Upcycle Project! From Sweater to Sweater Jacket!

December 8, 2017By Angela WolfGarment, Sewing, Upcycling 14 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

I bought this sweater a few years back because the fabric is soft and fluffy, but I never wear it because the collar is too tight! If I could just open that collar up; then it occurred to me – upcycle into a sweater jacket by adding a zipper.
Sweater Zip Blog

Supplies:

  • 22” separating zipper (measure in the center of the sweater from the top of the collar to the hemline to determine the length of the zipper)
  • 4 pieces of vinyl cut the length of the center front by 3” wide
  • Fusible interfacing 2” wide by the length of the center front of the sweater, including the collar
  • Non-stick foot
  • Zipper foot
  • Universal thread in coordinating color
  • THE Dream Machine

Prep the Sweater

  1. Start by marking the center front of the sweater. I am marking the sweater a contrasting color thread, if the fabric allows you can use a fabric marking pen or tailors chalk.

Sweater Zip Blog
Sweater Zip Blog

  1. Turn the sweater inside out. Center the fusible interfacing along the center of the sweater and press in place.

Sweater Zip Blog

  1. Cut along the center marking, from hem to the top of the collar.

Sweater Zip Blog
Sweater Zip Blog

Sew the Zipper to the Vinyl

  1. Line up each side of the zipper with the vinyl as shown. Stitch along the edge of the zipper teeth.

Sweater Zip Blog

  1. Be sure to push the zipper head out of the way while stitching along the zipper teeth.

Sweater Zip Blog
Sweater Zip Blog

  1. With right sides together, layer another piece of vinyl. Stitch. Try to stitch along the same stitch.

Sweater Zip Blog
Sweater Zip Blog

  1. You have a choice to finish the ends of the vinyl or just cut off the edges. The vinyl doesn’t fray, so either looks great! In order to finish the edges, sew the edge as shown.

Sweater Zip Blog

  1. Trim the corner, so when the fabric is folded there won’t be any extra bulk. 😊

Sweater Zip Blog
Sweater Zip Blog

  1. Change the foot to a NON-STICK FOOT and choose the triple stitch (1-05 on THE Dream Machine), and change the stitch length to 4.5. Move the needle close to the zipper by adjusting the width.

Sweater Zip Blog
Sweater Zip Blog

  1. Stitch along the edge of the zipper as shown.

Sweater Zip Blog

  1. Lay the vinyl flat and trim the width of the zipper to the vinyl down to 1 ½” or 1 ¾” – either width will work.

Sweater Zip Blog

Attach the Vinyl to the Sweater

  1. With right sides together, line up the vinyl with the edge of the sweater as shown.

Sweater Zip Blog

  1. Use fabric clips to secure the vinyl to the sweater knit.

Sweater Zip Blog

  1. Change the stitch to a straight stitch with a stitch length of 3.5. Stitch with a ½” seam allowance.

Sweater Zip Blog
Sweater Zip Blog

  1. Trim the edge of the vinyl at the top of the collar. (Trim at the bottom of the sweater if you didn’t finish the edges as shown previously).

Sweater Zip Blog

That’s it! The sweater is now more of a sweater-jacket and I can hardly wait to wear it. On a side note – If you can’t find vinyl to match your sweater, you could just sew in the exposed zipper. Can’t wait to see your upcycled sweaters! #brothersews #angelawolf

Cheers,
Angela
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14 Comments

  • What a brilliantly simple idea! I only have a Dreamweaver (which I LOVE) but I know it will do the job just as well. I also know I have a few sweaters that would be much better as jackets.
    Thank you so much for this tutorial!

  • Angela, what a genius idea! Adorable finished product – so cute that I just went to my Goodwill pile and pulled out a pretty mustard gold turtleneck (the last turtleneck I will ever buy for the same reason you up-cycled yours!) that I have only worn once. The collar on mine is really long, probably 8″. Do you think this would work if I fold it down to the inside and stitch it down before I proceed with attaching the zipper?

    Thanks!
    CeCe in Cedar Park

    • Hi CeCe,
      If you collar is that long you have a few options:
      1- you could use the long collar as a collar and facing. Sew the zipper where is ends half way up the collar, then fold the collar over to the backside covering the zipper tape. Which I think is what you are talking about. that would be SUPER cute and nicer finish. The only think I would change is only add the vinyl to the half collar, not all the way or that will be too thick to sew through.

      2. you could add the zipper all the way to the end like I did here and when the jacket is half zipped up the collar would drape open over the shoulder edge. That would be cute too 😉
      Can’t wait to see your sweater!
      Cheers,
      Angela

  • I have to echo the word Genius! I’ve had a couple of fails at converting pullovers. What I needed was, is your fusible interfacing tip AND attaching zipper to added fabric.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  • this is such a great idea! i have several sweaters I never wear because they are too tight in the neck or too large in the body, thanks to your tutorial they can now be brought back to life! instead of straight stitch you could always do one of the many fabulous decorative stitches down each side.

  • Sweaters are a-waiting! But, I am also going to use this technique on a small dog’s sweater. He has a bigger tummy than when I first purchased the sweater! Thanks for the idea of using the fusible to hold the add-on zipper.

  • If you don’t want to use vinyl, how about satin type fabric? Also did you sew both pieces of vinyl in the same seam or did you trim the inside piece to cover the seam when you left the zipper open? If I used a satin type fabric I would turn under the inside piece and sew it to cover the edge and prevent fraying.

  • I love sewing zippers, the neighbor ladies around here hate zippers. I never been taught, yet I sewed my first one in hand bag I made and the women around here couldn’t believe I never done it before. ANd I’m male . My wife wanted a sewing machine, so I bought her a Brother, she never touched it, it sat for a year. So my neighbor lady gave me some material and a bunch of zippers and being a welder fabricator I made a hand bag using my metal fabrication skills and applied the same principles, only use thread instead of a welder. Love sewing now. Since I bought a serger and a viking topaz 40 embroidering machine

  • Love the idea. The vinyl band also gives a little extra width across the bust. Am planning to use this idea on a sweatshirt. Thanks.

  • Great idea. Like most, I wouldn’t have thought of the fusible to prevent raveling… This may be tried on my husband’s sweater. He has the same problem Linda’s dog has-tummy expansion!

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