Sew The Best Sweatshirt Makeovers

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

Sew The Best Sweatshirt Makeovers

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Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

 By Mary Mulari, guest blogger and friend of Sewing With Nancy

The book The Best Sweatshirt Makeovers is jammed full of great ways to make sweatshirts extraordinary. Today, in Nancy’s blog, I’d like to share even more ideas. It’s time to mix it up and combine sweatshirt alterations and decorations in new ways. Page numbers are included for easy reference.

SewingWithNancy Sweatshirts BookCover

Sweatshirts for All Seasons Cardigan Vest

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

In the Sweatshirts for All Seasons section of the book, you’ll find 13 ways to turn a pullover sweatshirt into an open-up-the-front cardigan. The basic technique is on page 71.

My first decision about the sweatshirt was to make the 1-1/2″ neck ribbing narrower. The steps for this are found on page 108.

Notice that the bottom ribbing of the sweatshirt has been removed and a fabric facing adds a hidden and neat hem treatment. After changing both the neckline and hem of the sweatshirt, you can add the placket opening.

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

After sewing 1/4″ wide strips of Ultrasuede over the placket to form button loops, I couldn’t resist adding a strip of plaid rickrack to the side of the placket—the colors coordinated perfectly with the placket fabric.

Try the sweatshirt on to determine the amount to turn under on the sweatshirt armholes, especially at the top of the shoulder. Pin the hems and sew around with a narrow zigzag stitch to secure.

The final decorative detail is the pocket. The appliqué design was chosen from page 82 and stitched on a larger piece of fabric. I debated adding the appliqué to the back center neck area on the sweatshirt but a front pocket won out when my sister said, “Everyone wants to have a pocket on a sweatshirt.” I added lightweight fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the pocket so it’s more durable.

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

Zipper Appeal Sweatshirt

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

You’ll see a plain version of this inside-out sweatshirt on page 34 of the book. It took some years to “marinate,” and then I added some extras. The bottom ribbing was removed, and I used the sleeve hem technique on page 35 to hem the sweatshirt bottom.

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

The dragonfly machine appliqué, from my Appliques for Sweatshirts” embroidery CD, has proven to be a popular design. (Of course, isn’t any insect that eats mosquitoes a good idea?) I planned to position the design a bit off-center, but it still needed something more. The addition turned out to be a narrow strip of the sweatshirt bottom ribbing extending beyond the appliqué fabric.

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

Calico Country Sweatshirt

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

Here’s a new version of the sweatshirt that only looks like a layered garment. Portions of a shirt are sewn to the sweatshirt neck, sleeves, and hem. See pages 102–104 for the steps to take.

I found that the width of the shirt bottom was narrower than the sweatshirt so I cut the shirt back section in the middle and added an extra piece of shirt fabric. If I had sewn in a wider piece of fabric, I could have folded in the edges to form a pleat.

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

The sleeve and bottom hems are turned under and stitched in place with two rows of stitching for a ready-to-wear look. I also find that hems tend to lie flatter with two rows of stitching. This  can also be achieved with a twin needle.

The subtle trim on the sweatshirt front is a branch formed with slimline tucks (page 109). I drew the branch free hand and sewed the short branch extensions first and then the longer lines of the branch. You’ll need a pair of small, sharp scissors to cut the tucks open.

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

Crossover Neck Sweatshirt

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With NancyI love the way that a portion of the sweatshirt bottom ribbing forms a new neckline. I think it dresses up the sweatshirt. This is the way the sweatshirt appears on page 18.

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

The side opening features four contrasting, unique buttons.

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

After studying this shirt for an upgrade, I decided to add a large floral appliqué (page 51) along with a stem and leaves cut from the leftover bottom ribbing. Then, to continue a tone-on-tone theme for all the decorations, I changed the buttons. What do you think of the changes?

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

Kids’ 1-2-3 Cardigan

 SweatShirts Blue8 SewingWithNancy
This is no longer a plain navy sweatshirt. The placket and tabs add center front interest and rows of decorative machine stitching with variegated #30 cotton thread create stripes. This is a great opportunity to select some unique stitch patterns on your sewing machine. The actual closures are sew-in snaps with buttons sewn to the tab tops. Instructions for these sweatshirt changes are found on page 54. The appliquéd numbers are printed in reverse on page 64, so they will be facing the right direction when traced on paper-backed fusible web.

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With NancyAfter cutting off the sleeve ribbing bands and opening up the sleeve seams, sew on the number appliqués. Then re-stitch the side seams, turn up the hems, and sew them in place.

