How to Instantly Update a Sweatshirt (no sewing required)

posted by Andrea | 03/28/2018

It’s been 2 to 3 years since I’ve purchased any new spring or summer clothing for myself as I was pregnant last year, and apparently not in the mood for shopping the year before that.

So now that Spring is officially here (based on the calendar, not the chilly weather here in MI) I figured it was time to go through my closet to see what will work for the warmer weather that I hope will show up sooner than later.

I purged two bags of clothing I knew I wouldn’t wear, and then headed to one of our local thrift stores on a BOGO clothing day (with an additional $5 off coupon).

I was thrilled to find several “new” items for myself — everything in the photo below was purchased for $14!! Can you tell what colors I wear!?! It’s all part of my efforts to reduce decision fatigue as I blogged about yesterday!

I also altered a bunch of the clothing in my closet to make it work for me now — based on the fact that I’m no longer pregnant (yay!), I’ve lost a few extra pounds (double yay!), and styles have changed quite a bit in the last 2 to 3 years.

  • I hemmed a few skirts and dresses that weren’t really long enough to be true maxi skirts and made them shorter dresses and skirts that I feel are cute.
  • I made a few long sleeve shirts into short sleeve shirts because I didn’t like the cuffs of the long sleeve shirts
  • I reworked a couple of my most favorite maternity shirts so they would fit me now (and NOT look like maternity shirts!)
  • I slimmed down 2 pairs of flare yoga pants into capri yoga leggings
  • I turned 2 pairs of boot cut jeans into Bermuda shorts
  • I turned 2 pairs of straight leg pants into capris
  • I cut off the cuffs and the hood of one of my well-loved sweatshirts (I’ve had it since college) for a different look.
  • I cut off the bottom of a sweatshirt dress and cut the sleeves to be 3/4 length (it was way too short for me to actually wear it as a dress, but too long for a shirt)

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As I was cutting up my sweatshirts, I thought — these are SUCH simple projects that anyone could do (as long as you can use a scissors!)

There is absolutely NO sewing required, and with a few quick snips, you can give almost any sweatshirt a brand new look.

I’ve cut up several of my older sweatshirts — sometimes, I even seek out “new” sweatshirts from thrift stores, just so I can cup them up and make them look different once I get home! I almost always get questions and compliments when I wear my updated sweatshirts out and about.

The ideas I’m sharing in today’s post are ultra-simple and require no sewing, as sweatshirt fabric won’t fray. However, if you’re feeling extra creative, there are so many fun ways you can alter a sweatshirt — just do a quick Pinterest search!

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How to Instantly Update a Sweatshirt (no sewing required)…

Step 1: Cut a V-slit in the neckline.

Step 2: Cut the cuffs off and roll up the sleeves a bit.

DONE!!

It’s so much cuter and more tailored-looking than a traditional sweatshirt… but just as comfy!

As I mentioned above, you can also try cutting the bottom off of a longer sweatshirt. The bottom will naturally roll up giving you a much different look for about 2 minutes of work!

And if you want a bigger neckline, you could cut the entire hood and/or collar off the sweatshirt — you could even make it an off-the-shoulder- sweatshirt!

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These cute, updated sweatshirts are perfect for pairing with capris or shorts on a cool spring or summer day — they look just as cute with a colorful scarf and a fun bag as they do with a bright tank top and yoga pants.

If you totally mess up and hate the finished look, just cut the sleeves totally off and give it to your children or grandchildren to used for dressup!

I’m so excited for my new-to-me, updated spring wardrobe.

I feel like I basically have a closet full of new clothing for less than $15, thanks to my thrift store finds, my self-altered clothing, and my updated sweatshirts! 

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26 comments

  1. Pat

    05/31/2018

    I have those almost exact yoga pants, except size 20 and yes I have done many hours of yoga. It ain’t pretty but it’s good for me. Anyway I’m tired of them and I think I’ll borrow your idea. Capris are my favorite summer pants!

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  2. Charlene Uchtman

    04/03/2018

    Nice! My granddaughters would wear the cut off pieces as head bands and wrist bands.

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  3. Suzanne Harkness-Woo

    03/31/2018

    I’m curious about the yoga pants – when you cut the sides and re-stitched them, did you use just a straight stitch all the way down, even at the hem? Any trouble with runs or unravelling?

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    Andrea Reply:

    I sew first, then cut — it’s easier for me that way. I always cut off the hem and resew it once the sides are sewn — worked just fine for me and no unravelling.

