• Sharon Prigan

Sweatshirt to jacket tutorial

Updated: Jan 10

Sweatshirts and hoodies are some of the most comfortable items in your closet but not the most flattering. They are a wardrobe staple for when the weather is still cool and are wonderful for a layered outfit. They are warm and comfortable, but very often are large and boxy shaped. A simple change can turn the sweatshirt into a flattering cardigan which is the perfect addition to one's wardrobe.

For this jacket I used a princess line sweatshirt that I had in my closet and copied two pattern pieces, the center front and center back pattern piece and the side pattern piece. I used the same pattern pieces for the front and the back of the cardigan.

Princess cut sweatshirt

Using tracing paper, I traced around the seam lines and added an extra 1 cm on each side for the seam allowances. When using the center front pattern to cut out the back piece I raised the neckline by 6 cm.

Pattern pieces

I cut the sleeves off as close to the stitching line as I could and cut the front and back pieces of the sweatshirt apart. I cut of the hem and kept it to make a collar later. For the center front I cut out 2 separate pieces as the cardigan is open in the front.

Front pieces

For the back I cut one center piece on the fold and 2 side pieces.

Back pieces

The side seams stitched together to the front pieces.

Princess seams stitched

This is what the front and back pieces should look like at this stage.

Front and back

Now join the 2 shoulder seams

Shoulder seams

Measure the armpit and make sure that the tape measure is standing up when you measure the curve so that you get the correct measurement.

Measuring arm pit

Measure the sleeve head in the same way. This measurement should be half of the armpit measurement when the sleeve is folded.

Cut the seam of the sleeve open and lay it down so that the sleeve head matches up to the armhole opening with the center of the sleeve matching up to the shoulder seam.


Lift the sleeve and lay it down on the shoulder seam pinning the two layers together making sure that the shoulder seam lies open and flat.

Pinning sleeve head

Pin the sleeve head from side to side. Do the same on the other side with the second sleeve and stitch them in place

Stitching sleeve head

This is what the shirt should look like now. The 2 sleeves stitched in place on top near the shoulder seams.

Aerial view of shirt

Fold the front pieces down onto the back piece and pin the side arm and side seams.

Side and arm seams

Make sure that the underarm seams match up and that the seams are open and pressed down so that there is no bulk. Stitch the side seams from sleeve edge, through underarm down to waist.

Stitch side seams

Take the waistband that you cut off and cut the stitching line off and open it up. It is going to be used to make a collar.


Put this on the sewing machine so that the right side of the shirt is facing you – see the clean shoulder seam and half of the collar is underneath the seam edge and the other half is open on the right side of the shirt. Stitch the collar down from the outside.

Stitching collar down

This is what the collar looks like from the right side of the shirt after you have stitched it.

Collar back

Fold the collar around the neckline of the shirt from the inside facing out

Collar front

Your finished cardigan/sweatshirt jacket


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