How to refashion a sweatshirt with embroidery

How to Make a Sweatshirt Look Cute

Easy DIY Sweatshirt Makeover

In this article, you will learn how to make your sweatshirt look cute by adding embroidery. With this DIY idea, your comfy sweatshirt will also look feminine and chic.

Read on for the tutorial!

How to revamp a sweatshirt?

There are lots of ways you can make your sweatshirt cuter. You can cut it, paint it, bleach it, add all sorts of embellishments to it like beads, rhinestones, or lace. Check out my posts on how to refashion a sweater and a button-up shirt; both articles contain lots of refashioning ideas you can apply to a sweatshirt too.

You can check my article on how to revamp your sweatshirt with amazing DIY ideas and tutorials for inspiration.

Today I want to show you a crewneck sweatshirt revamp. I got this one from a thrift store for a few bucks. Even though I liked the light grey color, I felt like it missed something.

I adore embroidered clothes and embroidery in general, so I’ve decided to decorate it with a unique, hand-embroidered feminine pattern.

With the embroidery around the neck, you won’t need to wear a necklace! Put on a pair of stud earrings, and you’re ready to go.

Sweatshirt refashioning

Supplies and tools for this DIY sweatshirt:

  • pencil,
  • embroidery thread,
  • needle,
  • scissor,
  • printable pattern (optional – you can hand-draw a pattern or do free embroidery),
  • embroidery hoop (optional),
  • iron-on backing (optional),
  • a sweatshirt.


How to prep the sweatshirt before the refashion?

First of all, you’ll have to wash the sweatshirt, especially if it’s new. A new piece of clothing may stretch or shrink after the first wash, and you don’t want that to happen after you already transformed it. It will ruin the embroidery for sure!

I also like to iron garments before embroidery because you need a smooth surface to outline the pattern and stitching.

How to embroider on a sweatshirt?

If your sweatshirt is not stretchy, you don’t have to use an embroidery hoop, although I still recommend it.

I started stitching without an embroidery hoop. After a few stitches, I realized using a hoop will result in more beautiful lines and patterns.

If you own an embroidery hoop, I recommend using it; you can also give it a shot without the hoop.

It’s important not to pull the thread too tight; it’ll wrinkle and distort the pattern. Try to embroider with the same tension.

STEP 1 – Draw the design or transfer the pattern onto the fabric. I used a grey pencil, but you can also use an iron-on pencil, Sulky Sticky Fabry Solvy, or other image transfer methods. Here is a helpful article on how to do it.

Jumper embroidery

STEP 2 – Start stitching! I like to experiment with different threads, multiple strands, and embroidery stitches. For my sweatshirt embroidery design, I used three basic embroidery stitches: backstitch, chain stitch, and the lazy daisy stitch.

I didn’t have the time to record it, so check out this video if you don’t know how to do the basic embroidery stitches.

Since I’ve chosen a symmetrical pattern, I started in the middle. You don’t have to. Start where it best suits your design.

Black floral sweatshirt embroidery
Leaf embroidery on a sweatshirt
hand-embroidery on a sweatshirt

STEP 3 – Cover the embroidery with a cotton cloth and iron it. It does help a lot in the final results. Flattens and smooths out the thread.

Crew neck sweatshirt with embroidery

How to make your new cute sweatshirt last?

If you have sensitive skin, the thread and knots may irritate. You can use an iron-on backing to make them more comfortable. Also, it’ll make the embroidery more durable and protect it from detangling.

Another tip is to make your new fabulous jumper last longer is washing. Every clothing you embellish somehow (embroidery, painting, beads, etc.) is best to wash on a gentle washing cycle.

How to style a sweatshirt?

Even though sweatshirts are comfy and sporty, you can also create chic outfits with them.

Here are a few examples of how to wear your new stunning sweatshirt:

  • jeans and sweatshirts go together like peanut butter with jelly,
  • wear oversized or long sweatshirts as a dress with legging or tights,
  • layer it with a leather jacket for a cool look.

For more inspiration, check out these two articles on how to style oversized sweatshirts by Russell Athletic and how to wear a hoodie by Sanvt.

And also check out this video with 18 outfit ideas.

Other sweatshirt makeover ideas

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are tons of ways to alter a sweatshirt with or without sewing.

Here are just a few:

  • add cut-outs (at the neckline, make a cold shoulder look, make a heart cut-out and add a patterned fabric below, etc.),
  • sew on adornments (rhinestones, beads, pearls, sequins, etc.),
  • mix-up two sweatshirts (it will result in two color-blocked jumpers).

If you can sew and feel ambitious enough, you can also sew sweatshirts for you and your family. I’ve found an awesome article with sweatshirt sewing patterns by All Free Sewing. Some ideas are also DIY-able with an old jumper.

Final Thought about the sweatshirt revamp

As you could see, there is nothing complicated in making a sweatshirt cuter. You can go the embroidery way like I did or find other ways to make your jumper feminine and stylish.

This hand embroidery is not complicated and won’t take up a lot of your time. If you own an embroidery machine, you can also use that. You can further embellish with beads or rhinestones. It’s up to up!

Happy refashioning!

Did you like this sweatshirt transformation? Have you ever tried refashioning old and boring garments? Leave a comment!

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