Girls’ Zipped Up Sweatshirt

 Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

Make it easy to slide a sweatshirt onto a squirming toddler by adding a zipper to the neckline. You’ll see the boys’ version of this alteration on page 61. To add a feminine touch, I sewed eyelet lace to the zipper before sewing the zipper to the sweatshirt neckline.

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

The bottom ribbing was removed from the sweatshirt and a facing added to the bottom. A narrow portion of the facing is exposed on the right side of the shirt. Instead of sewing an appliqué (page 66) in the traditional way, I cut the leaf portion from Ultrasuede and made it into a pocket. I chose the colors of red, orange, and pink as a contemporary combination that would never have crossed my mind in the 1990s, when I began working on designer sweatshirts. It’s good to be open to change!

Remake Sweatshirts with Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman on Sewing With Nancy

Restyling, revising, and repurposing are trending terms. Nancy and I decided to revisit some of our favorite transformations.

Best Sweatshirt Makeovers, Nancy Zieman Mary Mulari

Stripes in Motion

A sweatshirt is an ideal palette for expression. Start with a collection of 2-1/2″ fabric strips. With creative stitching, turning, and pleating we’ll show you how to convert a pullover into a cardigan that has visual motion. We call this sweatshirt makeover Stripes in Motion, a segment we recorded in 2010 that still stands the test of time.

The Best Sweatshirt Makeovers, Nancy Zieman & Mary Mulari

Serge and Twist Sweatshirt

Not all sweatshirts, when restyled, end up as shirts! Take a bolder stance and remove the sleeves of a sweatshirt to create an upcycled vest. The Serge and Twist Makeover features 1″ strips cut from the sleeve fabric with serging along the edges.  The idea of serging and then twisting the strips before topstitching to the vest front make for subtle, yet crafty embellishment.

Best of Sweatshirt Makeovers, Nancy Zieman, Mary Mulari

Pink Blossom Cardigan

Adapt one of my techniques to repurpose a pullover into a cardigan. Then, add a colorful blossom and a graceful vine with leaves to the sweatshirt front. It’s a simple addition with great impact and one of our favorite sweatshirt makeovers.

Best Sweatshirt Makeovers, Nancy Zieman, Mary Mulari

Orient Expression Sweatshirt

Now it’s time for an asymmetrical styling of a sweatshirt. We call it the Orient Expression Sweatshirt. Start with a typical sweatshirt and remove the original neckline and hemline. Throwing tradition out the window, use the bottom ribbing to transform the shape of the neckline ribbing. Curious as to how it all comes together? The solution is—watch online.

Best Sweatshirt Makeovers, Nancy Zieman, Mary Mulari

Denim Do-Over Sweatshirt

Make a casual sweatshirt even better with the addition of another favorite fabric—denim. Bias strips cut from old jeans to trim the neckline, sleeves, and the centers of the floral appliqués. A sweatshirt and a beloved pair of worn jeans are all you need to create this Denim Do-Over Sweatshirt!

Best Sweatshirt Makeovers, Nancy Zieman, Mary Mulari

We hope you’ve enjoyed taking a journey through a few of the Sewing With Nancy archives, highlighting our favorite sweatshirt makeovers. As always, I enjoyed being on Sewing With Nancy to showcase how to upcycle, transform, and repurpose cozy sweats!

 

A Collection of Five Books in One—The Best Sweatshirt Makeovers book

 

SewingWithNancy Sweatshirts BookCover

 

Best Sweatshirt Makeovers by Mary Mulari and Nancy Zieman | Sewing With Nancy

Add plackets, zippers, simple appliqués, and so much more. This collection of five books in one boasts 56 sweatshirt transformations for adults and kids. As an added bonus, the book also features a Sweatshirt Gallery with over a dozen designs chock-full of even more fresh ideas! Full-color photos and illustrations accompany step-by-step instructions and full-size pattern pieces. Soft cover, 116 pages. Only $19.99.

The details of these 2017 sweatshirts appeal and inspire you to try some sweatshirt makeovers of your own. The book offers 56 transformations along with many pages of appliqué designs and a gallery of additional sweatshirts created after the original five books in this compilation were written and presented on Sewing With Nancy.

Watch Best Sweatshirt Makeovers (Part One and Part Twoon Sewing With Nancy online.

For a chance to win a copy of the The Best Sweatshirt Makeovers book from Nancy’s Notions, leave a comment below telling us which sweatshirt makeover you’ll try first.

SewingWithNancy Sweatshirts BookCoverHappy Sewing,

Team Nancy Zieman

Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC.

Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC

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88 Comments

  • Susan
    November 24, 2017

    I love the denim trim sweatshirt. I save old jeans and will be trying this style.

