DIY Shrug for Dancers (No Special Pattern Required!)

DIY Shrug for Dancers


I stumbled upon this lovely picture of a ballet dancer on Pinterest. (You can check out the picture from here 🙂 )


I love everything about the picture, her posture and her relaxed expression while she’s doing this crazy split. I love her lacy tutu, and, this shrug!


Shrugs are super useful when you are warming up to dance or stretch, and that’s probably why shrugs are one of the most requested tutorials here on Sparkly Belly 🙂


So today I’m really excited to share with you how to make a basic DIY shrug, one that’s very similar to the ballerina’s in the picture. So let’s get started!



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To make this DIY shrug, you need:  

Stretch fabric – How you want to use the shrug determines what kind of fabric to get. If you are making a shrug to use as part of practice wear, pick soft knit fabric. If you are making a shrug to wear as part of a belly dance costume, pick something like power mesh or dance wear spandex. I’m going to use this stretch knit fabric. 1m of it is plenty. I love floral prints! 🙂

Matching colour thread

Long sleeve t-shirt – we’ll clone the pattern of a shirt you already have. Pick one that is relatively tight fitting.    



How to Make DIY Shrug


First, flip your shirt inside out, so you can see the seams clearly.  


Fold your fabric right sides together and make sure the direction of the stretch is perpendicular to the fold.  


Direction of Stretch    

Place one of the sleeves against the fold, and trace it all the way around. Trace the curved part as best you can.  


Use shirt as pattern    

For both ends, add 1cm or 1/2in seam allowance. And cut along the outer lines.  


DIY Shrug sleeve pattern  

Repeat this step to make another sleeve.  


Next, fold your fabric again the same way, with the stretch perpendicular to the fold. Fold your shirt lengthwise, and place it on top of the fabric in a way that the fold of the shirt is about 2cm or just under 1in outside of the fold of the fabric.  


Now fold the sleeves out of the way, and trace the curved section.  


Trace the back panel  

Remove the shirt, and draw the rest of the back section freehand. I basically used the width of the sleeves as my guideline, and made it thinner towards the fold. The fold will be the centre of the back panel.  


Once you are happy with the shape, add 1cm or 1/2in seam allowance at top and bottom, and cut along the outer lines.  


DIY Shrug Back Panel Pattern


Now we’ll sew the pieces together. Take one of the sleeves, fold it in half lengthwise, and mark the centre of the curved section. I just made a little notch here.  


Make a notch on sleeve  

Then place the back panel and the sleeve right sides together. Align the centre notch and bottom of the sleeve as best you can to the edge of the back panel. And do a zigzag stitch right along the edge with a 1cm or 1/2in seam allowance.  


How to sew on sleeves  

Do the same for the other sleeve.   Now clip the seam allowance at the rest of the curved sections and fold it at 1cm or 1/2in from the edge. Fold the ends of the sleeves as well and do this on both sides. And do a zigzag stitch.  


Clip seam allowance on sleeves  

Here, I realized I forgot to do the same thing for the top and bottom of the back panel. It’s no biggie, I just did this at this point. But it is easier if you sew the edges before you sew on the sleeves to the back panel.  


DIY Ballet Shrug back panel  

Finally, fold the sleeves right sides together, and sew along the edge with a 1cm or 1/2in seam allowance.  


Sew sleeves of shrug  

That’s it! This one is very basic, so you can pair it with any of your practice outfit or even daily outfit. You can even wear it inside a t-shirt.  


Ballet Shrug  

For belly dance costuming, you can make one with mesh or lace, and add rhinestones if you like. For this one, I used powermesh, the same fabric as one I used for my body stocking DIY. It’s pretty easy, so it’s a good piece to make for the whole dance troupe.  


Belly Dance Shrug DIY  

Hope you liked this DIY shrug, and if so, please share it with your dancer friends.  


And be sure to share your creations on SparklyBelly’s Facebook page and sign up for the newsletter from the below link to get more dance DIY updates.  


Click here to sign up and get DIY dance costume updates! 🙂


Thanks for reading, and keep sparkling!


P.S. Here’s a good summary picture for you to pin! 🙂


DIY Shrug for Dancers


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  8 comments for “DIY Shrug for Dancers (No Special Pattern Required!)

  1. JoniLMT
    December 24, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Excellent tutorial! Thanks.

    • Mao
      December 25, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      You’re welcome 🙂 Thanks for your kind words!

  2. maryam
    December 26, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    please can i see d back of the shrug, am somehow confused

    • Mao
      December 28, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      Let me see if I have any photo of the back of the shrug… but in the meantime, you can see the back of the shrug around 3:58 in the video above 🙂

  3. April 10, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    love this! I’ve developed an awful habit of breaking into hives when rehearsing for shows in a new style I’m learning. I’ve cannibalized a couple of long sleeved tees to cover my bumpy/hivey arms – now I can use one of them as a pattern to make pretty disguises! thank you

    • Mao
      April 11, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Oh so glad to hear that the shrug can help, thank you! I sometimes get hives when I sweat too, so I sympathize with you. Good luck making shrugs 🙂

  4. Mariana
    June 12, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks Mao! Quick question, if you wanted to make one with non stretch fabric as say an addition to a costume, how much more fabric or seam allowance should be made?

    • Mao
      June 16, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      Good question, Mariana! I’ve never made this with non stretch fabric, because it would be challenging to make the shrug fitting and still comfortable for dancing. For dance costumes, I highly recommend stretch fabric for this project 🙂 If you’re making a shrug for a different purpose, you may be able to use a blouse as a pattern.

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