toddler sweatshirt tutorial

well, if last week was clothing for sadie week, this week is tutorial week. hehe

have an old sweatshirt lying around? or maybe one that’s way too big?! I did…and figured it would get more use if i refashioned it for the sadester. hence, this tutorial was born!

A few times throughout i will refer you to my mandarin shirt tutorial, and at the end i just got plain lazy and stopped taking pictures, so bear with me. it will all make sense. i hope.
Click below for more!

you’ll need:
a sweatshirt, the larger the better
the regular sewing stuff-machine, thread, seam ripper. (i used that one a bit on this project, hehe)
large buttons
elastic hairbands (3-4 depending on how many buttons you use)
take your sweatshirt and get ready to cut it up!
first you’ll make your pattern. find a shirt that fits your child well, (loosely, even) and trace around the bodice and sleeves on some wrapping paper. also, on the pattern, mark with a pencil where the shirt scoops in the front.
cut your pieces on the fold. i re-used the bottom band to form the bottom of my new sweatshirt. notice that my back piece has a seam going through a few inches from the left, cause my ss had a large pocket on the front that i had to cut around. i think it looks totally cute on the end product though! cut a strip of ss material 1.5 inches wide and wrap around raw edge, sew down the front, this can be tricky, you can see at the bottom where my pieces slipped off track, just make sure to take your time!
lay out your buttons how you’d like them and cut your elastics in half.
pin them in loops where your buttons are placed.
sew carefully and slowly down the front, making sure to catch the ends of the elastic.
cut a strip wide enough to cover the ends of your elastic. it doesn’t have to look perfect! sew that down. no pictures of this, but next pin right sides of bodice together, sew shoulder seams together.

next, grab your shoulder pieces and pin them into their “slots”. sew around those. i also sewed a strip of 1 inch ss material enclosing my raw sleeve cuff, first, then sewed them together like normal, kind of how i pre-hemmed my mandarin shirt. now pin right sides together along underside of sleeve and the side of the shirt. sew along with 1/4 to 1/2 inch seam. carefully clip a few times under the armpit seam.
now for the hood. cut two squares to make the hood. round off one corner to make the back of the hood.

i cut mine 8×8 inches, and it’s a bit too small to fit over sadie’s huge noggin. (she’s like 90th percentile for her head) but it’s really more of a look than function for us since she takes off hats and hoods anyways. so anyways, you could also measure around your neckline and see how long around it is, then choose your size accordingly. hope this makes sense. let me know if i’m babbling nonsense, please.
then, sew right sides together, and turn under the front about 1/2 inch and sew that. no need to pin, just slow and steady while while you feed it into the machine.
i didn’t get pictures of how to put the hood on, but basically you sew your right sides of the hood and neckline together, line it up as best you can, and pin like crazy! (that’s my answer to everything, really) then just sew your buttons on, and wha-la!

you’re done. sorry about the lack of photos near the end…it’s basically very similar to the mandarin shirt…so take a look over there if it doesn’t make sense.

hope you like it!

featured on:

one pretty thing
craft gossip

***If you have used any of my tutorials, I’d love if you’d add a quick pic to my flicker group! Thanks!***


  1. Very cute! I’m impressed!

    FYI I put a link to your blog on my blog. I hope you don’t mind!

  2. Lovely! You’ve outdone yourself again. I’ll be making some, I found two sweatshirts of mine to use! Yay! I’ll try to remember to add them to your flickr pool when I make them

  3. Cute, cute, cute!! I’m lovin’ those buttons down the front!

    I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:
    (link will go live at midnight CST)


  4. Oh my. That is ADORABLE Jess! I love how you did the buttons. So, so cute! Thanks so much for sharing this, I’ll be linking.

  5. That is very cute. When I get some time to do sewing again, I want to do this project! Very fun!!

  6. I LOVE this sweatshirt! I really need to learn how to sew! 🙂

  7. By the way – I also love your play list. I have added a few songs to my own list!

  8. Just found your blog via One Pretty Thing….very cool and very impressive…I’m going to spend more time here later…….thanks for all the cute ideas…..

    Blog on……


  9. This is one of the cutest posts I’ve seen in awhile, I just LOVE the big chunky buttons and hair elastics? GENIUS! Can’t wait to make one for Samster (:

  10. That is SUPER cute! I love that you looked at a plain gray sweatshirt and visualized THAT. ADORABLE (and so is the model!).

    pk @ ROOM REMIX

  11. way too crafty! Cute.

  12. I love it! what a great idea!

  13. That little chickie is seriously out of control cute. Great idea on the hair elastics… love it love it.

  14. hey,

    thanks for this idea because I think it’s so cute! I just made one for my son. check it out:

  15. your blog is so beutifull, thanks for all your tutorial

  16. This is so cute. And so are all of your other projects! I just posted a link to your blog on my blog. But I have three followers, so don’t get excited. 😉

  17. Love love love this tutorial!
    Made one for my baby-girl from an old Levi’s sweatshirt, wich i pulled out of hubby’s closet. And offcourse my 3 year old son wanted one as well, so i made him a black ‘Cars’ Sweatshirt.

    pic’s of babysweatshirt;
    (hope you can open these..)

    Thanks for sharing your brillant idea’s! Keep up the good work!


  1. […] You’ll find the tutorial over at Craftiness is Not Optional. […]

  2. […] More at: Craftiness is not Optional […]

  3. […] is not Optional is here today! She’s a two-girl momma with some serious sewing skills! This toddler sweatshirt is adorable and might be my favorite of her projects. I want one of these in my size, do you think […]

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