The Girl’s Complete DIY and Style Guide to Sweatshirts

The long neglected sweatshirt has spent decades as nothing but a lazy day item. We put it on when we aren’t trying to impress anyone. And it’s often seen with sweatpants or no pants at all.

But the sweatshirt can be so much more! If worn well, it can become part of a super fashionable outfit. Plus, there are easy DIY projects that can help you take an old sweatshirt and elevate to limitless fashion opportunities.

Read this guide and never neglect your sweatshirts again!

Blend Comfort and Edge

Pair a light toned sweatshirt (either plain or with an awesome quote or design on it) with a leather mini skirt. Add large sunglasses and a bold red lipstick and you’ll have perfect chic look for hanging out downtown or going shopping.

sweatshirt outfit

Accessorize Your Sweater

Wear a light neutral tone sweater with black leather pants and then accessorize it with a cute, animal print (or other patterned) scarf, sunglasses, and heels. This makes for an unbeatable blend of class of comfort that says your natural state of existence is pure elegance.

Take the Sweatshirt to the Office

The sweatshirt can be amazingly versatile. If you a pair a fitted sweatshirt with a pencil skirt and professional heels, you’ll be able to walk into the office looking professional and fresh. Plus you’ll feel cozy and comfortable. It’s the absolute perfect combination!

Go for Bold and Casual

A fun graphic sweatshirt paired with jeans and knee high boots make for a totally cozy outfit that will have you looking stylish and put together. Add in some cozy knee high socks and you’re ready for a night of hot chocolate by the fireplace or a perfect fall stroll through the countryside.

sweatshirt outfit

Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘n’ Beautiful

Wear a plaid button up underneath a pretty pastel or cream sweatshirt. Let the color and bottom peak out to give that contrast. Add some chunky gold bracelets and a gold statement necklace to show off your elegant feminine side. This creative layered look shows the many layers of your awesome personality.

Get Club Ready

Tuck a fitted sweatshirt—preferably with a bold and fun print or quote on it—into your favorite skirt for going to the club. Add a bold statement necklace, heels, and a clean, pulled back hairstyle and you are ready to dance all night long in perfect comfort and style.

Turn Your Sweater into a Cardigan

This is one of the easiest ways to take a boring old sweater and transform it into an adorable new piece for your wardrobe. This new cardigan is great as an outer layer in fall or spring. It will also be a cute layer in the colder months. You will need a sweater, scissors, pins, patterned fabric (you can take this from an old T shirt or skirt for example), and a sewing machine.

sweatshirt outfit

  1. Lay the sweater out and cut straight down the middle. Make sure the line is straight and even. You can trace it out with a ruler and marker first if you want.
  2. Measure and cut 2 strips from your patterned fabric. They should be about 1” to 2” longer than the cut edges of the sweater and about 6” wide.
  3. Turn the strip so that the outside (the side you want to be exposed) is facing downward.
  4. Fold the strip in half lengthwise. Press to make a crease.
  5. Open it again. Fold the sides in so that they meet at the middle (but don’t quite touch).
  6. Do this for both strips.
  7. Place the strip underneath one edge of the cut front of your sweater. Make sure that half of it is still sticking out.
  8. Fold the exposed half over and pin it down.
  9. Sew it in place.
  10. Do this for the other side as well.
  11. Now you have a cute cardigan with an adorable patterned trim down the front opening!

Add Elegance with Lace

Elevating a sweater to give it a more high fashion look is not as challenging as you might think. A simple hack you can do is adding lace to the back (or front) of your sweater. The contrast makes for a unique look that is both comfortable and elegant.

sweatshirt outfit

You will need:

  • Sweater
  • Lace fabric
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Seam Ripper
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • Needle and Thread

To get the look:

  1. Rip the seams of the sweatshirt with your seam ripper so that you separate into its individual pieces.
  2. Decide which piece you would like to replace with lace—the front or the back.
  3. Place the chosen piece on top of your lace fabric and use the marker to trace the shape onto the lace.
  4. Cut the shape out of the lace.
  5. Place the opposite piece of the sweater facing downward. So, if you are replacing the back with lace, you will lay the front piece facing downward.
  6. Lay the lace piece on top. Pin the sides and the shoulders.
  7. Sew along the edges of the shoulders and the sides. Make sure you don’t sew along where the arms should be attached.
  8. Turn the arms inside out. Pin them in place.
  9. Sew them, making sure that you do not sew them closed.
  10. Turn the collar of the neck inside out. Pin it in place.
  11. Sew the collar back on.
  12. Turn it right side out and you’ve got yourself a beautiful new sweatshirt!

sweatshirt outfit

Add Edge with Chiffon

This is a super easy look to do with nothing but basic sewing skills. You can probably finish it in just a couple of hours and you will end up with a sweatshirt that’s ready to be worn at fashion week! You will need a sweater, a seam ripper, pins, a marker or chalk, chiffon or other transparent material, scissors, and a sewing machine.

