Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tutorial time!: Lace back boat neck upcycled sweatshirt

So I have this Miami University (Ohio, not Florida) sweatshirt that I used to wear a lot but for a long time it's just been sitting in my closet. So, I decided to upcycle it! I toyed with the idea of making it into a boatneck and then inspiration struck when I saw a girl with a boat neck sweatshirt that had a lace panel in the back. I loved it so much that I decided to make it! It's not too hard: it only took me an hour. There is some sewing required but it is mostly straight seams. Anyway, enjoy!

Supplies needed:
  • Pins. Always, always, always, for any project, use pins.
  • 1/4-1/2 of a yard of lace fabric (use your judgment and base it upon how much of the sweatshirt you want to be lace) matching or contrasting the sweatshirt
  • 1 old or new sweatshirt, hooded or crewneck
  • 1 package of double fold bias tape to match the lace color
  • 1 spool of thread to match the lace color
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper (a seamstress's best friend)

Once you have all that, you're ready to get started! Begin by cutting out the hood/collar very close to the hood/collar.

Try it on yourself, and determine how much extra you want to cut off. For me, I wanted it to be very slouchy, so I cut an extra inch off of the neckline all around. So it's even, mark a 1 inch line with a ruler around the neckline.

After doing that, make a judgment about where you want the panel to stop and draw a line. Then, about half an inch above that line, draw a parallel line: this is where you will cut (but not yet! Don't be too hasty!)

Now, rip out the seams in the shoulders and along the sides until you hit the bottom line. Now, you can cut across the top line. Go ahead! Don't be shy!

Now you have a piece of sweatshirt slightly smaller than the size of the lace panel you will put in. See?:

And you have a sweatshirt with a bunch of it cut out, like this:

Keep the piece that you cut out of the sweatshirt! It will double as your pattern piece for cutting out the lace.

Now, on to the sewing! Because of my own laziness, I have no pictures of this, but trust me in the process and comment if you have any questions on my directions. Alright, here goes!

  1. Cut the lace out using the cut out sweatshirt piece as a guide, giving yourself a 1/2 inch seam allowance on the shoulder and side edges, no seam allowance on the neckline and a 1 inch seam allowance on the bottom edge.
  2. Pin and sew the bias tape along the neckline edge.
  3. Pin and sew the shoulders, one at a time.
  4. Pin and sew the sides, one at a time.
  5. Pin and sew the bottom.
  6. Fix any holes at the corners that may have been accidentally left.

And there you go! You now have a wonderful upcycled sweatshirt!


  1. Love it. For some reason, I never thought to use bias tape on lace. Cool!

    1. Yeah! It's just easier to bind it with bias tape since lace doesn't sew to itself very easily. It also gives it a nice, finished look!