5/6 DIY Or DIE: A Broke-Ass Bolero

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When I saw the last weather forecast right before our wedding I freak out! — RAIN, and wind!! Ohh NO! my dress and the first handmade wedding bolero I made (which was short-sleeved) were not ready for that.  So instead of scream and pull my hair out, I ran to the thrift store and got two sweaters for $3.00 and got to work. I bought a brown and an off white sweater to see how they will look, but since I liked the first one so much, I didn’t even bother to make the second one.

I love boleros so much, not just for weddings but for all occasions, specially the knitted ones, it makes for a unique wedding look to add to your dress. But without time or money to knit one for yourself, this can be a pretty good alternative.


So to make this beauty you will need:

– Any sweater
– thread and needle
– pins

First cut the sweater across, right below the sleeves, and also right above the bottom hem.  You will be using the bottom part to make the edge of the bolero.

After that remove the middle piece and cut the front of the sweater open.  You will be using just the back and the sleeves. — and a very important step:  Make sure your dog does not fall a sleep on your working area 🙂

Once that’s ready you have to pin the bottom edge of the sweater around the neck, sleeves and all the way to the back (see detail below). Try it on without sewing the edge first, so you can test if you need to set the edge right on the cut area or a little bit deeper for fit.

After that sew the edges together, you can do that by hand or on a sewing machine with the zig-zag stitch.

After that you are ready to rock your very own up-cycled bolero.

I made mine in long sleeve and wore it late at night at the reception. I wish I could have had more time to wear it, but with a pair of jeans and a top it looks awesome! I did that one night on our honeymoon 🙂

Hope this little project helps someone just like me (that freak out over a change or weather) or just anyone that want a cute, easy and budget friendly bolero!

What did you do to stay warm on your wedding night?

  • this is awesome! i did something similar with a velvet top i had which was ugly and boxy- made a bolero and trimmed it out with magenta velvet ribbon. wore it to a christmas party. good times!f

    • Oh that velvet trim sounds perf! Way to be creative!

  • Cute!!

  • Theresa

    Great idea, and thanks for the post! I think I would have overthought a project like this-you make it look so easy! 🙂

  • This is SO cool. And way clever. I certainly have some cardi's I'd like to upcycle. Thanks for the tip, Joy!

    • My girls are so smart and eco-conscious 🙂 I love it!

  • Kat

    Thanks for the great idea! I've spent a couple of hours now looking for a "ballet wrap" cardigan to wear on the evening of our wedding, but have not yet found one that I liked or that was in the right color. PROBLEM SOLVED! Thanks for the "up-cycle" inspiration! Now, time to hit the thrift shop…

    • Awesome! I would love to see if you end up making one =)

      • Kat

        Got the sweaters from the thrift yesterday, ribbon from JoAnns too–gonna try to map out what's in my head today! I'll show you what I get–win or fail! Thanks Joy!

  • Guest

    The old boleros with the fuller front were much better.

    The open front line should intereact with the shape of your breasts.

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  • oh my god this is saving my life right now. i am struggling to find a perfect bolero for my wedding and i might try this diy!!!!

  • very nice thank you so much

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  • Diane C.

    i discovered this link yesterday and made 3 boleros out of two old sweaters and a t-shirt. thanks!