Easy Sewing Tutorial: How to Sew a Lace Bolero Shrug

14 Materials
2 Hours

A bolero shrug is an elegant cover-up for a day or evening outfit, or even a swimsuit.

Today, I’m going to show you how to sew a lace bolero shrug in about an hour, using free sewing patterns for the bolero and sleeves.

Depending on your size, you’ll need about 1.5 yards (1.5 meters) of lace fabric with some stretch that drapes well.

Tools and materials:

  • Free bolero pattern 
  • Free sleeve pattern
  • Buttons or snap fastenings (optional)
  • Paper for pattern
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • 60 inches by 40 inches (150 cm by 100 cm) stretch lace fabric
  • Bias tape or lace trim (optional)
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Serger (optional)
Modifying pattern

1. Modify the pattern

Print out the bodice front and back and trace out the top section.

Measure yourself from the top of your shoulder to where you want the bolero to end (usually just above your bust). In my case this was 6.2 inches (17 cm).

Modifying pattern

Mark this length on the front pattern piece and draw a curved line to connect it to the side seam 2 inches (5 cm) below the armhole.

Modifying pattern

Measure 0.8 inches (2 cm) in from the side seam along your line and connect that point to the armhole.

Modifying pattern

Mark 2 inches (5 cm) down from the armhole on the back pattern piece and connect to the center back line.

Adjust the side seam as you did for the front.

Modifying pattern

If you want to make your shrug shorter in the front as I decided to do, mark 0.8 inches (2 cm) down the center front and connect with a diagonal line to the bottom of the side seam.

Redraw your curved line to meet it.

Modifying pattern

Cut out your modified paper pattern pieces, adding a half inch (1 cm) seam allowance to the outer edges and 0.8 inches (2 cm) to the center front.

Pattern pieces

Pin the pattern pieces to your fabric and cut one back on the fold and two fronts.

Making sleeves

2. Angelic sleeves

Print out the sleeve pattern and cut out, adding a half inch (1 cm) seam allowance.

Fold your fabric on the diagonal and place the folded sleeve pattern on the bias.

Making sleeves

Choose the sleeve length you want along the folded edge. 

Making sleeves

Mark a straight line from the bottom of the sleeve to the top edge of the fabric for the sleeve width and cut out the sleeve, following the highest line of the sleeve head.

Making sleeves

Open out the fabric and the paper pattern and recut the sleeve head.

Cut the second sleeve to match.

Shoulder seams

3. Shoulder seams

If you know how to sew a French seam, this is the best way to join lace fabric.

Otherwise you can use regular seams and finish the raw edges with a serger or using a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.

Join the back and front pieces at the shoulders, with the right sides together.

Inserting sleeves

4. Insert the sleeves

Open the back and front pieces out flat.

Inserting sleeves

Pin and sew the sleeve head to the armhole, with the right sides facing.

Side seams

5. Side seams

With the right sides together, pin and sew the side and sleeve seams.

Finishing DIY bolero shrug

6. Finishing

Turn in a double half inch (1 cm) edge at the center fronts and sew in place.

Finishing DIY bolero shrug

Cut a long strip of bias fabric from the lace or use purchased bias tape or lace edging.

Finishing DIY bolero shrug

Pin it over the neckline and lower edges of the bolero. 

DIY bolero shrug

Sew in place.

Repeat for the bottom of the sleeves.

If you prefer, you can finish the edges with simple double hems in place of the bias fabric.

DIY bolero shrug

Optionally, add button or snap fastenings to the front of the bolero.

DIY bolero shrug

DIY bolero shrug

How to sew a bolero shrug

Even with a simple garment like this, you have lots of options to make it unique.

You can leave the sleeves unhemmed or add a vintage or modern lace trim. You could also add an edging to the bodice of the bolero.

A lightweight rhinestone trim would look spectacular on black lace for evening wear. 

You could also change the shape and length of the sleeves or make the bolero longer. 

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below if you have any questions or if you make this bolero sewing pattern yourself. 

Next, learn How to Sew a Scrunchie: 3 Cute and Easy Scrunchie Ideas.

Suggested materials:
  • Free bolero pattern
  • Free sleeve pattern
  • Buttons or snap fastenings (optional)
See all materials

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