I think that a basic shrug is a classic piece in anyone's wardrobe. Lucky for me, they are also rising in popularity and ridiculously simple to make. If you can make a wide scarf, you can make a shrug.
How to make a simple seamed shrug:
1. Measure the arm size by wrapping the tape around the arm at the shoulder. Add 2" to get your Width.
2. Next, put your arms out and measure from elbow to elbow, or however long on your arms you want the shrug to be. This will be your Length.
3. Also, take a measurement from the elbow (or point on your arm that you used for the Length) to the armpit. This will be your seam measurement.
4. Pick your favorite stitch, openwork pattern, or stitchgrid that can be worked in a square. Chain loosely until you reach your Width measurement. You may need to add a few stitches here to work with the stitch or openwork pattern.
5. Proceed with your pattern stitch until the piece measures 1/2 of your desired Length. Finish off your pattern then, and bind off. (if you really don't care about symmetry, you can just continue the pattern stitch until you reach the full Length, and skip to step 7)
6. Join your yarn at the same spot where you started. Begin the first row of your pattern into the back side of your original chain row, so that you will have a mirror image of the side that you already did, working in the same stitches. Continue your pattern stitch until the second arm is 1/2 of the total Length, or the same side as the other arm.
7. Do not bind off. Fold your rectangle in half long-ways. You will now seam up the arms. I chose to do this using a slip sitch from one edge to the other, but you can also use a yarn needle and sew it closed. From the end, seam up the length which you measured previosly.
8. When you reach the armpit area, fasten off and join your yarn at the other end, and seam up the opposite arm.
9. Do not fasten off when you reach the 2nd armpit. Instead, lay open the center of the garment which is unseamed, and begin making rounds of sc to border the edge. 1-4 rows of sc here looks very nice and finishes the garment.
The purple shrug was made using the symmetrical method and the above stitch grid. If you use this pattern, you should end on an odd numbered row. The black shrug was made using the stitchgrid below. Though the symmetrical method was used, it was unnecessary.