  • Sherrie
    November 24, 2017

    I love the weight of sweatshirts and loom forward to learning how to turn them into jackets!

  • Joyce West
    November 24, 2017

    I would make the “Serge and Twist” version but would make a jacket instead of a vest.

  • Martha
    November 24, 2017

    Love Sweatshirts! I have tried making cardigans out of sweatshirts but nothing as cute as these. Such great ideas. I think I would love to try an upcycled vest.

  • Mary Deibler
    November 24, 2017

    Would love to try the stripes in motion sweatshirt .Looks like fun.

  • Barbara Lassiter
    November 24, 2017

    Calico country make over

  • Sunni
    November 24, 2017

    First I thought Strips in motion, then I liked the Oriental shirt, and then I came upon the sweet Denim do over. The decision? Get busy do all 3!

  • Amy W
    November 24, 2017

    Oh My!! This collection is just Wonderful. First, I want to make the “Stripes In Motion” Sweatshirt Makeover for myself. I remember several other episodes, showing the Sweatshirt Makeovers. I would love to make for family members and friends.
    Thank You for this Giveaway.

  • Rita Skraba
    November 24, 2017

    the Calico Country makeover is my favorite.

  • Noreen
    November 24, 2017

    Who knew the many ways you can alter a sweatshirt! I think I would try the pink one with the flower on it and the buttons down the side.

  • Wendy Plyley
    November 24, 2017

    Love the denim do over! The shorter sleeve will solve my dilemma when the sleeves sometimes shrink in the wash and the added button design applique will hide any stain.

  • Marty Roseen
    November 24, 2017

    I am stuck between the Calico Country and The Twisted Strips; I like the subtle detailing of each~. I have this book on my wish list – so it would be great to win it.

  • Pat
    November 24, 2017

    I would definitely make the Flowers and Vines sweatshirt first. I seems like a good introduction to the various techniques. Thanks for all the good ideas and the chance to win.

  • Julie
    November 24, 2017

    I have some sweatshirts I bought for my parents with the ideas to make something cute like above but never got around to doing it. This would help me tremendously. Thanks.

  • Brenda Ackerman
    November 24, 2017

    I would make the Calico Country Sweatshirt first. It just dresses up and adds such soft and classy feel to the sweatshirt just looking at.

  • Kathy Wilson
    November 24, 2017

    Always needing an additional layer in the late fall & winter. With these great suggestions, can easily have some newest to a old standby. Would love to receive this reference to have @ fingertips for that midnight sewing madness.

  • Donna W
    November 24, 2017

    Serge and Twist would be the first one that I would try.

  • Gwen Burns
    November 24, 2017

    I Love Sweatshirts! The best day of the year for me is any day I get to wear a cute sweat shirt! I am a teacher of young children, so I like to wear fun, colorful, engaging—-and most of all, comfortable clothing too. I’ve been sewing for many years, but have not seen this book before. All of the cute sweatshirts shown are adorable! I could easily adapt the children’s designs to my own sweatshirts. Gosh, which would I want to do first??? Maybe the denim do-over, followed by the calico country, then the sweat-vest (a bunch of theses!), then the Orient Expression followed by the pink blossom. All the designs are just me! I think the vests would make great gifts!

  • Tifeni Whittington
    November 24, 2017

    I am going to make the Stripes in Motion sweatshirt first, and add a twist of my own to the cuffs an hem. Thanks for this grand opportunity.

  • Nancy Brusby
    November 24, 2017

    I am not usually a sweatshirt person, but I really like the pink blossom sweatshirt, love the blue/periwinkle-ish color and the cardigan makeover style. Now, THAT’S my style! I would make that one!

  • Barbara Kahn
    November 24, 2017

    Stripes in Motion, but with a zipper!

  • Kim Rayburn
    November 24, 2017

    I really like the Calico Country sweatshirt and would wear that one. I also likes the Denim Do-over one. Must get started after the holidays.

  • Clovis
    November 24, 2017

    I would start with the Stripes In Motion.

  • Louise
    November 24, 2017

    I don’t need a book, I already bought one. I just want to let Mary know that I am sorry for her loss of a very dear friend.
    I’m sure Nancy found comfort knowing that Mary will do whatever she can to keep her legacy alive. Thank you.

  • Lynda Adair
    November 24, 2017

    I would like to try the Crossover Neck and the Denim Do Over Shirts! They look easy to construct, and fun to wear!

  • Jackie T
    November 24, 2017

    I really like the serge & twist technique.

  • Tricia
    November 24, 2017

    I’m loving’ that denim do-over! That’s my style!!

