Big & Frumpy to Casual & Comfy


Introducing the eyesore, It is huge, gray, and in need of love. I’ve had this sweatshirt for years and it has always been about 3 sizes too big. I decided to dress it up a bit so I could get a little more use out of it.

Let me start off by saying that I am in NO way a seamstress. I can make pillows and curtains like a champ but clothes are much more difficult. Sometimes I get it right and make a masterpiece but it takes me forever to get to that point. With that said I thought I would tackle this project with no research.  I have seen this sweatshirt on Pinterest for the past year or so and I loved it! I thought it looked really simple to replicate.


I have tried to find the original source for the photo above with no luck. I believe it is supposed to go to an Etsy page that has closed. If anyone knows the correct link for the photo please let me know it, so that I can give credit where it is due.

Lucky you, you get to learn from my mistakes :)

Here is the sweatshirt before. It was huge! I ended up cutting off more than 8 inches!

Sweatshirt Before

I started at the fabric store and found some flannel plaid that I loved. I ended up getting just a yard of fabric. 2 different colors of thread, one that matched the sweatshirt and one that matched the flannel. Then I picked up sew-on snaps, because frankly I am too lazy to make button holes. (I also got buttons that I planned on using just as decoration but I didn’t end up using them.)

1.0 Supplies

I started by removing the front pocket. It was easy with the seam riper.

3.0 Front Pocket combined

Then I determined where I wanted to have the front cut.

4.0 Front Cut Combined

For the hood lining I traced the existing hood and sewed the pieces together. (I’m sorry I spaced on getting pictures of that step.) I gave myself a little extra fabric to work with so that I could wrap the lining around the front of the hood. I pinned it with about an inch folded over and stitched it on.

5.0 Hood

Then measured out my arms and gave myself a bit of extra inches and pinned off the sleeves. When you do these remember to gradually lessen the measurement to make the sleeve tapered. I did a simple stitch first just to make sure it fit and then went back over it with a more heavy duty stitch later. Repeat this step on both arms.

7.0 Sleeve Combined

I removed the fabric at the end of the sleeve with a seam riper. To add the flannel to the sleeves I created a cuff on the end of the sleeves. I cut a 3 inch thick strip of flannel and created a tube by sewing the ends together. I just folded the flannel tube over the end of the sleeve and sewed them together.

6.0 Sleeve Cuff Combined

After both sleeves were done I tailored in the sides of the sweatshirt to fit a bit better. For this all I needed to do was sew a straight line down from where my armpit will be. (I will probably go back and bring the waist in a little bit, but for this tutorial I skipped that step.)

11.0 Tailoring Combined

I then continued the fold over from the hood all the way down the front of the sweatshirt.

8.0 Front Fold Over

I sewed on the snap ons for the front, by hand.

9.0 Snaps Combined

Then I sewed lines into the front of the sweatshirt in my attempt to follow my original inspiration.

10.0 Front Lines

Next step was to sew on the bottom thingy (I can’t come up with a good name for it.) As you can see it wouldn’t have looked finished at the bottom if I hadn’t of put it back on.

12.0 Bottom Thingy Combined

The last step was to add flannel to the other side.

13.0 Other Side

1 old sweatershirt, 9 hours of time, $10 (for fabric, thread and snaps), and a bit of inspiration later it was done!

before and after

With the snaps there is even 3 different ways to wear the sweatshirt

14.0 Multiple Looks

What do you think? Would you change anything?



11 responses to “Big & Frumpy to Casual & Comfy

  1. Pingback: Fab Find: Fall-Lover's Top Finds - East Coast Creative Blog·

  2. What a great job!

    I have been dying to do a project like this. I keep pinning inspiration, can’t wait to start and actually do one of my own.


  3. I absolutely love how you did this. I have so many fleece blankets that are too small and shirts and sweats that are to small. Instead of throwing them away I can fall in love with them again. It even looks like it’s easy enough to do by hand since I don’t own a machine. Thanks!


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