Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sweatshirt To Jeweled Jacket - Tutorial

One of the creative things I like to do is take old or unused clothing and re-purpose them into beautiful new garments or decorative items.  The most recent upcycling project was an olive green sweatshirt which I loved the color of but not the fit, it was brand new and never worn; I kept moving it from house to house thinking I would do something with it someday. After much debate I finally settled on transforming the ordinary sweatshirt into a stunning short jacket for fall.  For those of you who sew, this is a great project you can do with just about any sweater or shirt with just a few tweaks, follow along with my tutorial and you will be all set to make one of your own.

Pictured is the sweatshirt, I am going to makeover, in its original form. The first thing I did was to take my dressmakers chalk and draw a line down the middle of the shirt, measuring from each side to the center until I got it even. Once the line was drawn I cut a nice straight line down the middle to create the jacket opening, all set and ready to stitch up once I finished cutting off all the unnecessary parts.

I really did not like the cuffs on the sleeves due to the fact they were very wide and tight, they were totally uncomfortable. Once I had them measured for the new sleeve length, I cut off the cuffs and began pinning up a new hem.

I moved onto the bottom of the shirt measuring and very carefully cutting off the bottom band of the sweatshirt.  It was a really well made knit band with a fine tight weave which I set aside to use later in an unusual, surprising way.
Note:  I like to do all my cutting and pinning at once, then go to my sewing machine instead of popping up and down every five minutes, it saves a lot of time and moves the project along quickly.

The first thing I did was to start stitching the hem of my new jacket, I decided on three layers of stitching to make it decorative instead of just a simple ¼” seam.  Because the fabric is knit the edges did not need to be folded under or any kind of finishing stitches on the raw edges.  I sewed each set of stitches ¼” apart for a nice uniform look, I chose a double row of stitches for the cuff finish.  Once the bottom hem was completed I moved onto stitching up a small placket down the front of the jacket, just a single row of stitches since I had other plans for the opening.

It was finally time for the neck opening, it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with it, and I had a lot of ideas which took me forever to settle on one design. As soon as I cut off the band from the bottom of the shirt I knew right away I was going to use it on the neck to change the lines.  I draped it across one shoulder which I liked, then I considered evenly sewing it around the neck and using the long ends to make a self tie or bow, my final choice was to lay it on collar style which felt more like the jacket I originally had in mind.

This was the tricky part, getting the band around the neck without causing a lot of stretching and ruining the shape of the jacket.  I chose to leave the original collar intact in case I wanted to alter it again in the future.  When I removed the banding from the bottom of the shirt I cut about two inches away from the original hem seam so I would have extra fabric to work with, it turned out to be a good choice.  I was able to place the neck edge up against the existing band hem seam and pin it just below the old collar hem, I used a good number of pins to make sure everything stayed in place while I stitched it up. Stitching along the original collar line would allow for the new collar to lay down over the old one concealing it and giving the whole area more stability and no sagging or stretching.  I could have added some stitching in the ditch or other stabilizing stitches but I wanted to be able to remove the collar at some point in time without a lot of fuss.



My olive green fall jacket it complete with one photo showing it without the jewels running down the front and the second photo showing the gems, I hand sewed into place, sparkling in the light giving the illusion of the crystal jewels being larger then they are and slightly uneven.  I can assure you they are evenly spaced with hook and eye closures just behind the stones.  Plain sweatshirt turned custom trendy jeweled jacket without a trip to the designer showrooms. How much fun is that!

Thanks for letting me share my jeweled jacket makeover, I hope you enjoyed my tutorial and you are inspired to make one of your own.  Did I mention the sweatshirt was part of a set, can you guess what I am going to make out of the poorly fitting sweatpants?  I guess you will have to watch for that makeover to appear in a future post, it is already in progress.
See you soon.


You might also like:

Bling Those Shoes – Part 1
Bling Those Shoes – Part 2

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