  1. Rip the seams where the sleeves and the shoulder meet.
  2. Rip the seams of the cuffs of the sleeves.
  3. If there are seams running down the sleeves, rip them. If not, cut a straight line down each sleeve.
  4. Lay each sleeve out flat on the chiffon fabric.
  5. Trace the pattern onto the fabric.
  6. Cut the shape out.
  7. Fold the fabric in half vertically.
  8. Sew along the edge.
  9. Repeat this for both sleeves.
  10. Pin the cuffs of the sleeves to the edge of the new sleeves.
  11. Sew them in place. Be careful that you do not sew them closed.
  12. Turn your sweater inside out.
  13. Pin the sleeves to the arm holes.
  14. Sew them in place. Again, be careful that you do not sew them closed.
  15. Turn it all right side out. Try your new sweater on!

sweatshirt outfit

Upcycle and Old Sweater into a Cute Skirt

Sometimes we end up with sweaters that don’t fit us quite right or that no longer look as flattering as they used to. But that’s no reason to give up on them and throw them in the trash. Use this simple hack to transform an unwearable sweater into a totally wearable skirt!

You need a sweater, scissors, pins, an elastic band, and a sewing machine.

  1. Cut off the sleeves and the top 2” or 3” of the sweater. Alternatively, if you’ve got a print on the sweater near the top that you would like to be on the skirt, remove those inches from the bottom instead. You can also remove more length. Make it however short or long you want it to be. Just make sure you leave a couple of inches of seam allowance because you will be adding an elastic waistband later.
  2. Turn it inside out and pull it up over your waist, pull it as high as you want it to sit when you wear it. Pin the sides so that you knew where to sew so that it will fit your form.
  3. Remove the skirt and sew along the pin line.
  4. Measure and cut the length of elastic band you will need for the waist.
  5. Line it up along the top edge of the skirt.
  6. Fold the top edge over so that the elastic band is covered. Pin this down.
  7. Sew it in place. Make sure you do not sew the skirt closed!
  8. If you cut off the bottom hem in the earlier steps, fold it in about ¼” or ½” and sew it down.
  9. Turn it right side out and try it on!
  10. You may need to make some adjustments by taking in the sides or letting them out depending on how you want it to fit.
  11. For an extra fresh look, you can add a lace strip to the sides. Just use a seam ripper to under the side seams. Then cut out strips of lace as wide as you want them. Turn the skirt inside out. Then, line up the edge of the lace flush with one edge of the ripped seam. Pin it. After it’s pinned, take the loose edge, fold it over and line it so it is flush with the other ripped seam. Pin it in place. Sew. Do this on just one side or on both sides!

sweatshirt outfit

You Can also Upcycle it into a Cute Tote!

If your sweater has seen better days and is in desperate need of retirement, this is the perfect tutorial for you. Although it may not be wearable (at least not in public), that doesn’t mean you have to toss it out. Give it a new life as an adorable tote bag!

This is also great for old sweaters with cool prints on them. You can preserve the awesomeness of that print in its new form as a tote! You will need the sweater, scissors, handles from an old purse, pins, and a sewing machine.

  1. Cut the bottom hem from your sweatshirt.
  2. Cut out the shape and size of the purse that you want. For example, you can go for a long rectangle or a shorter more square shape. It’s all up to you. Just make sure you cut both the front and the back at the same time so that they are the same size.
  3. Remove the handles from the old purse. Wooden ring handles are a great option.
  4. Turn the two pieces of sweater you cut so that the front sides are facing each other.
  5. Pin along the edges.
  6. Sew along three sides.
  7. If using the ring handles, cut out two strips of fabric from the rest of the sweater. They should be about 4” wide and roughly 3” to 4” long.
  8. Turn your purse right side out.
  9. Pin the fabric to the top edge so that about half of the width is hanging off the top.
  10. Sew it in place.
  11. Do this on both sides.
  12. Lay the handle on the inside of the strip and fold the strip over the handle. Pin the strip down.
  13. Sew it in place.
  14. Do this on both sides.
  15. Voila! You now have an adorable new purse with minimal effort!

sweatshirt outfit

For a more advanced level version of this project, check out this tutorial.

Go Backless for the Ultimate Fashion Statement

This simple project requires minimal sewing and makes for a super cutting edge look that you will absolutely love. All you need is a sweater, scissors, pins, large heavy duty gold skirt pins, and a needle and thread.

  1. Lay the sweater out so that the back is facing upward.
  2. Starting about 1” to the right from the center of the neck, cut all the way down the back of the sweater.
  3. Then, start about 1” to the left of the center of the neck and cut all the way down again. The goal is to remove a 2” wide piece of fabric from the center of the back of the sweater.
  4. Turn your sweater inside out.
  5. Fold the cut edges in about ¼” to ½” and pin down.
  6. Sew along the pin line to make a new hem.
  7. Pin the flaps together with the gold skirt pins. You can space them however you like.
  8. Option: instead of pins you can also sew leather straps or ribbons to the back.

sweatshirt outfit

These styling tips and DIY tutorials will ensure that your sweater game is always on point. The possibilities of your wardrobe are now so much more infinite when you unleash the full power of the sweater!

Now it’s time to add to your collection by getting more awesome sweaters with cool prints and quotes on them! Whether you’re just styling it in a new way or you are getting crafty and transforming it into a brand new piece, you’ll be able to spruce up your wardrobe!

All of these tips and hacks will help you show off your amazing and unique sense of fashion and maybe even your creative and crafty skills, too!

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