The Bolero is a popular item for those of us in Alabama, as spring and fall temperatures (and in some years, mid-winter) can swing from 50 degrees to 80 degrees in the course of one day. It is an easy piece to toss into your bag on the way out the door and an effortless way to accessorize your look in any weather.
We shared the pattern for this garment in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, with four variations of how it might be constructed: sleeveless, with cap sleeves, short sleeves, and long, fluted sleeves. It can be completed quickly, regardless of your chosen style, and requires only 1 yard of fabric or so. Imagine our surprise, and disappointment, when some readers reported that their Boleros weren’t coming together as expected, that the pattern was a little bit off. Errata déjà vu.
We wrote a few months ago about another mis-pattern in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, and the tremendous challenge of writing a book (or more perhaps precisely, editing a book). The Bolero pattern is only a tad off and the fix is easy. Still, we apologize for any inconvenience and hope the updated pattern will inspire you to make your own Bolero (and that our mistakes in the future are non-existent).
For size Extra-Small, the back of the garment is ½” too long.
For size Small, the back of the garment is ½” too long.
For size Medium, the back of the garment is 3/8” too long.
The patterns for sizes Large and Extra-Large are correct.
Subtract the allotted amount from the established pattern when cutting out the garment pieces, and construct as directed in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. Keep it simple and create a basic Bolero, or embellish with your favorite embroidery stitch. And let us know how it turns out.
Good morning,,,,,in the photo above, I notice a seam down the middle back of the bolero. None of mine have that seam…Am I missing something?? By the way….I just wore my black bolero to my yoga class as an extra layer. So many compliments and of course, so comfortable.
Thanks for the update! I also noticed the middle seam when looking at the book, but I just assumed I was not meant to place on the fold. Perhaps I misunderstood.
I am making one or just got beading on sleeve done but have not put together. Ope I can figure out to fix it. Linda gerig
And were are these amounts to be reduce from? When a pattern is graded half of the length grade is in the armhole…. is this a simple matter of the patterns being too long at the hem or is it in the armhole?
I made the bolero a while ago (L or XL, I can’t remember) but I placed the back piece on the fold as well. A seam would only make the back 1/2″ narrower and in jersey that is almost “within tolerance” as they say in the industry. I’m not losing any sleep over it but I too would love to know how it is meant to be cut. I have found the lack of notches/markings on the book patterns coupled with the lack of a cutting diagram to be a little confusing at times.
It is a matter of the pattern being too long at the hem. The consequent printings of this book will have corrected and updated patterns.
Thanks for your patience,
Natalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin
Just to be clear, are you referring to the length from neck to bottom edge, or the width from armhole to armhole? I assumed you meant to trim the bottom edge, but reading the comments I’m now unsure.
Could someone please tell me, on the long skirt from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, have you managed to cut it out from 1.5 yards? I couldn’t, but I’m using the largest size on the sheet. Not sure if that would make that much of a difference though. I bought 1.5 yards for a single layer skirt, and there was no way I could get all the pieces cut out – unless I ran them in the wrong direction and had my stretch running from waste to toes instead of from side to side. I feel pretty confident that the designer didn’t intend for it to stretch and grow longer. 😉 Thank you for any help.
Correct. Trim the bottom edge to correct the Bolero.
The width of your fabric will alter the yardage you will need. Our fabric is 60″ wide and you can get a single layer XL Long Skirt from 1 1/2 yard. Hope that this helps.
Natalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin
Could you put a diagram in journal a rough one of where to make changes?
I just finished my first bolero, but I made a few changes. I made the large size and had the side seams finish at 6 inches which lengthened the back and I re curved the front. I also had the sleeves end just above the elbow. I put embellishing around the front, back top and bottom and also around the bottom of the sleeves using the small lace stripe stencil …black on black with gray thread on the stencils and black for bindings……
I just LOVE it! It pairs nicely with my black applique corset and the black tank dress I made. I did “Cheat” on that…I used the AC pattern and cut it from a damask design black stretch denim from Marcy Tilton’s website. I sewed all long seams on the machine but used the cotton jersey binding for hem, armholes and neck. It is very comfy but also holds me in! Hooray!
I now plan on making a plain long sleeved version of the bolero that I can wear more casually. I like the proportions of the alterations I made for my body, so will use that ‘formula’ again.
This is my new obsession!
For Debbie!!! Will you post a picture of your redo bolero? Sounds fabulous!
How do I do that?
I just tried dragging photos to this comment area…didn’t work….
