Sew Guide » {Pretty} Easy Bolero – FREE DIY sewing pattern & tutorial

{Pretty} Easy Bolero – FREE DIY sewing pattern & tutorial

A bolero or shrug is a must have item in your wardrobe. It serves as a cover up with your favourite camisole top, prevents a chill on a winter night outing, transforms an otherwise boring outfit when embellished with some pretty embroidery stitches or mirror work. This high neck bolero pattern will serve all these purposes and more.If sewn in a lace or a sheer fabric it also fits the bill as a perfect wedding shrug.

bolero shrug pattern

This bolero ends at the narrowest part of the body which is the waist and hence flatters you.

Sewing up this one, which fits you to a T, is very easy. Measure your bust round, waist round and shoulder to shoulder. Get your fabric out , start marking and sewing ; in half an hour you can have a bolero ready. You can add a sleeve if you want to ( Draft the pattern for the sleeves following this tutorial). bolero pattern

How to draft a Bolero pattern

Measure the distance from shoulder to the waist.Add 2 1/4 inches to it for the high neck and hem. Mark rest of the measurements as given below. Refer the picture for details.

A-B = Height + 2 1/4 “

A-G = 1 1/4″

A-L = 3.5″

G-C = According to bust round

  • Less than 32″ – 6.5″
  • 32″ – 7 inch
  • 34 ” & 36″ 7.5″
  • 38″ & above 8″

C-E = 1/4 of bust round + 2″
B-F = 1/4 of wast round+ 1.5″
G-H = 1/2 of shoulder to shoulder + 1/4 inch
Come down from H straight down to I ; Mark diagonally 1″ to J
Mark the curve for back armhole

bolero pattern

To make the front pattern, Copy the back pattern- Place the back pattern on another paper, trace around it; (basically make a copy) ; Just a few cuts as per the picture below and the front pattern is also ready. The back pattern is one piece ; The front pattern has two pieces. I made a self lining for the front pieces; so cut 4 pieces ( Left panel 2 pieces & right panel 2 pieces).

bolero pattern

Mark M 3/4″ from I

Diagonally mark 3/4 inch from M to N; Join H-N-E as front armhole

Join L – F in a curve for the front label
Cut off the rest of the pattern outside H-L-M -E-H

When you keep the front pattern on a folded fabric and cut it,  you get two pieces for the left and right front pieces.

How to sew the bolero pattern

Step 1

Draft the pattern. First make the back pattern on a paper. Then cut the pieces. 


Cut facing piece for the neck and bottom edge of the back piece as well. A 1.5″ fabric strip will suffice.

Step 2

Keep the front piece ad lining piece right sides together and Sew up the front edge and armhole edge. Donot sew the side edges. Turn the piece right side out through the side edge.Do this for the other side as well.

sewing pattern bolero bolero pattern

Step 3

 Finish the top edge and armhole of the back piece – Stitch the facing to the neck edge of the back piece. Turn under and top stitch; Turn under and stitch a narrow hem for the armhole edge of the back piece. 

Join the shoulders of the 2 front pieces to the back piece. Trim the seam allowance and finish the edges with a zig zag stitch. You may have to tack this seam allowance down and stitch with a hand needle and thread so that it doesnot poke outside. 

Step 4

Stitch a facing strip to the bottom edge of the back piece and stitch. Ensure that the side edges will be aligned correctly at the bottom before sewing the facing. 

Step 5

Sew the side edges together and the bottom . 

bolero pattern

hand made buttonhole