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Free crochet pattern: Quick & easy shrug with ribbed cuffs

Anyone with advanced beginner crochet skills can whip up this quick and easy cuffed shrug in any size you like.

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Anyone with advanced beginner crochet skills can whip up this quick and easy cuffed shrug in any size you like.

A shrug is a very simple cardigan that covers just the arms, shoulders and back. It’s perfect for slipping on over a sleeveless top or dress when you need just a little extra warmth. Besides being useful in the winter, a pretty shrug can help you transition your summer wardrobe into the fall, and is even handy to have around in the summer in case of cool evenings or too much air conditioning.

The traditional way to make a shrug is to crochet a rectangle, fold it lengthwise, and sew up the sleeves, leaving an opening in the middle. My pattern adds features that take it up a notch, including ribbed cuffs.

You can use any pattern stitch you like for the arms and body – as long as it’s half double crochet, or the same height. (I’ll explain why below.) You can make the sleeves long or three-quarters. And I’ll walk you through how to take measurements so you can make a shrug in any size you like.  This is a fully-customizable pattern!

Here is a brief video showing the pattern basics. Following below is the written pattern for the shrug pictured, with instructions on how to make your own customizations.

Pattern: Shrug with ribbed cuffs

Materials you’ll need:

  • 4 or 5 skeins of Lion Brand Landscapes yarn to make the shrug pictured, depending on intended size, or a medium weight (#4) yarn of your choice
    (4 skeins of Lion Brand landscapes, or about 500 yards of another worsted weight yarn, will make a shrug up to women’s size L; for plus sizes, you’ll need more)
  • Size K crochet hook (or the size that works for your yarn)
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Yarn needle

Stitches used

  • Chain stitch (ch)
  • Slip stitch (sl st)
  • Single crochet (sc)
  • Half double crochet (hdc)
  • Back loop only crochet (blo)

Step 1: Crochet a rectangle

Free crochet pattern: Quick & easy shrug with ribbed cuffs

The length of your rectangle will be the combined length of both sleeves plus the measurement across the back. (If possible, have the intended wearer hold their arms outstretched and measure from where you want one sleeve end to the other.)

To calculate the width of your rectangle, measure around the largest part of the upper arm. For a fitted shrug, add 1 inch; for a looser-fitting shrug, add more.

The shrug pictured in this post and video is a fitted shrug with three-quarter sleeves in women’s size Large. My rectangle was 46″ long and 13 ” wide.

Chain the number of stitches you need to reach your rectangle length, taking into account the following:

  • The cuffs require 10 stitches each, plus you’ll need a turning chain, for a total of 21 chains to start. (The turning chain never counts as a stitch; this keeps the cuff edges smooth and without gaps.)
  • The remaining number of chains must accommodate your pattern. For example, the shrug pictured here used a simple pattern of alternating hdc and ch-1 spaces which required only an odd number of stitches. My starting chain was 138 stitches (21 + 117). A V-stitch, which could also work well for a shrug, would require stitches in a multiple of three. A different pattern might require a different multiple. It might be useful to you to crochet a small swatch consisting of one cuff and a small amount of pattern stitch, in order to accurately calculate the stitches needed.
  • The pattern stitch must be half double crochet, or a stitch of the same height such as front or back post double crochet. The reason for this is simply that a taller pattern stitch would be too large in proportion to the cuffs, which are always sc.

Row 1: sc in second ch and 9 following chains (first cuff); work your pattern stitch until only 10 chains remain; sc in remaining 10 chains.

Tip: Lay yarn end along chain and crochet Row 1 over it for an effortless weave-in.

Row 2: Ch 1 and turn; sc in back loop only (blo) of 10 sc; work your pattern stitch until you reach the last 10 sc; sc in blo of 10 sc.

Repeat Row 2 until rectangle reaches desired width. Keep in mind that your cuffs will be proportionately narrower. (To make a rectangle 13″ wide, I worked 28 rows; my cuffs were 9″ wide.)

Note: Remember that the turning chain never counts as a stitch.

Cut a tail and fasten off.

Tip: If you leave a long tail, at least the same length as the rectangle, you can use it to stitch up one of the sleeves.

Step 2: Stitch together sides forming sleeves and opening

Fold rectangle in half lengthwise with right sides together, taking care to align the cuffs and your pattern stitches on both sides.

Free crochet pattern: Quick & easy shrug with ribbed cuffs

I use this formula to estimate it the size of the opening:

(bra band size / 2) + 2 inches

For the shrug pictured, I used a bra band size of 38 and so made an opening of 21 inches ( 38 / 2 = 19, 19 + 2 = 21) which was perfect for a fitted shrug. If possible, pin or clip the shrug before stitching and have the intended wearer try it on to make sure the opening works. If this isn’t an option, err on the side of making the opening a little larger.

Free crochet pattern: Quick & easy shrug with ribbed cuffs

Using your yarn needle, sew together each sleeve. I find that a simple slip stitch (pictured below), works well for a flexible seam. If you use a heavier pattern stitch, single crochet may work for the seams.

Free crochet pattern: Quick & easy shrug with ribbed cuffs

Tip: If you left a long tail in Step 1, here is where you use it to sew one of your two seams.

On both seams, cut 6” ends and fasten off.

Step 3: Crochet around opening

These extra “sides” will give your shrug a more finished look; the top portion can be folded back as a collar.

Free crochet pattern: Quick & easy shrug with ribbed cuffs

Round 1: Join yarn with sl st near one of the sleeve seams made in Step 2; ch 2, and then continue pattern stitch, working in the round around the entire opening; sl st in top of ch 2.

Tip: Crochet Round 1 over yarn ends left from sleeve seams for effortless weave-ins.

Round 2: Ch 2 and turn; work pattern stitch in the round around the entire opening; sl st in top of ch 2.

Continue Round 2 a few times until you’ve worked about 3″. Depending on pattern stitch, you may want to consider ending with a round or two of sc. (For the shrug pictured, I worked 7 rounds of pattern stitch and 2 rounds of sc.)

Note: Be careful of working more than 3″ around the opening, as this may make the opening too tight. Again, you may want to have the intended wearer try it on before committing yourself.

Cut 6” end and fasten off.

Weave in ends.

If you use this pattern…

I would love to see any cardigans made from this pattern! You can email photos to spoonsandhooks@gmail.com. (Note: I’ll assume that sending me photos gives me permission to share them on the Spoons & Hooks site and social media – crediting you, of course – unless you specifically instruct me otherwise.)

Do you have any questions about this pattern? If so, ask them in the comments section, and I’ll do my best to respond promptly.

You are free to gift, donate or sell for profit any items you make from this pattern. I ask only that if you sell items made from any of my patterns, as a courtesy you reference spoonsandhooks.com as the pattern’s source.

Free crochet pattern: Quick & easy shrug with ribbed cuffs

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