Refashion: Contrast Texture Sweatshirt

This sweatshirt has been sitting in my refashion pile for several weeks. I have a preference for raglan sleeve sweatshirts as I find the fit more flattering. But this sweatshirt was so soft I nabbed it from the charity shop anyway. What’s more the underside of the fabric was really interesting to me (loopy terry texture and a pinkier colour than the right side) and even as I was lifting it off the rack in the shop, I knew I wanted to play with contrasting the wrong side of the fabric with the right side…sweatshirt refashion (1)

Whilst I am not overly sold on the final fit of this garment, I am in love with the contrast elements of it. I think it’s a really effective way of adding some interest to a plain sweatshirt and has applications for both refashioning and “from scratch” dressmaking. I’m sure it’s not just me that looks at the “wrong” side of the fabric and thinks….well that’s just as interesting as the intended right side. In fact I often spend time deciding which side of the fabric I prefer and want to use. The answer could be…..use both sides!sweatshirt refashion - contrast texture detail

The sleeves were a simple case of removing the ribbing cuffs and creating a turn up to display the underside of the fabric.

The triangular panels are also pretty simple. I did wing this a bit as it was an experiment. So there’s a couple of areas where I’ll tell you what I should have done to make things easier. But hey, the outcome is pretty much the same!sweatshirt refashion (14)

I began by opening the whole thing out. I knew I was going to need to reshape it at the side seams anyway. So began by cutting it open along the side seams and underarm seams…from the hem all the way to the cuff. Both Sides.

In this pic the whole thing is opened out (like a big cross) and then folded along the length, lining up sleeves and side seams so it lays flat and I could deal with the front and back of the sweatshirt separately. This is the front. I marked out and cut a wedge from the side. From the underarm to the hem. Cutting through both layers at once…sweatshirt refashion (15)

With hindsight, I’d actually advise removing the hem and any other bulkiness like it (I had those bulky hem vents) before marking and cutting the wedge. And actually I would measure and mark each side separately rather than cutting through two layers at once. The bulk of those seams and the double layers of thick sweatshirt fabric skewed my scissors resulting in slightly “non-identical” wedges. We need them to be identical for the next step.

Flip those wedges over and apply them to the opposite side of the sweatshirt (with a scant seam allowance) from which they were cut. Essentially reconstructing the shape of the sweatshirt. But now you have those contrasting wedges either side! sweatshirt refashion (16)

Press SA towards centre and top stitch.

Then repeat that process on the back…sweatshirt refashion (17)

…and reconstruct the sweatshirt by placing RS together and sewing together from cuff to hem on both sides…

I wanted to continue the “contrast triangle” element onto the neckline and swap out the ribbed triangle …sweatshirt refashion (3)

Plus I prefer a slightly deconstructed look as opposed to a thick band of ribbing…19

Pretty simple to do this using reverse applique.

First of all I made a snip up to the stitching line on the neckline ribbing…sweatshirt refashion (4)

sweatshirt refashion (5)

…and cut that ribbing away right next to the stitching line.

I’d shortened the sweatshirt at this stage so had some scraps left over…sweatshirt refashion (6)

I cut a square large enough to cover the triangle detail I was looking to reverse applique…

…and pinned it behind the triangle with the textured side facing outward…sweatshirt refashion (7)

Make sure it is smooth and flat.

Over at the sewing machine, line up your needle with the existing top stitching around the outside of the triangle…sweatshirt refashion (8)

sweatshirt refashion (9)

Then stitch right on top of that line of stitching to secure the new scrap of fabric in place…

This is how it looks on the reverse….sweatshirt refashion (10)

sweatshirt refashion (11)

Trim away the excess on the inside close to the line of stitching.

On the outside…make a snip into the “old” ribbed fabric that you want to remove being careful not to cut the new fabric behind!sweatshirt refashion (12)

sweatshirt refashion (13)

Then with small sharp scissors cut away the old ribbed fabric close to the stitching, to reveal the new fabric behind!

Hem…and that’s that!sweatshirt refashion (2)

I’m planning on revisiting this concept with my preferred raglan sleeve sweatshirt shape as I don’t feel 100% comfy in this shape. As I said, the fit part of this I’m not entirely content with. The contrast element concept though??sweatshirt refashion - contrast texture detail

Well, I think I should call that part a win don’t you??

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  1. Michele December 18, 2015

    Love your use of the inside of the fabric for subtle texture and colour change.

  2. Gillian December 18, 2015

    It’s cute! I made a french terry scout a couple years ago, using the loopy side of the fabric for the cuffs and neckband.. only to find that every time I put it on or take it off, the neckband loops catch on my glasses and I get a pull! Live and learn, I guess – or don’t wear glasses when getting dressed! ;P It’s held up well otherwise though. I like the way you’ve styled yours – hope you decide you like the fit, ’cause I think it’s cute! 😉

  3. Janice December 18, 2015

    OMG!!!! Definitely a WIN, so clever and I love the muted colors. I have 2 sweater/sweatshirts that I am going to do this exact thing on. Keep up the good work Portia!

  4. Jennifer August 9, 2016

    It’s inspiring to think about using the reverse side of fabric for decorative element.


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