Monday, December 3, 2012

Tutorial: Underneath Sleeve Shrug, Add Sleeves to Your Summer Clothes

Necessity is definitely the mother of invention! This tutorial is based on my need to convert some of my summer pieces into fall/winter wear. It's a shrug you wear inside your clothes! More and more, I am trying not to have this dichotomy between summer and fall and have my wardrobe reflect a smooth transition rather than a break. Too philosophical?

Anyway, here's the pattern I made from a New York Times paper page. I buy the paper all the time, read it, and then  save it to cut it up for patterns. Am I the only one who does this? 

Well, here it is, it's a very simple pattern:

Cut and paste this pattern and enlarge based on your measurements
My shoulder circumference is 15 inches so with stretchy material, 14 1/2 is good, with a little seam allowance. My arm length is 21 inches but I like my sleeves long and semi ruched at the end so 27 inches worked for me. Now use your measurements to make the pattern.  

Place on fold of fabric. Use pins or weights to hold down pattern in place. These are ankle weights that I should be exercising with, lol.

This is what it looks like after cutting.

Open it up and this is what you'll have
Unite top and botom points on each side


Now we're going to make a binding for the opening

Cut a 36 in. long and 2 1/2 in. wide strip. Add the two ends of the strip and stitch

Now fold width-wise uniting seam allowance

This is how it will look from the outside

Iron, imprinting the fold on fabric

Pin to opening of shrug, raw edge to raw edge. I always pin top, bottom, left, and right and then ease and stretch the binding to fit the opening.

I like to serge all the seams but if you do not have a serger, you can zig zag stitch or just do a regular double stitch for durability.
Now I will show you how I use my "underneath clothes" sleeve shrug.

This is a summer top I made a while ago that I absolutely love and would love to wear in the winter showing off the color block, without covering it with a sweater.

Here's my little underneath sleeve shrug

Voila! I have a nice seudo winter top
My underneath sleeve shrug is also great for winterizing strapless items

This is what it looks like without anything over it. Here, it is paired with a sleeveless/strapless jumpsuit. It's a little too bare for me but you can wear it like this too.

From the back

With a knitted vest. You have three layers going on; jumpsuit, sleeve shrug, and the vest

I like it this way the best! I love layers.

So grab your stretchy fabric and scissors. This is a super easy project that really goes a long way in "stretching" your wardrobe. If you have questions, please leave a comment or e-mail me.  


  1. I'd love to make some patterned sleeves to wear under my t-shirts in the winter. I have to debate if it's worth even trying with an ultra-stretch fabric and my machine however :P I'll take a stab once it starts cooling off. Maybe I can use some old leggings or something...

  2. Ooh; I love the idea of refashioning leggings for this!

  3. 15" shoulder circumference sounds rather small. Circumference implies a measure from arm to arm, across back, and returning starting point at arm. Is your 15" measure simply the distance from one arm across upper chest to the other arm?
    Cross your fingers ;) I'm going to try this.

    1. Claverie, maybe the word "shoulder" through you off and I see that my wording might be confusing, I'll have to change that. I actually mean arm circumference, since the 15 inches will be folded to create a tube where your arm will go through. I would love to se how yours turns out. Thank you for the clarification!