sketchbook polo shirt

Guess who’s back today? It’s Shelley, returning this time with a project that changes the Sketchbook Shirt into a polo shirt using the button placket from the Jump Rope Dress. Thanks for sharing all of this wonderful information and inspiration with us Shelley!

I hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas sewing. Today I’ve got an idea for you if you have a boy who complains about having to wear a formal, button up shirt, but who you’d like to see at Christmas lunch in something other than a grubby old T-shirt.


Customized Oliver + S Sketchbook Shirt


To make a nice boy’s polo shirt you could buy a polo shirt pattern, or you could combine a few of your favourite Oliver + S patterns and see what happens. That’s what I did of course!

No sooner had the Jump Rope Dress pattern been released than clever sewists started noticing that the top half of the dress made a very nice blouse. A search of the Flickr pool turns up quite a few Jump Rope shirts. Cherie made some gorgeous sleeveless versions. Also I’ve collected some other lovely Jump Rope tops onto a Pinterest board here.

I think credit must go to Peta for first thinking of combining a woven collar with a knit fabric and making a Jump Rope rugby top.


Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress modified into a rugby top


And in doing so she inspired this great little casual, collared boys T-shirt by Johanna. Johanna used the Nature Walk pattern, eliminated the separate front panels and inserted the Jump Rope placket.

If you’ve never sewn a placket like this before, don’t worry, you’re in for a treat. The Oliver + S forum members have declared it one of the all-time most satisfying moments in sewing!

For my polo shirt I chose to use the Sketchbook pattern. I like the collar shape and I’d just made one straight up and knew that it fit well. When I mix patterns together I like to make things a bit easier for myself by keeping sleeves with their matching armholes and collars with their matching necklines. So all I needed to do was convert the Sketchbook pattern into a single front piece and single back piece.


Oliver + S Sketchbook Shirt modified into a polo shirt


The front pattern piece is easy. The way the button placket is usually sewn means that the edges of the fabric just touch at the middle inside their little overlapping plackets. With no adjustments required you can simply cut the front pattern piece on the fold.


Oliver + S Sketchbook Shirt modified into a polo shirt


The back requires only a few changes. I combined the yoke and back panel pieces into one by overlapping them by 1”. I moved the back panel piece off the fold by 1” to take out the fabric that is used for the box pleat in the shirt. For both the front and back pieces I squared off the hem at the sides to remove the curved shirttail hemline.


Modifications to the Oliver + S Sketchbook Shirt to turn it into a polo shirt


The placket for the Jump Rope dress is quite deep. Here, I’ve sewn a size 6 shirt but only used the size 2T/3T placket. You can make the placket any length you like, just keep the markings at the bottom and shorten it at the neckline.


Oliver + S Sketchbook Shirt modified into a polo shirt


Once I’d sewn the collar I could put the Sketchbook pattern instructions away and then follow the Jump rope instructions to sew the placket and complete the polo shirt. The button band part of the collar won’t overlap as it does in the shirt, so there’s no need for a button or buttonhole on the collar.

This was a project that started out slow and meticulous and then finished in a flash. I can see myself making many more of these polo shirts. My husband is a big fan of the polo shirt and it’s pretty cute seeing my son looking as preppy as dad does on Christmas day. I wish you all happy holidays and I’ll see you again in the New Year.



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  1. Shelley,
    I love love love how sophisticated this looks. And for a tutorial/customization, I love the graphic that shows how you laid out the pattern. That is beyond helpful.


  2. Sarah Helene

    CLEVER & CREATIVE COMBINING 2 boys’ shirt patterns for this POLO SHIRT tutorial, SHELLEY! Many mothers will be pleased to follow your directions to sew this shirt for their young boys. I like the longer front white placket with buttons for ease of dressing. White color & placket look so CRISP. Your son will be the “best dressed” for holiday gatherings and at the dinner table. HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and your family!

  3. Fantastic! Who would have thought to use the Jump Rope dress pattern to make a polo top for a boy! (Well, actually, as you mention in your post, a lot of clever people have done the polo thing – I wouldn’t have thought of even that!). This is one pattern I don’t own because I feel like it looks best on the older girls, and Maggie is still so wee, but now you’re making me think it would be fun to try on my Joe! Awesome! Thank you for sharing your process. I agree, that diagram is awesome, how do you do that? 🙂

  4. Great post, I wonder if I can sneak one into my school uniforms.

  5. Nice top for a handsome guy, Shelley!

  6. Thanks everyone.
    I drew the pattern graphic in I’m glad you like it. I only ever sew after dark, so photographing things isn’t easy. Tooling around on the computer is!
    I’m sure you could Nicole, and I’d be honoured if you did, your sneaky school uniforms are legendary.
    Inder, I think the View B is really cute on a little one. Exhibit A: 🙂

  7. So clever! I love all this pattern combining. It makes the possibilities so limitless!

  8. Donna

    Thank you Shelley! I have been wanting to do this for ages – but didn’t want to buy the Jump rope pattern and figure it out myself. Love that you saved me the trouble. (And that I’m not the only one combining different patterns to make what I want. 🙂

  9. Shelly, This is absolutely genius. I am pinning it, to make in the new year.

  10. Melissa

    This is just what I’Ve been looking for! I know it’s been a while since this was made, but wondering if you used woven drill for the collar and a knit for the shirt? Did you have to make any adjustments to the sizes for using knit instead of woven?

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