DIY Sweatshirt Embellishment | The Geneva Convention: DIY Sweatshirt Embellishment

Thursday, March 12, 2015

DIY Sweatshirt Embellishment

DIY Sweatshirt Loungewear Embellishment
DIY Sweatshirt Loungewear Embellishment

I feel bad about this, because I finished this wonderful piece of clothing back in December and I've worn it nonstop since. It's a little unfair how long it has taken me to get it up here. The good news is, it isn't as complicated as the directions might imply, and although the fabric doesn't quite scream spring, the style certainly does. I may have worn it all winter, but I'm confident it will transition well with the season, and I'm looking forward to styling it with some warmer-weather pieces.

1 plain sweatshirt (I got a sort of off-white/gray one from the thrift store)
A pencil
A sewing machine or a lot of patience
A ruler
A couple yards of ribbon
Several handfuls of beads
A needle and thread for the hand sewing

First, you need to sketch your cut-outs. I wanted an open back with ribbons criss-crossing it, so I started by tracing a triangle. To do this, I laid the sweatshirt flat on a board with the back facing up, and used a ruler to trace a straight line from the lowest part of the neck hole to the point level with it on each shoulder. Then, I traced a perpendicular line about 15 inches down the back of the shirt, starting at the low point in the neck. Finally, I traced a line from the end points on the shoulders to the end of the 15 inch line down the back to finish the equilateral triangle. (In the picture below, you can see how this worked, as well as the first trial, which I decided wasn't quite dramatic enough. Yours should only have one shape!

DIY Sweatshirt Loungewear Embellishment

Once you've finished your triangle, turn the shirt over and create a complementary triangle on the front. Use the same top anchor points at the shoulders as you did on the back, and measure a much more shallow V (mine was only a couple inches, because the neck dropped lower in the front than in the back).

Next, cut out the shapes you made and pin them back about a half inch all the way around to form a hem, though note that your hems should narrow to nothing as you reach the bottom of each V.

DIY Sweatshirt Loungewear Embellishment

Now it's time to sew. You could do this by hand if forced, but it's a lot easier to do with a wide zigzag stitch on the machine. Hem the shirt all the way around to secure and prevent fraying.

The shirt is now ready to decorate! I loved the idea of the criss cross with a slouchy, over-sized look that would be comfortable to lounge in, so I laid the sweatshirt flat again to measure the lengths and spaces for my ribbons. Each side of the V was about 17 inches long, and I decided it would look best with 3 Xs going across. I divided 17 by 6 and measured for anchor points about every 2.75-2.8 inches, beginning at the shoulder point, and marked them with pins.

For the ribbons, I had to measure one more time -- the distance between the top-most anchor on the right and the second-highest anchor on the left, and vice versa, then the distance between the third point on one side and the fourth on the other, etc., until I had 3 different lengths. I added an inch to each measurement (so I would have overlap to sew) and then cut two lengths of ribbon for each one.

DIY Sweatshirt Loungewear Embellishment

I anchored the ribbons with pins and sewed them into the hemline by hand. I also used Fraycheck to make sure they stayed put, but any kind of fabric glue would work, and it's an optional (though sensible) step.

DIY Sweatshirt Loungewear Embellishment

At this point, I liked the shirt, but I wanted it to make a little more of a statement. My sewing machine had also had a few issues with the hem (use a bigger-than-average needle when sewing heavy material!), and although they weren't that noticeable, I figured I might as well cover them up. Enter several hundred gold glass beads, hand sewn around the hem while I watched Borgia.

DIY Sweatshirt Loungewear Embellishment

I love this sweatshirt. It has become a staple, and the best kind of loungewear -- the kind that is comfortable and warm enough to actually wear around the house, but cute enough to take to the grocery store or even on a lunch date, when paired with some nice skinny jeans. It's the dream.

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