  • Susan Spiers
    November 24, 2017

    Love, love the 1-2-3 Cardigan- maybe in an adult size? Thank you, Susan

  • Kathryn E
    November 24, 2017

    I would like to make stripes in motion.

  • Maggie
    November 24, 2017

    I would make “Stripes in Motion” first & then more. I love sweatshirts

  • Myra
    November 24, 2017

    Love the strips in motion! This will be the first one I will try.

  • Jan N.
    November 24, 2017

    I would make the Serge and Twist Sweatshirt first.

  • Susan T
    November 24, 2017

    I’m not a fan of recycled denim, and yet the Denim Do Over is calling my name. I love the color of sweat shirt and the denim combination. Mary, you have the cutest ideas. You and Nancy always made a great team.

  • Kathryn Smotryski
    November 24, 2017

    I’d do the Calico Country Sweatshirt. Not only is it attractive, it looks comfy!

  • Cande Gordon
    November 24, 2017

    I would make the Stripes in motion 1st! How fun would it be to make a sweatshirt jacket using all your left over Jelly Roll strips!

  • Edna Marks
    November 24, 2017

    I would do the calico country sweatshirt first, then the denim do over.

  • Laurel Lee Pedersen
    November 24, 2017

    I want to do a make over with old denim!

  • Linda E
    November 24, 2017

    I would like to make several of the styles, beginning with Orient Expression.

  • Eileen Jones
    November 24, 2017

    I would love to make the Denim Do Over sweatshirt…what goes better with denim than a sweatshirt?

  • Debbie Seibert
    November 24, 2017

    I love restyled sweatshirts! I can’t think of anything more comfortable.

    I plan to make calico country in a demon shirt underneath a gray sweatshirt. I’ve been waiting for inspiration and I think I found it.

    Also the denim do over. I have saved so much denim from jeans and shirts it’s time I used it.

  • Jan C
    November 24, 2017

    I’m thinking the Kids makeovers. They will be great for the Angel Tree gift.

  • Peggy V
    November 24, 2017

    I would like to try the kids sweatshirt make over. I tried one years ago, but that was not successful. I think I need the book!!!

  • Susan
    November 24, 2017

    These are so cute. I’m looking for a special pattern for a tank top type of shirt and maybe this book could help me. I’m just too scared to try on my own.

  • Jan
    November 24, 2017

    I love the pink blossom sweater.

  • STH
    November 24, 2017

    So many fun ideas here, but I think I’d try the Pink Blossom one first.

  • Anita
    November 24, 2017

    The Orient Expression sweatshirt is #1 on my list. Thanks.
    I love the sweatshirt makeovers. My grandmother used to make cardigans from sweatshirts for us back in the ’60s. She’d bind them with embroidered ribbon (You’d get to pick the colors). Now I know how. Feeling nostalgic about Gramma — and Nancy Z — this week.

  • Zana
    November 24, 2017

    I love the Denim DoOver. That would have to be first.

  • Mary Green
    November 24, 2017

    I’m making the Calico Country Makeover first and I have the perfect shirt to cannibalizes for it.

  • Beverly
    November 24, 2017

    I believe I would make the Orient Expression sweatshirt makeover first. I love simple lines the the sleeves.

  • Mary Ann Jarman
    November 24, 2017

    I’m making the stripes in motion first!!

  • Pat Berkan
    November 24, 2017

    Love, Love, Love these! I have some sweatshirts that I was going to decorate and never did. Now I have some great ideas and will be trying the Stripes in Motion and Denim trim. Thanks for bringing our attention to this great book!

  • Loice Tucker
    November 24, 2017

    I watch all Nacys’ Shows on tv includes this one if the sweater makeover. Love them all, but since I have small grandchildren I will be making several of the Kid’s 1-2-3 cardigans. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  • Pam
    November 24, 2017

    I like the stripes in motion sweatshirt. Thanks for the opportunity to win the book!

  • Kathryn
    November 24, 2017

    I would make the calico country makeover.

  • Gail Beam
    November 25, 2017

    I would love to try adding zippers to the sleeves and sides of a sweatshirt! Love zippers and these sweatshirts look so cute and so in right now.

  • Joann Jarman
    November 25, 2017

    The serge and twist looks like fun.

  • Vickie Robertson
    November 25, 2017

    I’m the Queen of denim so it would be the denim do over for sure.

  • L Watson
    November 25, 2017

    I believe I would try the “Orient Expression” sweatshirt first. I like the neckline. I would also take the idea of the “girls zipped up sweatshirt” and apply it to an adult sweatshirt, with the zipper running from top to bottom. I have many sweatshirts that I have to pull over my head, that I want to add zippers to instead.

