Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tutorial: Sweatshirt turned Jacket

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My favorite piece from the Comfy-Chic Anthro-Inspired Ensemble (my entry for Round One of Crafting with the Stars) was the jacket.

I took this large, shapeless sweatshirt from Goodwill

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And turned it into this super cute jacket

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My inspiration came (loosely) from Anthropologie’s Swept Swag Sweatshirt.


Wanna know how I made this comfy and cute top?

I liked how the Swept Swag Sweatshirt had the curve and connected at the shoulder. An asymmetrical front slit did the trick (look closely and you can see where I cut it).

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I also cut rounded the corners both at the bottom and top. I just free-styled it, but you could use a CD to trace the rounded corners first.

Then there was a lot of trying it on, going to the mirror in the bathroom, back to the sewing machine, back to the bathroom, the sewing machine… you get the picture.

I wanted a fitted look, so the first step in achieving that was making the back smaller. I simply folded the back in half and ran it through my serger. Please note: you really, really, really don’t need a serger to do this. I just liked using mine because I don’t have to pin when using it and it rims the fabric as I go.

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Later in the project, it seemed like the back stood up awkwardly off my shoulders/back (does that make sense?) so I cut in a bit (this time using my regular sewing machine because I was upstairs and my serger was downstairs and yes, I’m lazy). You can see in the picture below how my stitching was going straight and then sloped in. This slight adjustment made a HUGE difference in the fit of the jacket.

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The next step was adjusting the sleeves and the sides. I really didn’t want to have a modified sweatshirt look, so I majorly took in the sleeves. They now fit tightly to my arms. I just started at the cuff and sewed up the sleeve, turned the corner at the arm pit and sewed down the side seam. I cut of a TON of fabric during this part. And I did it in small increments—trying it on, seeing I could go smaller, etc, etc. You can also see how I angled in under the arm—this allowed it to fit to the body higher up and then loosly fall around the hips.

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When I tried it on at this point, the area around the shoulders fit funny—the shoulder seam sat in a weird spot and the sleeves looked almost puffy. All it took was sewing around the sleeve (be careful you don’t sew it closed). You can see in the picture how the grey serged stitch was the original sleeve seam, and I sewed below it. That did the trick!

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The jacket was taking a nice shape, but it didn’t have the wow factor I was looking for. So, starting at the shoulder seam and going down to the side seam, I sewed 5 rows of straight stitching around the edges. I also serged the raw edges of the sweatshirt. Again, you don’t need a serger to have a polished look on this project. You could skip that part all together.

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I also sewed five rows around the cuffs to help reduce the sweatshirt look.

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At this point I liked how it was coming together, but it still lacked wow factor.

(Finally I can show you an “in process” picture!!!)

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My star (Michelle from Someday Crafts) and I were stumped, so I asked my parents for input. My dad (go dad!) suggested that I needed a touch of red, like in the movie Sabrina when they’re doing the photo shoot and she put a red scarf on the ground to add a pop of color. My dad was so right!!!

I took a sweater that was in my Goodwill box and cut several strips of the ribbing. I then sewed it around the trim and it curled nicely to make it look almost like piping.

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I liked how sewing that on also kind of ruffled the jacket. My last step (or so I thought) was sewing button holes on. At this point I was in a HUGE rush. I only had 5 minutes before I was supposed to leave to take the pictures with my model. When I went to try the jacket on to place the buttons, I discovered I had sewn them on the wrong side!!! Thankfully, that meant they would be covered up. But I didn’t have time to deal with both button holes and sewing on buttons. So the buttons when on the top corner instead, and snaps were sewn underneath. I like the clean look of the buttons just sitting there without the pull of a button hole. Yay for a mistake turning into a great solution!

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When I tried this finished jacket on with the finished shirt (tutorial to come in a few days), I was so excited!!! The outfit finally had the wow factor I’d been trying and trying to find.

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The tutorial for the shirt and purse will be coming this week! Happy sweatshirt adapting and I’d love to see what you make if you follow this tutorial!

I’ve linked this up with 733’s Knock it Off Contest.

I’ll be linking up with some great parties. The buttons in my left sidebar link to their parties, and you can also check them out by clicking on my parties tab at the top.


  1. This is so beyond awesome and adorable! I love the red...go dad!!!

    I'm linking this up on my Facebook page. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is so clever. and super super cute. Awesome job. So great that you shared this..

