Friday, February 8, 2013

DIY sweatshirt refashion - trompe l'oeil plaid

Giving shape and style to an old, oversized sweatshirt:
completely inspired by 3.1 Phillip Lim

left: la garconne - collage by moi

trompe l'oil plaid sweatshirt refashion: supplies

you need:
* an oversized plain sweatshirt (if you don't have an old one in your closet, Hanes  are cheap!)
* small piece of knit fabric (optional - not needed if the sweatshirt is too long, in this case the extra length of the sweatshirt can be cut off))
* a Seam Ripper
* ruler and a white water soluble marker (Dritz Mark B Gone Combo Pack)
* scissors, thread of the color of your sweatshirt
* sewing machine
* Twin Needles Size 80 - 3.0mm (for the topstitching)

trompe l'oil plaid sweatshirt refashion: tutorial / how-to:

Add caption
separate the front of the sweatshirt using the seam ripper
surprises of the DIY: note how this sweatshirt is all twisted and badly cut: luckily, since it's really big, I'll be able to fix that.
Using the rulers and a water soluble marker, trace the pattern of the plaid

I wanted to remove the logo of the sweatshirt (indicated with the " <---"  ) 
and the front had a small hole that I circled around, 
therefore the size of my plaid was determined by these two factors.

write a number into the squares, and take a picture, so in case of a disaster,
you know how to re-compose your pattern !
cut along the lines
Looking at the picture, some parts of the pattern are sewn on the reverse, to give the plaid an even more textured look.
Because my sweatshirt is really big and bulky, I used a piece of paper to trace the part of the armhole, and matching the shape of the other side of the sweatshirt (since the two sides are cut in a completely different way), then flip the fabric inside out, and cut along the pattern

I cut two strips of navy blue heavy knit fabric (1-1/2" wide )  

patiently, start to sew the pieces together, using a zig zag stitch with seams on the right side

sew: 1 to 3 - 2 to the big part inside out,  4 to 11, then 4-11 to the 2 and big and so on until you have 4 different quadrants, then use the two strips previously cut and bast the quadrants on the strips positioned as a cross.
Sew the sides of the quadrants on the strips leaving 1/4" from the side, with a small zig-zag stitch.
re-size (if necessary) the back of the sweatshirt accordingly to the new shape of the front, and  re-size the sleeves 

place back the collar and use the twin needle for the topstitching -
I did the twin needle topstitching also on the shoulders and on the waistband. 

hope you like it!

xox, d.

keep in touch! 


  1. Such a good DIY! I mean you turned a sweatshirt into such a NOT sweatshirt! Who does that? Love this and posted your finished photo and a link back to you on truebluemeandyou.

  2. Amazing job, D! Love how you repurposed this, and how amazing it came out! Certainly I'd rather this than spending the money on the Lim version. And it really does seem quite simple, with the exception of the double needle. I'm so scared of that thing lol! I've never used it because I don't know how and it just looks scary!
    Smart n Snazzy

  3. What a great idea! I linked to it on my blog:

  4. Love this project, so creative. Really great looking afterward from the old version. Awesome job!!

  5. Hi Donatella!
    I've featured your sweater jigsaw into a Sweater Refashion RoundUp in my blog SergerPepper...
    Hugs from Italy,
    MammaNene @

  6. 1. How is it that you straighten the grain and resolve the extra size/material? 2. The first picture of the tutorial has "add a caption" under it. The design seems to be already sewn in this picture and a piece cut from the bottom, so where does it fit into the tutorial? 3. How wide are the seams you are sewing? 4. Just how do you sew the numbered pieces together? I do not understand the string of unseparated instructions under the picture and am confused.

    1. I just noticed the first picture (which I added by mistake since it's a bad one)
      So this sweatshirt was an XL and I'm a size S/M, so the extra material just got cut off to straighten the grain.
      I kept the seams at the edge of the foot of my sewing machine.
      write down the numbers of the different parts, take a picture and once you cut all the pieces, put the pieces back together by the number: some are back right face out, some right face in to give the extra texture. hope this helps! Donatella


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