I can’t help but wonder if I’ve been doing something wrong because I’ve made six boleros (size L, both short and long sleeves), and they have suited my purposes beautifully, even though I’ve had to make some adjustments to the t-shirt and skirt patterns (due to my size). I must say, I never noticed the seam on the back of the pictured bolero. I’ve been cutting mine on the fold. Nevertheless, best wishes to all. I love this pattern and plan to make some more.
So sorry for the delay in responding! We are undergoing some changes internally (and growing substantially at the same time – more on that soon!)…
You do see a seam up the back of our bolero and that is not reflected in the pattern in the book. The Bolero pattern in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design does not have a seam in the back and is cut on the fold; however, the Bolero in the second photo of the blog post does. This is because we simply made a design decision to alter the original pattern to fit this model, creating a inside felled seam down the center back of the Bolero. You can do this by adding a half inch to each side to compensate for your seam and cutting along the center fold but it is not necessary at all. Apologies for any confusion and I hope that you are all enjoying the work.
We promise to be more diligent in the upcoming books and keep small distractions like this one out of the printed versions! And yes, you read that right: UPCOMING BOOKS. (Plural.)
Looking forward to the new books!!
Oh HURRAH! More books! I am currently trying to slowly but surely work my way through every pattern that I love in the first three books—which is to say one of everything in a basic and then comes the embellished versions. I’m happy to think that I’ve got enough hand sewing to keep me in stitches for a long while to come, especially with new books! I second and third and fourth everyone else’s statements about the clothes themselves. My wardrobe makes me happy now and the fact that I sewed it by hand is even better. And that’s not even talking about the lovely pieces for home.
Thank you for doing the good work you do. Your ethos and sharing makes the world a brighter place.
Thanks for the correction! While it is taking me forever to make a top, skirt and bolero (the first two in Anna’s Garden reverse applique, and the last plain), I am loving it. It’s like you designed clothes just for me, an “older” woman who doesn’t want to look either dowdy/boring or like I’m trying to be younger than I am. I cut the pieces out all at once, and the ensemble will be done all at once too. I will wear the outfit at a major presentation of my scholarship soon. Again, thanks so much for sharing your secrets because it’s transformed my vision of what my closet will hold in the next years! I look forward to your new books and wish you many more successes.
I agree totally with Vilna…..I am 65 and a bit thick around the middle and these designs are comfortable, feminine and flattering….I first saw you and the clothes in Berkeley at the Red Bird boutique about 3 years ago. My daughter was getting married and I looked at the postcard and thought it would be a wonderful look for her…..Alas….too spendy…..but my friend and I LOVED the clothes so I bought your first book. I have kept it until this summer when I had foot surgery sand started watching all of your classes on Creative Bug! My daughter, Hilary, is a printmaking artist on that site so I am a subscriber. I watched soooooo many classes! But your teaching and methods inspired me to try your projects. Once I could walk and get out, I made two corsets from Goodwill t-shirts and have raided their t-shirt department many times since. When I put the first corset on I exclaimed! It is so soft and comfortable! I, too am changing the way I think about my clothes…..and I have loved fashion since I was a child and then was able to work at I.Magnin in SF in my 20″s. I love clothes. But yours are just so classic. I am so grateful to you for your generosity in sharing your work with so many of us. Thank you.
AND…..thank you for your wonderful blog posts…homey and inspiring! I also have migraines and am going to try a version….gradually….of your cleanse. ! I wish I had done it this summer when I was recuperating in bed!
I certainly have not run out of things to make and variations to try with the 3 books, but I can’t wait to see the next one(s)! I do have some knitting and quilts to finish if I ever can put down my hand sewing!
Warm wishes and a big hug,
Debbie Williams ( dressed today in an AC t-shirt and 3 knotted necklaces!)
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh Natalie…..you have made my day. To know that more books are on the horizon……..I agree with Vilna and Debbie….this clothing movement has transformed my wardrobe. This summer alone, I made about 12 pieces. My fingers are calloused, I have thread everywhere, I have scraps coming out of my ears, and I am blissfully happy in the creative realm. These clothes fit my 50 year old body with grace. I am even teaching a mini workshop to some friends from work who have admired my pieces. I am really into the basic pieces but am getting ready to do a big embellished piece…..still thinking about that … Thank you also for your personal touch in answering comments…….. you keep the movement you are creating in a real capacity and we need more of that in our lives…. thank you for being you!
I would like to order your bolero pattern. Will the pattern come as corrected? I see that in “Alabama Studio Sewing” it was printed incorrectly.
Thank you for your comment, Claire. The Bolero pattern in the book has been corrected and reprinted since the time of this Journal post.