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  4. Rhonda

    03/30/2018

    I did this on a few shirts that I haven’t worn in a long time! One is sweatshirt material, like yours – too long to be a shirt, too short to be a dress – now I’m wearing it again after a simple makeover. Thanks for the ideas!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yay — glad my tips worked for you!!!

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  5. Trina

    03/30/2018

    Andrea – that dress you scored is uber cute! I love that you’ve chosen a color palette with neutrals. I’m headed that direction myself.

    Thanks for sharing your life and tips with this blog. I’ve been reading for years and never fail to find inspiration. I’ve incorporated some of your “systems” into my household. Also love that you keep it real. I love me a good Pinterest or IG session, but while that’s inspiring, it’s often not realistic or sustainable.

    Glad you and the black g aren’t going anywhere for a while!

    Trina

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    Trina Reply:

    Oops! That was supposed to say glad you and the blog aren’t going anwhere for a while. Darn auto correct!

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  6. Evie

    03/29/2018

    I bought some Hanes sleep shirts a couple years ago, not for sleeping, but just to wear around the house. I felt too restricted by the neck bands, so right away I cut a U shaped neckline on each one. First I cut off the neck bands, and then, starting at the shoulder seams, I traced around a lunch sized plate so the U would be just as deep as the one on my favorite U-neck tee shirt. I cut the U out, reinforced the shoulder seams with a quick couple of stitches with a needle and thread, and have been so comfy in those sleep shirts ever since! These shirts are just tee shirt material (not sweatshirt material), but they have never frayed. Now you have me eyeing my old sweatshirt, Andrea! 🙂

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  7. Turner

    03/28/2018

    These ideas are so great! Now to find an old sweatshirt…

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  8. Susanne

    03/28/2018

    I am feeling a big closet purge coming up! Thanks for the tips for “updating” some of my things before I toss them completely.

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  9. Melissa D.

    03/28/2018

    I’d love to know your process for slimming down flare yoga pants into capri yoga leggings!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I sort of showed it in the pictures — I just turn everything inside out, put the leggings over yoga pants, and pin where the seam and hem are. Then I sew, cut, turn right-side out again.

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  10. Michelle

    03/28/2018

    I am just curious…since I despise shopping for clothes, and I have a few of these pieces in my closet–just waiting to be purged, do you feel these altered pieces are appropriate for going out and about in public? Or more for around the house and to do yard work in?

    I already have a few I’ve been thinking about altering to keep in the camping box since I know I don’t have to look my best when we camp, but I’m just not sure about everyday wear.

    Thanks, Andrea.

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — you tell me! you saw the pictures!
    I go anywhere in these sweatshirts and was under the impressions that they looked OK 🙂
    The grubby sweatshirt with the pocket in the front is more for yard work, but the others I wear all the time with cute pants, a scarf, and assume I look just fine… but I am definitely not a fashionista! 🙂

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  11. Kate

    03/28/2018

    Very cute new purchases! I am hoping for an updated “mix n match wardrobe” post!

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    Andrea Reply:

    thanks Kate 🙂
    I really should do another mix and match post — it was a lot of work though and I’m so NOT a fashion guru in any way!!

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  12. Lynn

    03/28/2018

    I love this idea Andrea! For some reason, at my age, I cannot stand anything tight around my neck and this is perfect for some of the sweatshirts I have! I will do this tonight.

    Thanks again!

    Lynn

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    Andrea Reply:

    my mom says the same thing — she doesn’t see how I can wear scarves 🙂
    yes, try cutting the hood and neckline a bit — it might be just what you like!

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    Lynn Reply:

    Yes! I had to reply again, because I did this to my sweatshirts and LOVE them! My sister is doing them now too! 🙂 I have some inexpensive string strapped cami tops and I put one under my sweatshirts that are shorter and it looks so cute! Of course I match up the colors! 🙂 Thanks again!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yay!! Glad you liked how they turned out. I’m loving all my updated sweatshirts!

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    Lynn Reply:

    I had to share our post with you. I referred directly back to this post of yours and added the tanks underneath!

    https://fulltimefulllife.com/how-to-update-your-sweatshirt/

    I hope you like it!

    Thanks again!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Lynn — looks great!

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  13. Anne

    03/28/2018

    I love these ideas! Definitely want to try the sweatshirt trick.

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  14. Cara

    03/28/2018

    Great finds and awesome ideas on how to alter clothes! What thrift store do you shop at?

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    Andrea Reply:

    we like the ones that are pretty local to us (not chains). Our favorite 2 are Love Inc and Revive — but that probably doesn’t make any sense to you unless you live in our area 🙂

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