Sweatshirt Refashioned into Dress

Just when I had despaired of ever finding a way to refashion sweatshirts other than making them into monstrosities for an ugly sweater Christmas party I came across these sweatshirt dresses posted by Zoe on the Refashion Co-op! They are really fabulous!

I had an idea though to make a dress like this easier to make for those of us who are not as skilled with the needle as Zoe AND my version takes only one sweatshirt and one sweater, whereas Zoe’s version takes 2 sweatshirts and 1 sweater. Instead of sewing the top portion of the dress from scratch like Zoe did, I would simply use the body of a sweater that fits you reasonably well (or alter it before you use it to make this dress). Save the sweater sleeves to make a clutch purse or sweater boots or one of my little capelets. I haven’t posted instructions to any of these yet, but if you do a site search you’ll find them when I do publish them.

Use the sleeves from the sweatshirt to make the sleeves on the dress by gathering them at the top to fit the sweater armhole. Take the ribbing off the sleeves and resize it to fit your arm just above the elbow. Cut the sleeve to a length that works for you, keeping in mind that the ribbing will be added back to the sleeve. Gather the bottom of the sleeve to fit the resized ribbing.

Use the collar from the sweater or the collar from the sweatshirt, whichever you prefer. If using the sweatshirt collar, resize it to fit and sew it onto the dress.

Cut the body of the sweatshirt apart and resize to fit your shape. Sew a new side seam, then sew the resulting tube to the bottom of the sweater, with the waistband of the sweatshirt at the bottom of the dress.

Step back and admire your handiwork!

Oh and if any of my vague instructions above were confusing go on over to Zoe’s post to find more detailed instructions.

If your sweater is a v-neck, turtleneck or cowl-neck that would still look nice with this project.

If your sweater is a vest, all the better, zero waste!

If your dress isn’t long enough you can use the sweater sleeves or the sleeves of another sweatshirt or any parts of the original sweatshirt that you cut off, to lengthen the dress. Piece the fabric that you’re using together into a tube the same circumference at the top as the bottom of the sweater body and tapering out to match the circumference of the skirt of the dress. Don’t worry if you need to patchwork the tube together. You can top-stitch, blanket stitch or use any other type of embroidery stitch over the seams in a matching or contrasting thread to make it look intentional, but make sure to do this when the fabric is one flat piece. If you wait to do this after you’ve stitched it into a tube, it’s going to be much harder to do. Cut the tube to the width you need to make the dress the length you want making sure to allow for a seam allowance on both top and bottom edges of the tube where you’ll attach it to the skirt. Sew the tube to the sweater body on one edge and to the sweatshirt skirt on the other edge.

For all of you “zero waste refashionistas” here are some ideas for projects you can use the leftover sweater sleeves to make:

  • leg warmers
  • arm warmers
  • scarf – take apart and sew together into a scaarf
  • sweater shrug
  • sweater boots
  • interchangeable boot cuffs – you won’t use the entire sleeve for this – cut and stitch a portion of each sleeves to a pair of socks for a pair of sweater cuffs you can wear to change up the look of  many pairs of boots
  • clutch purse – you won’t use even one entire sleeve, but you could combine this project with the interchangeable boot cuffs and another project of two to use up both sleeves
  • tote bag – cut the sleeves apart and stitch together into a tote bag. Line with scraps leftover from other refashion projects.
  • And for a whole bunch of ideas for using up your sweater sleeves check out this Squidoo article.