In this DIY I show you how to make a super easy high-low poncho. It was inspired by one of my new favourite rock bands, Cellar Darling.
Anna Murphy, the lead singer wore this amazing ensemble in their music video Avalanche and I fell inlove with it as soon as I saw it, and knew I just had to make one for myself. I tweeted the band mentioning that I might make it for Halloween this year, and they tweeted me back saying it was a good idea!
It’s such a simple piece that can be styled and worn in many ways, and it’s the perfect transitional piece for the cooler months like Spring and Autumn. What do you think of this look?
DIY HIGH-LOW PONCHO
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- Basic Sewing Skills
- 2 to 2.5 meters/yards of thick moderate stretch fabric with good drape – depends on how wide and long you would like yours to be
- Co-ordinating thread
- Tailor’s Chalk
- Measuring Tape
- Fabric Scissors
- Sewing Machine
- Overlocker/Serger (optional)
Right-click the above diagram and click Save image as… to download the bigger version. Please note that the diagrams are not to exact shape or scale and these measurements should be used as a reference guide only. Do also note that seam and hem allowances have already been included.
1. Decide on a length for the back of your poncho – mine is 39 inches as seen in the above diagram.
2. Decide on a length for the front of your poncho – mine is 24 inches as seen in the above diagram.
3. Fold your fabric in half lengthwise to create the pattern of the front of your poncho.
4. Find a t-shirt with a fit that you like and place it folded in half in the front on top of the folded fabric.
5. Remember to curve the shoulder seams down into the side seams, extend this by a few inches. You can decide how wide you would like your poncho to be, I extended mine about 6 inches wider than my t-shirt.
6. Connect this all the way down to your desired length. The bottom width of my front poncho piece ended up being about 19 inches wide on fold.
7. Cut the front of the poncho on fold, remember to cut the neckline as well – I used my t-shirt round/crew neckline as a guide. Remember to include 0.5 inches seam allowance on the side seams and neckline, and about 1 inch on the hemline.
8. Next, create the pattern for the back of the poncho by using the front piece as a guide. The back piece should be placed on fold if you have enough fabric, however, I didn’t have enough fabric, so I had to use two pieces of fabric and I simply sewed a seam in the back to connect two pieces of fabric together. If you need to do this as well, remember to include 0.5 inches seam allowance for the center back seam line. The bottom width of my back poncho piece ended up being about 19.5 inches wide “on fold” – 0.5 inches more than the front because of the center back seam allowance.
9. When cutting the back piece remember that the shoulder seam and side seam curve should line up. Remember to make the back neckline the same as the back neckline of your crew/round t-shirt. At this point, the only differences between the front and back pieces of the poncho is that the back piece has a center back seam and a higher neckline than the front.
10. Once, you have gotten to this point, you can start to follow along in the DIY video above.
11. Place the back pieces of the poncho fabric right sides facing each other and pin and sew the center back seam.
12. Place the back piece and front piece of the poncho on top of each other, right sides facing, and pin and sew the shoulder and side seams all the way to the bottom. You can try the poncho on at this point to see if you’re happy wiht the fit. If not, make any adjustments. I ended up making the shoulder to side seams less curvy – you will see this in the video.
13. Next, fold the poncho in half so that the center back seam is at the back and the center front is folded in the front – make sure the bottom part of your poncho is lined up at all the seams, the shoulder seams should also be on top of each other, and that the fabric is laying nice and flat.
14. Take your desired length for the front of the poncho and mark this in the center front with a pin or some tailor’s chalk.
15. Mark an “s” curve from the front toward the back of your poncho, ensuring that the start and end of your “s” shape is a 90-degree right angle.
16. Cut along this curve.
17. Flip the poncho to the front and see if you’re happy with the shape. You can try it on at this point and make any adjustments if need be.
18. Hem the neckline. TIP: You could use the extra fabric you cut off from to make a turtle or polo neckline. I didn’t want mine like that, but you could totally play around with that option!
19. Hem the bottom.
20. Finally, give your poncho a good press… and you’re done!
When working with moderate stretch fabric, it is important to use a thread and a needle for stretch/knit fabrics – you want to be able to get into your garment without snapping any of the threads! If you don’t have an overlocker or serger, you can use a zig zag stitch, and since a standard sewing machine doesn’t come with a cutter, you can carefully cut the excess fabric on the seams and edges after sewing the zig zag stitch in place.
I’m a self-taught sewist, so the techniques I show you in my video are things that work for me at the time the video has been recorded. It may not necessarily be the “industry” way, but it’s certainly an easy way, and I’m happy to share my learnings with you as I embark on this creative journey!