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Girl’s Cold Shoulder Top Tutorial + Holiday Photos

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Cold Shoulder Top Tutorial: Learn how to sew a COLD SHOULDER top! Use my free t-shirt pattern or your own favorite knit top pattern!

Holidays are just around the corner, and you know what that means…  Time for new holiday family photos!  In today’s post, I’m showing off all our Handmade Holiday goodness and even have an adorable Girl’s Cold Shoulder Top tutorial to share!

How to sew a cold shoulder top

I love to sew, and when it comes to our Holiday photos, I always like to include a couple of handmade items in our coordinated outfits.  (I just love looking back at our photos and being able to say, I made that!  Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels that way, lol.)

So this year, our theme was “DIY Outdoor Hot Cocoa Bar.”  And let me tell you, we had a lot of fun with this one!  (OK, maybe 90% fun… I’ll admit there may have been a moment or two of “tense-ness” between my two munchkins when one wouldn’t quit making faces and also was skimping on the number of marshmallows he was serving up in the hot chocolate, lol.

how to sew a cold shoulder top

This little setup was actually very easy to put together.  Hubby zip-tied a couple of long 1 by 2’s to the legs of my entry table, and I added a few holiday/ hot cocoa-themed knick-knacks to dress the table up and help set the theme.  (Including this awesome letter board I specially ordered for someone to hold that we completely forgot about.)  I have an additional post coming up in the next few days with more details on how to set up your own Outdoor Hot Cocoa Bar.

*** Update*** 

Get all the details on how to make your own outdoor Hot Cocoa Bar here.

We have a little bit of green space just across the street from our mailboxes, so I dragged out my trusty tripod and remote, and we set everything up over there.  (It was a pretty quiet evening, not too many people around, and I only have a couple of shots with a guy walking his dog in the background, lol.)

cold shoulder top tutorial

It’s been a few years since our last themed holiday photo shoot.  When I first decided we needed new photos, I wasn’t sure about the direction I wanted to go in, what everyone would wear, or even what I wanted to make. (If anything.)

I made a trip to Joann’s and found this gorgeous stretchy Velvet Pin Dot Fabric in red that my missy fell in love with, plus a fabulous black, white, and gray Brushed Cotton Fabric for me.

Cold Shoulder Top sewing tutorial

I also picked up a few holiday knits for pajamas and some solid black Ponte knit fabric for leggings for my little missy and me.  (OK, I’ll also admit to taking a detour through the sewing machine area, and a new embroidery machine may or may not have come home with me as well. )

I had actually planned on making myself a pair of leggings with the black Ponte, too (it’s nice and thick), but I thought our outfits were starting to get a bit too matchy-matchy with black leggings and black boots, so I skipped the leggings for me and just wore my favorite jeans.

Cold Shoulder top tutorialFree Cold shoulder top pattern

I used my free basic legging pattern for her leggings and added a yoga waistband for comfort.  For my blanket poncho, I used my Kimono tutorial with a few tweaks.  I’ve got lots of details to share on these two projects, so stay tuned for more info on them in upcoming posts.  (Tutorial for her headband and scarf.)

Can I just say how much I’m loving this cold-shouldered top I made for my lil missy!!!

I used my free basic t-shirt pattern as the base for the top, (this pattern is currently available in sizes 3 to 12, but I’ve now drafted a size 14 and will update the pattern soon to include the larger size.)  But you can use just about any t-shirt pattern in this cold shoulder top tutorial.

Free Cold Shoulder top pattern

I definitely plan to add the cold shoulder top as an actual pattern down the road, but in the meantime, I’ve got the instructions here on how you can hack your t-shirt pattern and make your own cold shoulder top!

How to Sew a Cold Shoulder Top

Materials needed:

Step One: Print and assemble pattern.

Print your pattern cut out the size needed and tape together.

Step 2: Changes to make to the pattern to add a cold shoulder cutout.

Sleeve pattern:

Size 8 and up: measure over 2.5 inches around the top of the sleeve curve and mark that spot.

Measure down from the center fold of the sleeve 1.5 inches and mark the spot.

Draw a curved shape as shown, taking care to flatten out the curve as it approaches the fold of the pattern (the sleeve is cut on the fold and it needs to be flat at the center, so when you unfold the sleeve it makes a gentle curve.

Size 6 to 7:  Measure over 2 inches and down 1.375

Size 5 and down: Measure over 1.75 and down 1.25 inches

Cut along the line you drew.  This will be your new cold shoulder sleeve pattern.

Bodice Pattern:

I chose to do a folded neck hem instead of a ribbed banded collar for a slightly dressier look.  If you choose to do this as well, be sure to add about 3/8 of an inch to the neckline when cutting the pattern pieces out.

Step 3: Cut out needed fabric pieces.

Step four: Assemble the sleeves.

Fold the top of the sleeve over 3/8 inch, pin, and hem.  (This is where that wash away wonder hem tape would come in handy!)  Repeat on the other sleeve.

Hem bottom of both sleeves.

Line the side edges of the sleeves together and sew.  Repeat on the second sleeve.

Step 5: Assemble bodice.

Fold front and back neckline over 3/8 inch and hem.

Line up front and back bodice pieces, right sides together and sew along the shoulder seams and side seams.

Right sides together, line up the side seam of the sleeve with the side seam of the bodice and pin in place and sew together.

The next step is tricky, and I missed getting a good photo of this step, but…  Fold the seam allowance at the top of the sleeve over and pin in place.  (Pressing with an iron and spray starch if your fabric will hold a press is a great way to help see what you are doing, or you can use the wonder tape here too.)  Topstitch along the shoulder edge.

You can see the topstitching in great detail on our practice top.:

Hem the bottom and you are done!  (I did a very gently high/low hem.)

How amazing is this little top?  I know your little one will love it!

cold shoulder top tutorial

Don’t forget, if you end up making one of these tops, be sure to come back and share your photos on my facebook page or tag me on Instagram, using  #scatteredmompatterns.

Now, it’s your turn, are you making special holiday outfits for anyone this year?  Let us know what you are planning in the comment section below!

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of JOANN. The opinions and text are all mine.



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  1. an ig reader says:

    Thank you so much for the detailed instruction! Gonna try it very soon!
    Beautiful family photos! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  2. Christmas Greetings says:

    Everything is just so pretty!

  3. Very cute setup for family photos! All of you look great!

  4. Super Mom - No Cape! says:

    I love that fabric that you made the top with! Thanks so much for a great tutorial!