Are you the type of person who sees potential in things? As a creative type, I see potential in almost all things - which can feel like a blessing and a curse at times. It can be difficult to get rid of things, but when it ends in a great project like this, it's ideal!
In the case of this project, I nearly got rid of the sweater after watching some episodes of Marie Kondo*. However, before I dropped my bags off at the local thrift store, I also watched an episode of BestDressed with some awesome thrift flips. (Here's her video on Youtube). I had been reluctant to get rid of the sweater but I'm so glad I didn't! This blue knitted half-zip LLBean men’s sweater was PERFECT to try out the project she shared. After I made this first one, I wore it to a coffee date with my good friend and here's what happened:
Some popular online shops have cropped sweaters like these for around $60 — and we made ours for under $10 for both!!
After wearing mine for a coffee date, my lovely friend Alexis (Here's her Instagram), snapped some pics and gave me and the sweater a bazillion compliments, so we went to the thrift store and found her a similar men’s half zip AND I promised her to show her how to do it! She's always wanted to learn how to sew, and since it's so much more fun to make projects with friends, here we are! I made us a pot of tea, we caught up a bit, and got to stitching. Here's the before for her 90's vibe sweater (L), and my finished example sweater (R).
So, here is a highly photographic journey through making this 90’s vibe cropped sweater project! Here’s the basic run down step by step. The trick is to keep the bottom edge or cuffs and on her sweater we moved the "Reactor" patch.
4. Then, slip your sweater on. To measure where you want your final bottom hem to fall, fold the bottom of the sweater up until you like the length! Add some straight pins or safety pins along that line, to mark off the length. You can take off the sweater and lay it back flat on your work surface.
5. Now to actually crop the sweater! You will take into account about 1/2 inch seam allowance AND the length of the cuff/bottom band that you want to reattach. From the line where you have your pins, subtract the length of the bottom band, but add about 1/2 inch for seam allowance. Where this falls, cut along THIS line the width of the sweater. Lay flat and be sure your hems front and back are perfectly aligned!
6. Once you have the sweater cut, flip the bottom hem band inside out. Then - this is potentially a tricky bit - place the band around the outside of the bottom cut edge of the sweater, with the cut edges lined up.
7. Pin your two pieces together — if one band or sweater has more fabric, you can add a few darts as we have here by simply folding the cut edge over itself, and pinning in place. Since we added two, we made sure they were aligned with the edges of the collar.
8. Once, pinned, you can start sewing!
9. Sew along the edge of your band and the seam allowance, all the way around your sweater. I used a simple straight stitch, and set it to a very low tension.
Since this was Alexi’s first time sewing, I had her get a feel for the machine and presser foot on a simple piece of cotton fabric first. She nailed it! I handled the seam-over-seam spots along the edge where the sewing machine got mad for a moment at the amount of fabric, but other than those few spots, she sewed the whole bottom hem! Woot!
10. Once you’ve sewn your band and bottom edge of your sweater together, if it’s a wide cuff as mine was, trim the excess seam allowance, and shake off the little fluffy bits and you’re done!! If your bottom hem was a bit more narrow such as Alexis’ solid 90’s find, You may need to trim the excess, top seam sew -- this is sewing on the front side of the garment right along the same line that you just sewed -- and potentially add some hand sewing along the spots where it wants to pop up as we did here. Another mini sewing lesson in the greater lesson. ;)
11. Final step, rock your new cropped spring sporty eco-friendly DIY up-cycled cool as heck sweater master piece!
Well! There we have it, a few solid sweaters inspired by a love of mens wear, comfy yet cute style, and doing it ourselves.
I love to empower others by sharing creative skills and ideas! We all have a creative muscle, we just need to exercise it. : ) There’s so much value in learning new things for our brains, confidence, and it’s just truly fun. It’s great to make mistakes, try again, and just play and follow your ideas. The more we use our imaginations and follow our creative vision, we can see so many more possibilities in our lives, and feel a sense of freedom! Getting into the creative flow allows us to process some feels, relieve some stress as our worries to fall away, and have fun just being in the moment.
Plus, invite your friends make some tea, and you’ve got a lovely Sunday afternoon bonding sesh. Alexis and I have done several crafty projects together — we’ve painted mugs, collaged some vision boards, and now we’ve busted out the sewing machine and up-cycled these awesome sweaters. I see many more crafty fun times to come!
Did you try this project out? Or have a project you would like to see? Let me know in a comment below!
Special thank you to my hubby for snapping these incredible pictures of our project! You can find his work here!