  • BRENDA JORDAN
    November 25, 2017

    THE “Calico Country” IS TOO DARN CUTE!!! I CAN THINK OF SO MANY VERSIONS OF THAT.

  • Migdalia
    November 25, 2017

    I am in a dilemma. I like the Calico Country Sweatshirt and the Orient Expression Sweatshirt. The first one I like it because I can upcycle it using an old shirt or blouse. I could even use a blouse that does not quite fit anymore. The second one I think my mom would love it! Thank you for such great ideas.

  • Doreen Linehan
    November 25, 2017

    I like the stripes in motion sweatshirt.

  • Anne Z
    November 25, 2017

    I love the crossover neckline.The side detail is awesome.

  • Cindy K
    November 25, 2017

    Calico Country, Orient Expression and Denium Do-over all appeal to me

  • Kathleen
    November 26, 2017

    I’ll make the sweatshirt vest.

  • Helen in KY
    November 26, 2017

    Would love to try the denim do-over. So many good ideas to incorporate in several of the styles. Love Mary’s wonderful ideas!

  • Jean Droze
    November 26, 2017

    I love working with denim. The Denim Do-over would be my first choice, along with more denim emblishment.

  • Sandra
    November 26, 2017

    I love the denim makeover and recycle old jeans that belonged to my sons years ago.

  • Joan
    November 27, 2017

    I so appreciate that you people are carrying on with Nancy’s work. Though not much of a sewer myself, I’ve learned many lessons from Nancy, watching her first on TV, and later on, on my computer. You have filled the gap and made her loss to all of us easier by continuing to send out blogs and keeping her sewing shows alive. What a team she assembled over the years!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Robin
    November 27, 2017

    The first one I would try would be Stripes in Motion. I love the look of it and the versatility of being able to change the colors of the stripes. Denim would be my second makeover since that’s what I wear the most.

  • Carol
    November 28, 2017

    Love Mary’s work.. I can think of some things to do for granddaughter…and her brothers who are *crazy* about space.. moon and stars appliques, maybe?

  • Eva
    November 28, 2017

    I love the Calico Country! Saw Mary in person at a store in Carbondale, IL . Name of store is Calico Country! Love all Mary’s ideas.

  • Pat Fagan
    November 28, 2017

    Pink Blossom for me would be my 1st choice but I really love them all. Make great gifts also!

  • beth
    November 28, 2017

    I like the serge and twist sweatshirt.

  • Jan Brown
    November 30, 2017

    I’ll try Country Calico. I like all the designs but really appreciate any layered-look clothing–that look is stylish without overheating me :-). Thanks for carrying on. Nancy’s sorely missed…

  • Deborah
    November 30, 2017

    I would start with a child’s sweatshirt. If it goes well there will be no stopping me.

  • Deborah
    November 30, 2017

    I would start with a child’s sweatshirt. 2T

  • Roberta A.
    December 1, 2017

    I like several of them, but I would like to try the Orient Expressions. I had made a sweatshirt into a jacket for my mother several years ago and it came out really nice.

  • Cathy Dillehay
    December 17, 2017

    I love the denim trimmed sweatshirt. I have a huge box of jeans that I turn into aprongs, bags, etc and have lots of scraps to use up. Thanks for this idea!

  • Jane Moore
    January 6, 2018

    I would love to make the Orient Expression sweatshirt.

  • Diane L
    January 27, 2018

    I would make the Pink Blossom Cardigan for my mother who we recently had to move into assisted living. Her birthday is coming up and she loves pink.

  • Sandy
    May 1, 2018

    With summer coming, I don’t need sweatshirts, BUT who doesn’t need a few wonderful T-shirts. I think quite a few of these transformations could be applied to T-shirts.

    • Cathy Pascoe Dillehay
      May 1, 2018

      I totally agree. I am going for one of my “well loved” tee shirts and give it a go! Wish me luck, thanks for the idea.

  • ahegao stickers
    June 2, 2018

    Popme Yarnall thanks :3

  • Mary
    June 22, 2018

    My mother-in-law was an excellent seamstress who made her own clothes. Now she resides in a memory care unit in another state. It is easier for her caregivers to dress her in plain sweatshirts and tee shirts than the clothes that she had made. I plan to start with the orient expression, some cardigans and a vest.

  • Gail Sorensen
    January 17, 2019

    How to I get copies of the sweatshirt makeover books. Thank you

  • Mary Ann Canty
    June 6, 2020

    I would love to do the Denim Trim on a t-shirt, to start!
    Thanks. I used to love watching Nancy’s TV program. Is it still on, even though she has passed away?

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