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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Lin

DIY sweater upcycle: add sweater sleeves to a t-shirt and sew a matching skirt



Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

Welcome to my step-by-step sewing tutorial, where I'll show you how to create a stylish fall outfit by upcycling old clothes.


In this DIY transformation, we'll remake an old t-shirt by adding sweater sleeves. The inspiration comes from Free People's trendy sweater sleeve t-shirt, but I'll copy the look affordably with thrifted clothes. And we'll make a super cute skirt from the remaining sweater material.


Read on or watch the video.


Materials

  • Long sleeve t-shirt

  • Long sleeve sweater


Tools

  • Sewing machine

  • Scissors

  • 1" wide elastic

  • Thread


Time

  • 2ish hours


The inspiration

Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

Free People has a youthful, boho-inspired look that I adore. When I spotted their $78 thermal top with sweater sleeves, I couldn't resist recreating it for just $5 during my thrift store's 50% off sale. Plus, the remaining sweater material was perfect for making a stylish skirt.


Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater


Step 1: Cut the sleeves

Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

Cut the t-shirt sleeves 2 " above your elbow.


Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

Cut the sweater sleeves long enough to cover the back of your hands to include room for thumb holes.


Step 2: Taper the sweater sleeves

Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

If your sweater sleeves are wider than the t-shirt sleeves, taper the upper half with a 3/8" seam allowance.


Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

Use a serger or sewing machine to sew the sleeve seam.


Step 3: Sew the sweater sleeve to the t-shirt sleeve

Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

Slide the sweater sleeve over the t-shirt sleeve with the right sides together, aligning the seams.


Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

Pin, and sew together.


Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

Turn the sleeves right side out.


Step 4: Cut thumbholes

Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

To add thumbholes, carefully pick apart the original sweater sleeve seam. Stretch the sleeve along the seam near the cuff to locate the horizontal lines. Gently pick apart the seam about 1 inch above the cuff and tack the ends.


Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

And now we have thumb holes!


Step 5: Cut and sew the skirt

Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

Use one of your existing knit skirts as a pattern by laying it over the bodice of the sweater. Cut around it with a 3/8" seam allowance.


Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

Pin and sew the sides of the skirt.


Step 6: Cut and sew the elastic waist

Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

Wrap the 1" elastic snuggly around your waist, allowing for a 1" overlap and cut. Sew the ends together with a 1" overlap.


Step 7: Sew the elastic waist to the skirt

Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

Pin the elastic waist to the right side of the skirt and sew in place.


Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

Flip the elastic to the back of the skirt and secure it on the sides.


Final Thoughts

Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

This quick and satisfying upcycle project takes less than 2 hours to complete, resulting in a stylish fall outfit perfect for sweater weather.


Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

The sweater sleeves elevate the look of a simple t-shirt, while the thumbholes give it a relaxed, laid-back vibe.


Upcycle a t-shirt with sweater sleeves and make a skirt with leftover sweater

Pair it with the sweater skirt, and your ensemble is complete!


Enjoy your environmentally and budget-friendly fall refashion.



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