How to Make a Bolero Jacket from a Shawl

Written by anne wilson
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Just about any shawl, as long as it equals about a yard, can be transformed into a bolero jacket by someone with a little sewing experience. This simple and stylish item is increasingly being used to outfit the members of a wedding party, or as an accessory to any day or evening outfit. A lace or fabric shawl works perfectly to create the cropped, open bolero, and it's all you will need for the fabric part of this project, along with a few other items. Allow about an hour to complete the bolero if you are an experienced sewer.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Picture of bolero
  • Pencil
  • Butcher paper
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Shawl
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Seam binding (1/2-inch wide) (optional)
  • Decorative buttons or ribbon (optional)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure from the outside of one arm across the back of your shoulders to the outside of the other arm. Measure from your collarbone to your ribcage where you want the bolero to hit. Write down the measurements.

  2. 2

    Choose a pattern, or make your own. If you want to make your own, do a little research into basic pattern-making if you've never drawn a pattern before, and peruse photos of boleros for inspiration.

  3. 3

    Make a pattern. Draw the basic shape of your bolero back and sides, including the back portion of the arms, on a sheet of butcher paper according to your measurements. Add one inch all around each pattern piece to accommodate a 1-inch seam. Draw a scoop for the neck. Draw two front pieces that include the front portion of the arms. Follow a picture of a bolero to create your design.

  4. 4

    Cut out your pattern, pin it together, and try it on for fit. Adjust as necessary.

  5. 5

    Pin the pattern to your shawl and cut out.

  6. 6

    Construct your bolero. Sew 1/2-inch seams on the inside of the fabric to connect the back piece to the two front pieces to cream arm holes. Hem 1/2-inch seams on all unfinished edges and iron open. Pin 1/2-inch seam binding to all outside seams--around the arm holes and outer edge of the bolero, if desired. Fold the hem over the binding and sew closed for a constructed, durable finish for your bolero.

  7. 7

    Sew buttons or ribbon to the front for decoration, or leave unadorned, as traditional boleros usually are.

Tips and warnings

  • Be careful when working with a hot iron, sewing machine or needles, and scissor.

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