve – then fold the fabric in half.

Folding the fabric Double fold of the fabric

Place the top of the pattern on the top fold of the fabric, and the center of the pattern on the centerfold.

pinning the pattern to the folded fabric

Pin the pattern in place and cut it out.  Cut one piece for the outer shell and one for the lining.

Cutting the lining fabric shows lining cut and outer later fabric cut

ASSEMBLY:

Lay the right sides of the outer shell together and sew only the sleeve length leaving the back panel open. Do the same with the lining.

folded sleeves and pinned raw edges Shows where to sew edge of sleeve

With the lining wrong side out, insert the outer layer with the right side out into the sleeves of the lining layer.

insert the outer layer with the right side out into the sleeves of the lining layer

insert the outer layer into lining layer

Line up the back panels, pin in place and sew them together leaving a 3-inch opening.

Line up the back panels, pin in place and sew them together leaving a 3-inch opening.

From the opening, turn the shrug right side out.

From the opening, turn the shrug right side out.

Pulling one sleeve thru the opening at a time. Once all four pieces are turned right side out, insert the liner sleeves into the outer layer sleeves.

sleeve pieces turned right side out

At the back panel, fold in and pin the 3-inch opening closed, press, and top stitch all the way around.

fold in and pin the 3-inch opening closed, press, and top stitch all the way around.

To finish the look, you can simply turn the sleeve length under and hem, or you can add knit cuffs to the sleeve.  You can use premade cuffs or repurpose an old sweater instead of tossing it out.  Use the sweater bottom band or existing cuffs. If you are using the bottom band, cut enough length to fit your wrist and sew one side of the knit band to create a cuff.

repurpose an old sweater for cuffs

Adding the cuffs to the sleeves is easy. Start by first creating a small gather each sleeve by running a long stitch all the way around, leaving the threads long, while holding one thread pull the other to create a gather.

Adding the cuffs to the sleeves create gather at sleeve

Slide the cuff over the gathered end of the sleeve with the right side of the knit cuff facing the right side of the sleeve fabric.

Slide the cuff over the gathered end of the sleeve with the right side of the knit cuff facing the right side of the sleeve fabric.

Slide the sleeve onto the small arm of your Brother sewing machine and zig zag stitch them together.

sewing cuff to sleeve

Trim the excess and finish the seam with an over-stitch or serge the raw edges to finish.

Trim the excess finish the seam with an over-stitch or serge the raw edges to finish. Finished cuffs with a serger

This fashion trend works with almost every outfit because a simple shrug can be dressed up or dressed down.  Plus, it is a great accessory to have on the ready when you are going on vacation, off to work, out to lunch, or even to a black-tie event.  So, make your own versatile shrug and dress to impress with your one-of-a-kind design.

Sleeve Shrug Final Project

sleeve shrug back view Sleeve shrug casual with jeans Sleeve shrug for a night out

Trendy Sleeve Shrug Sewing Project

Update your wardrobe with a trendy sleeve shrug. Since It's the fashion must-have of the year, you can easily learn how to make your own with this step-by-step project tutorial. It's a fun project for beginners too!
Prep Time1 hour
Active Time1 hour
Course: Beginner project
Yield: 1 sleeve shrug

Equipment

  • 1 Brother Sewing Machine
  • Pattern Paper and Marking Pen You can use the backside of wrapping paper to make the pattern
  • 1 pair of paper scissors
  • 1 Pair of fabric scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight edge
  • Straight pins 

Materials

  • 1.5 yeards fabric for the outer layer any color or pattern
  • 1.5 yards fabric for the lining; washed and dried any color
  • 2 knit cuffs or repurpose an old sweater using the waistband or existing cuffs

Instructions

Make the Pattern

  • Measure the length of your arm span, adding a few inches for hemming at the cuff.
  • Take the length and divide it in half to get the pattern length on the center fold. For example, if the length is 64 inches then from the centerfold of the fabric, then you will use 32 inches for the length.
  • Measure the distance across the back from underarm to underarm. If the measurement is 18 inches, take half of that and mark it from the centerfold.
  • Start making these measurement markings on your pattern paper so you can easily draw the pattern when the measurements are complete.
  • The width of the back panel can we wide or more narrow, it just depends on what look you want. To create a more narrower piece across the back, take half the existing width between the back measurement markings. Here it is 5 inches wide. This will be the back of your shrug.
  • For the sleeve width, measure, and mark 10 to 14 inches from the long edge, top of the pattern paper. You can vary your sleeve width depending on how full you want your sleeves.
  • To complete the pattern, draw a curved line blending the two measurements: from the narrow back to the bottom of the sleeve. Cut out your pattern and set it aside.

Fabric Prep

  • You will need to fold the fabric twice to fit the pattern. Note, the fabric needs to be folded twice because there are 2 fold points on the pattern; one for the length sleeve on the top of the pattern and one for the center back.
  • Lay the fabric flat, lengthwise, and right side up. Fold the top over - about 15 inches or enough to cover the width of your sleeve - then fold the fabric in half.
  • Place the top of the pattern on the top fold of the fabric,and the center of the pattern on the centerfold.
  • Pin the pattern in place and cut it out.  Cut one piece for the outer shell and one for the lining.

Assembling the Shrug

  • Lay the right sides of the outer shell together and sew only the sleeve length leaving the back panel open. Do the same with the lining.
  • With the lining wrong side out, insert the outer layer with the right side out into the sleeves of the lining layer.
    Line up the back panels, pin in place and sew them together leaving a 3-inch opening.
  • From the opening, turn the shrug right side out. Pulling one sleeve thru the opening at a time. Once all four pieces are turned right side out, insert the liner sleeves into the outer layersleeves.
  • At the back panel, fold in and pin the 3-inch opening closed, press, and top stitch all the way around.

Finish

  • To finish the look, you can simply turn the sleeve length under and hem, oryou can add knit cuffs to the sleeve.  You can use premade cuffs or repurpose an old sweater instead of tossing it out.  Use the sweater bottom band or existing cuffs. If you are using the bottom band, cut enough length to fit your wrist and sew one side of the knit band to create a cuff.
  • Adding the cuffs to the sleeves is easy. Start by first creating a small gather each sleeve by running a long stitch all the way around, leaving the threads long, while holding one thread pull the other to create a gather.
  • Slide the sleeve onto the small arm of your Brother sewing machine and zig zag stitch them together.
  • Trim the excess and finish the seam with an over-stitch or serge the raw edges to finish.
  • This fashion trend works with almost every outfit cuz it can be dressed up or dressed down – just depends on the occasion – so make your own and make life be your runway!

 

 

 

About Jane

Hi I’m Jane!
A television host by day and a creative maker my entire life. I spend most moments of the day thinking about what I am going to make next, whether it be in the craft room or kitchen, I always have the urge to create.

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