This bolero is wonderfully easy and totally versitile. I made mine out of cotton but I am sure you could to it with a stiffer fabric like cordurouy or a soft fabric like velvet. While my ruffle stops are the arms you could make yours longer and have it go all the way around.
I think I am going to make another one in brown. They are just so fun to throw on over things.
To make this tutorial easier to understand I purple fabric with white thread so you can see exactly where I sewed. My one word of advice to make this bolero cute is get perfectly matching thread. That makes it a lot more forgiving. But I think it is so much easier for you to see this way. Once you have cut out your two pattern pieces (from the papers) you are going to make a sleeve piece. I wanted to show you how I make mine and sleeves are super easy. I gave a little cheat sheet to look at:
I must admit on this one I made the edge a little long. Instead of 6 long I would do 5. But that was an easy fix. So draw up your sleeve and cut it out. Now lets cut out the fabric pieces. First the main fabric piece. The piece has a very small hem at the bottom. If you do not feel comfortable making a tiny hem just add an inch to the bottom of the pattern piece and it will make things a lot easier.
Now cut out your second piece. After making it I realized you could just as easily cut two of it instead of one on the fold and it will probably save you some fabric 🙂
If you do cut it on the fold, you will cut where the fold is:
You should now have these 3 pieces
Now cut 2 sleeves
Now for the ruffle. Using the remaining fabric (you may need to sew pieces end to end but don’t worry you won’t be able to tell when you ruffle it up) make a nice long strip. Mine was 4 inches wide. The longer your strip the tighter the ruffles.
Set your strips aside. Take your main pattern piece and your two smaller pieces. With right sides together you are going to line up the smaller end to the shoulder and the bigger end to the bottom. Pin them in place. (Sorry I spelled “shoulder” wrong in the picture oopsie)
When you are done on one side repeat on the other. Then sew them into place. Then you can hem the bottom
Now flip everything right sides out. You can topstitch the shoulders if you like. Now we are going to make our ruffle. Take your long 4 inch wide strip of fabric and:
You can now iron the fabric so that it stays nice and folded in half or you can simply fold it as you sew. Either way we are going to feed it through the machine so that a gathering stitch runs along its raw end. Once you get to the end gather it up until it is the same length as the edge of your bolero.
My bolero ruffle stops at the armpits but you can absolutely simply make a longer ruffle and have it go all the way around. I actually think this would look a little cuter 😉 Once you have the length you want pin the ruffle to the raw edge of the bolero with right sides together.
Now I am not going to lie this is when a serger is really nice to have. BUT if you don’t never fear. Once you have sewn around and attached the ruffle, put your sewing machine on a zig zag stitch, now change the setting so that the stitch’s are shorter. Sew all the way around again and this will help contain the fray’s. Once you are done flip everything right side out and topstitch what you just sewed.
Now we are going to make our sleeves. Hem up the bottom of your sleeve
Once hemmed fold the sleeve in half right sides together and sew down the ends trimming the excess
Now flip the entire thing right side out. Lining up the seams pin the sleeve to the bolero all the way around.
Now sew around the edge. You can also zig zag stitch again if you like. Repeat with the other sleeve.
Flip everything right side out and you are done!! Super easy right?
Enjoy!! Thank you for your support on Project Run and Play I really appreciate it. And your sweet comments, especially the ones that crack me up 🙂