Sweatshirts are a wardrobe staple that is everyone’s go-to layer for when the weather turns chilly. And although we love the comfort and coziness of a good sweatshirt, the styling options can be a bit basic. Break the monotony by giving your favorite sweatshirt a DIY makeover.
Selecting and Preparing Your Sweatshirt
Whether you are upcycling your old sweatshirts or giving brand new sweatshirts a stylish makeover, a little prep work will ensure you get the best result possible.
Start by using crewneck sweatshirts. They are more versatile than hoodies or V-neck styles, and they are easier to work with if you need to remove or trim the neckline.
If you are dying or painting your sweatshirt, select a material that can hold the dye and keep it from running. Garments made from a mid-weight 50/50 blend, such as Hanes sweatshirts, have both the dye-keeping properties of cotton and the warmth and flexibility of polyester.
Finally, wash your sweatshirts thoroughly, especially if you are buying them new, to avoid problems with dye transfer and sizing. The last thing you need is your handy work shrinking in the wash. Also press them lightly before cutting and sewing to get the neatest finish possible.
Once you have selected and prepared your sweatshirt, you can start your wardrobe makeover with these great tutorials.
Stylish Sweatshirts & Hoodies
Sweatshirts and hoodies may be some of the most comfortable items in your closet, but they are often not the most flattering. Give your waist some definition with this simple transformation.
This tutorial creates an empire waistline in the top, which is almost universally flattering. What’s more, you don’t need to sacrifice the pocket space in front. The vertical cut through the middle gives you twice the pockets.
Channel the ‘90s with this roll-sleeve, oversized lace-up sweatshirt. It’s the perfect addition to your wardrobe for those transitional spring days and ideal for those who prefer a modern minimalist style.
Trimming and rolling the sleeves of the sweatshirt gives a casual yet polished look to the garment, while the giant eyelets give it some added interest.
Adding a little lace to the edge of your sweatshirt gives it a subtle sweetness and is also a cute way to add length. This tutorial creates a trendy cropped style sweatshirt, but you could easily keep the original length. The addition of a faux chest pocket takes the lace motif further and creates a professional finish.
If you want to make a bolder statement with your lacy designs, try creating a unique, feminine piece with this diagonal lace cut-out sweatshirt.
The beauty of this tutorial is that you can place the cut-out whereever on the sweatshirt you choose. Make sure you carefully line up the cuts along the sleeves and body for a more polished finish. The result is a striking mix of edginess and femininity.
Cold-shoulders and bows give a soft, girly vibe to any top. This look is one of the most popular sweater designs featured on Pinterest, and the tutorial shows you how to create this gorgeous design on a budget.
If you come across a sweatshirt that is a little too tight, this tutorial can transform it into a glamorous open-back top. You can add whatever closure you like to the back, such as a big ribbon or pom-poms, as in the tutorial. You could even use a hook and eye closure for a more secure attachment, or a jeweled button for a glammed-up look.
Plain sweatshirts are an essential layering piece, but you won’t want to cover up your sweatshirt with this striking design.
The tie-dying technique used in this tutorial creates the most amazing effect of sunlight shimmering on water. Combining this design with a classic navy color gives you a sweatshirt you will want to wear every day.
Another way to give plain light sweatshirts a modern twist is with this simple dip dying technique.
Partially submerging your sweatshirt in the dye gives a brilliant contrast to add a pop of color to your wardrobe. Try multiple dips to create an on-trend Ombre effect. Use a white or light-colored sweatshirt for the best color saturation and highest contrast.
Traditional Indonesian batik creates intricately dyed designs using carefully poured wax. But for a simpler version, you can create a similar look using craft glue. Allow your glue designs to dry overnight to ensure the dye doesn’t run under the glue and ruin your design.
A plain sweatshirt is a perfect canvas to let your imagination go wild. And with fabric paint pens, you can create intricate designs in a flash. Try this silver-on-black floral collar design (scroll down for image) or create a unique pattern all your own.
Fabric paint pens are also great for creating all over patterns for your sweatshirts. This tutorial takes inspiration from pop culture and contemporary fashion houses to create designer looks on a budget.
12. Bejeweled Collar
Brighten up your day and your sweatshirt with a little subtle sparkle around the collar. Gemstone beads in bold colors can transform your sweatshirt in an instant. If you aren’t handy with a needle and thread, you can simply use fabric glue to adhere your beads.
A unique way to add some whimsy to your wardrobe is with this ethereal watercolor print sweatshirt.
Using a light-colored sweatshirt and everyday watercolor paint, you can create gorgeous designs that will give you an instant mood lift. But you’ll have to be careful when you wash this so your colors don’t run.
For a simple update to your sweatshirt that doesn’t depart too far from the comfortable original design you love, try adding a floral-patterned panel to the front to freshen up your look.