  3. That is just too cute! You r sooo creative!

  4. Absolutely amazing! And it looks so comfy too.

  5. oh my god, that's amazing! i love the asymmetrical collar and the ruffling. sooo much better than just a plain ol' sweatshirt! you rock!

  6. This turned out so amazing! I tried a shirt refashion this summer and it didn't turn out even half this cute. Of course my sewing machine and I don't get along very well so that could be the problem. :)

    And I love Sabrina. Yay for the good suggestion by Dad!

  7. Sweet! This is up! I've never seen a sweatshirt so beautiful!!! I am featuring it at

  8. So dang cute!! I saw you on Someday Crafts - I put a link to this post on my Facebook page. I can't wait to see the tute on the purse - love it!!

  9. Hi Jill, I just came across your project on Someday Crafts and I LOVE it! I haven't had much luck with sewing clothes, but I might just give it another try after seeing how cute your jacket turned out. I'm always cold and this would add some warmth with a lot of cuteness! I also took some time to look around your blog and I am now happily following you! Can't wait to keep up with your goings on!

  10. I wish I had a sewing machine! I totally want one of these! So Fabulous! I shared on Facebook!

  11. This is gorgeous! You did a fantastic job!!

  12. Wow, this is really nice. Love it.

  13. That is so dadgum cute! I might have to give that a shot, even though my seamstress skills are a little lacking, I can do anything I set my mind to! Thanks for the tutorial!

  14. The large shirt collar is what nails the effect, in my book.

  15. Love this! I will have to try it, love the shape!

  16. OM goodness, I am gonna try I happen to be wearing the ugly shapeless sweatshirt right now!! It is divine!!!!! What you did with it, not what I'm rock.

  17. I seriously love love love this!! Wonderful use an old sweatshirt. :) I'd love for you to link up to my new linky party, Tute {Yourself} Tuesday!
    The linky will be open until Wednesday evening. :)

  18. I am in LOVE with this jacket!! It is so cute and easy, I would have never thought to try something like that. Thanks for the tutorial I featured you on my blog.

  19. Super cute and you did a great job. I just redid a sweater and I love that you are honest about all the trying on and adjusting, I think most people try to make it sound easier/less steps than it is.

    Have a great day,
    Cha Cha

  20. Ho very cute! It looks great on you!

  21. Gorgeous! The detail is amazing. Great post!

  22. That is so cute! I love it! I am a new follower!

  23. This turned out perfect!! I Love it!!

  24. Oh no you didn't. I can't believe what a difference. Every time I see some crazy redo like this, I just want to start sewing. I just don't have any confidence, whatsoever. I've never, EVER, done anything even close. BUT you guys all make it look so simple, darn it. I must just try it sometime.

    This looks amazing, I tell you. I love it, and I am new to your FAB blog, and LOVE it too. So I am your HAPPY newest follower, thank you very much!!!

    I would LOVE if you came to link up to my party **Amaze me August** I am trying to reach 100 linkups, and then I will have a special giveaway, something made my me, lol. I'm pretty excited!!!

    Oh and just in case you were curious, how I clean my stove, check this out, he he.
    Cleaning my stove with Shampoo

    Thanks a ton girl, and hope to see you soon!!!!

    Bella :)

  25. So Cute! Would love for you to add to my Thursday Treasure Party @


    The Treasurista
    Finding and Creating FUN things...

  26. Now you are so creative. I so have to try to make one of these. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Freaking awesome! It's super cute, and nicely put together.

  28. Truly inspired! (The Dad has a good eye!) Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can’t wait to see what you have for next week!

  29. wow! Great Transformation!
    I really do love the finished look!

  30. So, I think I'm going crazy... I've looked everywhere here on your blog on how to make the shirt underneath- with the amazing collar, and can't find it! Any help?

  31. Adorable! I love your site. Great tutorials and ideas...I may just have to steal a few :)
    I too am a sewer. Please come visit.

  32. Luv it!..and made my own. Had a blast doing it, sooo easy!!!! Thanks!

  33. i would like to know how you also made the scarf. i couldnt find a tutorial on your site.

  34. I second the scarf!!! It is an amazing compliment to the sweater and I too am hoping to find a tutorial. Double Thanks!!!!

  35. Love this!! It has inspired me to remake my own sweatshirt with some ruffles.

  36. what you have done here is pure art. you created something really awesome and did it without really using measurements, i love the approach you have used to create this. Pure creativity at ites very best. I applaud your eye, you can see beauty and charm in anything, and then make it happen!


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