How to Make Graduation Stoles

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A shiny tassel, a school ring, the cap and gown–these symbols of accomplishment are part of what makes up the meaningful ritual of a graduation ceremony. The colorful satin stole that proud graduates wear celebrates exceptional academic achievement or affiliation with a respected social or fraternal group. You can make a stole with straight ends and a V-shaped back neck.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing kit
  • Steam iron
  • Ironing surface
  • Yardstick
  • Marker
  • Pattern paper (minimum 40 inches by 12 inches)
  • Large work surface
  • Fabric, 1 ¼ yard (minimum 12 inches wide)

Select your fabric. Choose bridal satin, raw silk, taffeta, or cotton blends. Before cutting, steam the fabric lightly to preshrink. Plot the positioning of a purchased appliqué or custom embroidery and make notations on the paper pattern once you've created it.

Make the pattern by drawing three 40-inch-long parallel lines. First, a solid line near one edge of the paper; second (center), a broken line 5 ¼ inches out from first line; third, another solid line 11 ½ inches out. Close each end with a solid line connecting the first and third lines. Fold the pattern in half, lengthwise along the center fold line. Grasp the fold line point and bring it diagonally up to the outside line, creating an angled fold; crease the pattern and unfold. Cut on the angled fold line. When open, this end forms a V shape.

Fold the fabric in half, with right sides (the prettier or more decorated side of the fabric) together. Place the pattern on the straight lengthwise grain of the fabric; pin and cut. Remove pattern; pin along the V edge, matching the center point. This is the center back seam.

Using a medium-length stitch, and taking a 1/4 inch seam allowance, stitch from the top leg of the V almost to the point; lift the needle, turn the fabric and take one stitch across the base of the V; stitch up the other leg. Press the seam allowance open; trim the seam close to the V carefully. Apply the appliqué (if you're using one) or add the embroidery to the stole at this point.

Fold the stole lengthwise with right sides together; pin all three sides. Taking a 1/2 inch seam allowance, stitch from each end to 2 inches before the center back seam; press seams lightly and trim corners carefully. Turn the stole right side out. Pin the center back opening closed and stitch carefully by hand or by machine; press.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use freezer paper or old newspaper to make patterns.
  • If embroidering directly onto the stole, reinforce the area with iron-on stabilizer applied to the underside of the fabric.
  • Keep all sewing tools and notions out of the reach of small children and pets.
  • Preshrink fabric according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Turn corner points carefully to avoid damage.

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