How to Make a Patchwork Jacket Using a Sweatshirt

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Patchwork is an eye-catching and fun art of sewing.
Patchwork is an eye-catching and fun art of sewing. (Image: patchwork material image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com)

Patchwork is a sewing art that involves sewing pieces of fabrics of different shapes and colors into a larger design. A sweatshirt is a comfortable garment made of cotton or synthetic fibers that covers torso and arms. Combine the comfort of a sweatshirt and the impressive pallet of patchwork to make a jazzy jacket embellished with your favorite themes and colors.

Things You'll Need

  • Sweatshirt
  • Fabric swatches for the patchwork
  • Bias tape, 2 1/2 inches wide
  • Medium-weight fusing
  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Straight stitch sewing machine
  • Serger

Buy a crew neck sweatshirt bigger than the garment you are planning to make.The sleeves and hem of the sweatshirt should be 4 to 5 inches longer than your arms and shirt length measurements.

Stitch the sleeves around the cuffs, on the sleeve side, 1/4 inch from the seam that joins the ribbing and the sleeve. This will prevent the sweatshirt from stretching while you are making the garment. Stitch along the waistband, on the shirt side, 1/4 inch from the seam that joins the ribbing and the shirt hem.

Cut off the ribbing at the collar and waist. Do not cut off the stitching.

Place the sweatshirt on the table, the front side up. Flatten it so the sleeves are lying symmetrically. Divide the distance between the armhole ridges at the front of the sweatshirt in two and mark it with the chalk. If the sweatshirt does not have side seams, mark them as if they were there. Divide the distance between the side seams at the bottom of the sweatshirt in two and mark it. Place the ruler on the front of the sweatshirt, connect the two marks, and draw a center front line from the neck to the waist.

Transfer the center front line from the right side of the shirt to the wrong side of the shirt. Mark it with the chalk. Measure the length of the shirt along this line, from the neck to the bottom of the shirt. Use this length measurement to cut the 1-inch wide strip of fusing. Apply the strip of fusing to the wrong side of the sweatshirt along the drawn line. The middle of the strip should match the center front line.

Cut the front of the shirt along the center front line. Cut the shirt along the side and sleeve seams. Depending on the shapes of your patchwork panels, you may cut the sleeves off or keep them sewn to the bodice of the shirt. Cut the serged edges of the seams off. Serged edges are edges of the fabric enclosed in a thread casing to prevent seams from raveling.

Sew the patchwork panels to fit the sleeves, front and back of the shirt. Place the unfolded sweatshirt flat on the table. Pin or baste the patchwork to the sweatshirt panels, and stitch it with straight, zigzag or decorative stitches.

If you cut the sleeves off, attach the sleeves to the shirt with a 3/8 inch seam. Stitch the side seams, wrong sides together, 3/8 inch from the edge. Serge all the seams.

Cut the bias tape according to your cuff's circumference measurement plus 1 inch for the seam allowance. Stitch the bias tape with 1/2-inch seam allowance. Place the right side of the bias tape and the wrong side of the cuffs together and stitch around with 3/8-inch seam allowance. Fold the bias tape around the edge of the cuffs and edge-stitch it on the right side of the cuff. Cut the bias tape to finish the center front and hem. Place the right side of the bias tape and the wrong side of the front panel together. Start stitching from the neck with 3/8-inch seam allowance. Continue to the hem, stitch along the hem and finish at the neck on the other side of the front panel. Fold the bias tape around the edge and edge stitch it on the right side of the front panels and hem. Press the jacket.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can tone down your jacket if you apply the small patchwork panels to the elbow area, or just a back or front.
  • The front of the jacket can have a zipper or buttoned closure.

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