Friday, April 15, 2011

Toddler Maxi Dress and Shrug - Part 3 of 4 - Drafting the Shrug Pattern

I apologize to everyone who was waiting specifically for this part of the tutorial!  Life has been quite crazy and unsettling living in hotels, finding jobs and now looking for a home [I wish we could afford a house with a yard for the kids, but for now it will have to be an apartment].  I had my husband take the car to work today (instead of having me drop him off) so the kids and I are intentionally "stuck" at the hotel so I can give myself some time to write and complete the tutorial.  Finally!


I "cheated" on the shrug and didn't go straight from measurements to draft the pattern.  Instead, I took a dress of my daughter's that fit snuggly on top.  The shrug needs to be snug so it doesn't fall off easily.  I also used a knit fabric so it would be comfortable.

Once you have a garment that fits correctly to copy, lay it out on a piece of paper and mark the edges of the shoulder seam, side seam, and the center of the back neck.  You can very the length of the shrug depending on your desired style.  I made mine end at approximately mid-way down the back (or maybe a little above).  I also extended the shoulder seam a little bit towards the neck so it would fit closer than the dress does.   


Square a line down from the center neck and over to the side seam.


Draw straight lines for the side and shoulder seams. They will be at slight angles as shown below. You can extend the lines out so it's a little faster when adding seam allowance.


Draw the curves for the neckline and armhole. For the neckline you want it to be nearly straight across at the middle and curve up toward the shoulder. For the armhole you want most of the curve to be towards the bottom of the armhole. The closer you are to having the intersections of the lines 90 degree angles the smoother your connections will be when sewing. (Which is what you want)


Add seam allowance (I usually use 1/2 inch), fold line marker and labels. You will need one of these when cut on the fold. It is the back of the bolero.


Get a piece of tracing paper and place it on top. Trace the shoulder and side seams only.


Draw the armhole coming in further than the back piece. From about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch depending on the size of your child.


Next draw the edge of the shrug for the front. You can make it more or less curved as you desire, just make sure the corners on the shoulder and side seam are close to 90 degrees angles.


Add the seam allowance and labels, then you have the front of the bolero.


For the sleeve I went back to my daughter's dress for a guide. I layed it flat in half and marked the top, under arm point, and where I wanted the sleeve to end. I made it rather small because I knew I was going to add 1/2 inch hem and leave a raw edge. You can also measure on your child and estimate how long it would need to be to end where you want it.


Draw the lines to complete the sleeve. A straight line on the top of the sleeve, the very curved line on the armhole (draw it the same as the curve on the finished garment), and the slightly curved line on the bottom hem.


Cut out the sleeve without adding any seam allowance. Draw three (or more for a larger size) straight lines parallel to the top of the sleeve. Mine are about 1/2 inch apart. Don't add any close to the under arm portion of the sleeve.


Tape the sleeve to a piece of paper only on the top edge of the sleeve and cut on the line closest to it. Measure out 1" on the top and 1/2" on the bottom and tape down.


Repeat until you've done the same with every line and it looks like the photo below.


Draw curved lines as shown below, going down a little at the middle of the hemline.


Use another piece of tracing paper placed over the top to trace the new shape of the sleeve, add the seam allowance, labels and fold marker.


And there you have the pattern for the bolero. I didn't make a pattern piece for the ruffle as I just used elastic thread to gather a strip of fabric and wasn't sure how much it would take.

I will post the sewing tutorial next as the 4th and final installment of the tutorial. Woohoo!


I'll be linking up to all the awesome parties on my "Blog Link Parties" tab including

504 Main


  1. stopping by from TaterTots and jello. Cute shrug.

    Come stop by, we are having a party.

  2. So cute
    over from Tatertots and Jello's Wrap up party!
    Check out my blog, blogiversary giveaways going.

  3. Your pattern making skills are incredible! I've never tackled anything so intricate before. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hmmm, I've never made a pattern before, but that's a really sweet little shrug. I may have to give this a try.

  5. Really cute! I have to give this a try!

  6. Cute shrug and great tips on making patterns. I've wanted to make some patterns, but I've been intimidated by the process. You make it sound so much easy than what I have imagined. I am featuring this at Grab my "featureD" button.

  7. that is so cute! I would love for you to come link up to my Sew Crafty Party !

  8. Love it! I am bookmarking this in hopes I can make it before Easter! Cross your fingers for me :) Visiting from Craft-O-Maniac.

  9. what a great tutorial! will be featuring this this saturday!

  10. Hi, Catherine! Your project is one of the nominated projects for TSWL's Finest of April 2011. Voting will start on the first week of May. I will give you your vote for me badge days before that so you can display it on your blog!


I love to read your comments, thank you for taking the time to visit my little corner of the world!

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