Shrug Tutorial

About a week or so ago I found this really cute t-shirt reconstruction through one of my favourite crafty blogs, One Pretty Thing.  The tutorial is by EVEnl on Cut Out + Keep (another great crafty site).

My husband gave me an old sweater of his recently because it shrunk and didn’t fit any more but was still in great shape.  I wanted to do something with it for me so I thought perhaps this shrug idea would be fun to try.  I did have to deviate a little from the original instructions because though this sweater had shrunk, it wasn’t exactly my size.

To start with I cut the sleeves off.  Then I put the shirt on inside out and marked on the one side with pins the amount I wanted to take out of the width so that the sweater was more fitted.  I also needed to shorted the shoulders a bit as they hung a good 3 inches off my shoulder.



Next I cut up the center of the front and cut off the neck band.  This left a rather sharp corner at the neck so I decided to trim it off into a smoother curve so sewing in the casing would be easier.



Next I turned back about 1 inch along this new cut edge and stitched to create a casing.  Then I reattached the sleeves.  I had thought I might have to gather the sleeve head into the new armhole but it actually fit nicely so I didn’t have to make any major adjustments.

I also decided to not finish the seams.  Since the sweater is over half wool and had been pretty well shrunk (about 3 sizes) I’m not worried about any raveling of the raw edges.

The last step is to thread a ribbon or other lacing through the casing, put on the shrug and tie it up.  Since this is slightly thicker than a t-shirt I did have to adjust the gathering once I had it tied and I will be picking up a proper piece of ribbon tonight at work since all I could find in my notion box that was long enough was a rather thin piece of soutache braid.


Some thoughts on this project:

This is best for light weight fabrics like t-shirts.  The sweater I used was a fine merino wool/acrylic blend and probably verging on being too thick but I think it worked out pretty good. Any thicker and it would be too hard to tie the ribbon and it would be really bulky.

The sleeves do not have to be removed if you are using a top that already fits.  I removed the sleeves to make adjusting the size of the sweater easier but if you are using a t-shirt or other light weight top that fits ok, you can skip that step completely.

You don’t need a machine for this, it’s just faster (and I’m an impatient person) 😀  You can just as easily stitch this up by hand using a running stitch. check this awesome video from Threadbanger to see a running stitch in action (and maybe make something else cool from an old T)

As always, if this seems beyond your skillset but you have a t-shirt you want to do this to you can always email me to either do it for you or teach you how to do it yourself.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Punkn on April 5, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I just wanted to note a couple of other things to consider when making this shrug. You will need approx 1 1/2 to 2 meters or yards of ribbon/string for the tie. It needs to be at least 4 inches longer than the total measurement of the front casing so that you don’t lose your tie when you take off your shrug. I found this out after wearing mine at work yesterday only to lose the one tie end back up in the casing when I took it off at the end of the day. I also found that the ribbon can be a bit uncomfortable and tight around the neck area as there is no give to it so in order to fix this, and to lengthen my tie at the same time, I cut my ribbon in half and stitched each end to a piece of elastic that is approximately 1/2 meter or yard. (so it should be one long piece that is ribbon, elastic, ribbon when finished) Then re-threaded it into my shrug and now it’s nice and comfy around the neck and I won’t lose the ties when I untie my shrug to take it off.

  2. Posted by megan on April 16, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    OMG!! i love it. is it a creation all your own? because i would absolutely buy it!! definately. infact im going to look for some retro sweaters (and hire you to make it if you willing)

  3. Posted by Punkn on April 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    it was inspired by the person I linked to at the top of the post but she used a t-shirt and I used a sweater. I love it though and wish I had thought of it on my own. 🙂

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