Turning a Sweatshirt into a Cardigan

It is already hot in Texas. Yesterday my thermometer read 86 degrees! I work in a school where when the temperature goes up outside, the air conditioner gets turned way down. It is summer outside and winter inside. One of my favorite people at work gave me an old school sweatshirt and asked me if I could make it into something that was open she could slip on when the temperature drops in her office. Challenge accepted!


I started by drawing a line down the center front of the sweatshirt and cutting it straight down the front.


Scary! I told her to give me an old sweatshirt in case I messed it up, but I had to cut sometime.


Next I cut the neck band, waistband and sleeve cuffs off just below their stitching line.


I stay stitched the neckline to keep it from stretching while I was working with it.


I turned the sweatshirt inside out and pinned the fabric in place. I serged my sleeve and side seams, so I pinned well inside my seam allowance. I measured in from the arm pit two inches and tapered that mark into the bottom of the shirt as well as the end of the sleeve. Repeat this on both sides. I did this because I find most sweatshirts are baggy in the arm which is very comfortable, but not flattering as a cardigan feature.


Here are my new serged side seams.


Finally, I used Jenny’s great binding tutorial to finish all of the raw seams. Yes, hers is on a place mat, but it is the same general idea. Our school colors are maroon and blue. Now I have a cute and boutique style cardigan from an old sweatshirt! I used my curvy decorative stitch, but I would recommend one with a bit more substance if you are going to try this project. What a great present for teachers or cute project for students! You could also add a button or hook and eye at the neckline to keep it closed if you wanted to.

Note 2 our Readers:  Find even more adventures from Stacie at her personal Sewing Blog

6 thoughts on “Turning a Sweatshirt into a Cardigan

  1. Kathy(maw) pigg

    You can get real fancy with sweatshirts I have and it is a lot of fun especially when you are finished and view what you have done. 🙂

  2. leorahkp

    I’m a bit confused. It looks as if the edges of the binding are not sewn to the shirt with a stitch that catches the edges of the binding, leaving the edges of the binding billowing out because they are unsecured. Would you recommend sewing the binding to the front side of the shirt with a straight stitch, then folding the binding to the back and securing it with a decorative topstitch to make a neater presentation?

    1. staciethinks Post author

      That is a great suggestion! This was a first try for me, so there are a few things I would try differently next time. Thanks for the idea!

  3. Claudia

    Is that a Wunderlich sweatshirt??? Haha if not, it looks exactly like one we had at my intermediate school. Good job with the cardigan! I recently got into refashioning and this looks like something I could try.


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