Cold shoulder cut-outs are a popular way to add interest to your outfit. This tutorial shows you three variations on the cold shoulder design, all of which can transform your sweatshirt from simple to stylish.
If you have ever looked in your closet and had nothing to wear, you understand the need for a quick fix. Here is a five-minute style upgrade for a bland sweatshirt, and all you need is a necklace and a glue gun.
Any large statement necklace is sure to make a serious style impact, but this tutorial combines the elegance of pearls with a white sweatshirt to create something both chic and cozy.
This intricate design is a little complex and may require some skill with a sewing machine, but the amazing woven effect is a worthwhile style upgrade for your wardrobe.
For sweet, subtle sparkle, try adding sequined elbow patches to your sweatshirt. This tutorial also has links to templates available to download for your patch design, or you can design your own. Cut out the pattern on newspaper before tracing it onto the iron-on material so both elbows are even.
Jazzed-Up Jackets & Cardigans
For something warm that doesn’t overwhelm your outfit, try transforming your cozy fleece sweatshirt into a delicate cardigan.
A simple change in length and an opening the front bring some polish and class to the humble sweatshirt.
Give two of your wardrobe staples a much-needed makeover with this fun tutorial that channels ‘90s style with a fresh twist. Sweatshirt sleeve denim jackets are a great way to give a style boost to any outfit.
This tutorial shows you just how simple the transformation can be. Don’t worry if you aren’t too confident with the sewing machine. Constructing this jacket requires only simple stitching with a needle and thread.
Don’t be too hasty throwing out your scraps from that last makeover. Sewing the leftover denim sleeves onto the sleeveless sweatshirt will give you a unique jacket that is sure to turn some heads.
Daring Dresses & Skirts
If you have little girls, you know they can be adamant about wearing the clothes they love regardless of the weather. So when your little lady insists on wearing a tutu to school, but it’s too cold outside, you will have this perfect tulle sweatshirt dress ready to go.
Adult sweatshirts can be a little plain for a bold kid’s style, but with a little contrast stitching along the seams, your kid will be the best dressed (and most comfortable) kid at school.
Adult-sized sweatshirts are the perfect size for constructing a child’s dress. To get the size perfect for your little one, you will need to use a dress they already wear to use as the pattern. With the addition of a new neckline from another sweatshirt, you have a cute and cozy dress that is easy to play in.
24. Sweatshirt Tunic
For a comfortable outfit that also keeps you looking polished, you can’t do better than a classic tunic. Paired with leggings and ankle boots, this will be your go-to outfit for when the weather gets chilly.
While following this tutorial, make sure you use a sweatshirt or tunic you already have as a guide to keep the shape comfortable but chic. And because you are adding additional material to the bottom, you can make it as long or as short as you like.
The oversized hoodie dress has become a popular street style. It’s not only comfortable and cozy, but paired with the right accessories and a pair of clean white sneakers, it is the ultimate ‘cool girl’ wardrobe item.
This tutorial uses an oversized sweatshirt to create a longline sweater dress. However, you could easily adapt the pattern to create a hoodie dress by removing the pocket before construction, repositioning it and sewing it back on at the end.
For an on-trend athleisure set, this vlogger was inspired by the original fashion maven, Barbie. All you need are two identical sweatshirts. If you are planning to make this outfit in multiple colors, go for wholesale sweatshirts online.
Though this tutorial is a little more complicated than the rest because it requires some pattern making, you’ll be thrilled with the professional-looking results that are sure to up your fashion game.
Amazing Accessories & Other Items
Even men sometimes need to carry a lot of things. This fast, no-sew crossbody bag can quickly and easily solve the problem of bulging pockets — without loading everything into your purse.
The sweatshirt is large and secure enough to hold a wallet, keys and even a laptop or tablet. What’s more, you don’t need to make a single cut because it’s created entirely by folding the sweatshirt around the items, and it can be completed in less than five minutes!
28. Shopper Tote Bag
This trendy fringed tote bag is perfect for taking with you to the store, beach or gym. The stretchy texture of the sweatshirt fabric gives the bag excellent strength to hold heavy groceries, and its machine washable.
The tutorial shows you how to create a tote from a T-shirt, but this can transform your old sweatshirt just as easily — and best of all, it requires no sewing skills.
For a quick and easy gym bag that is machine washable to ensure you don’t bring the smell of the gym home with you, you’ll love this simple DIY drawstring backpack. It also makes an ideal graduation gift if you use a college or high school sweatshirt.
This tutorial works equally well with drawstring hoodies and regular crew neck sweatshirts; however, you will need to construct an additional drawstring for the latter.
30. Dog Coat
Don’t let your furry friend miss out on all the upcycling fun! Keep your pooch snug and warm this winter with an easy no-sew dog coat.
Depending on the size of your dog, you can make this coat from one of the sleeves of your old sweatshirt. However, if you have a larger breed of dog, you may need to use an old pair of fleece pants.