Make a sweatshirt with this sewing guide including detailed instructions and a video
Hey y’all, today I’m going to show you how to sew a sweatshirt. Lately my daily uniform has been a hoodie or sweatshirt and leggings. Since we’ve already covered how to sew a hoodie in another post, I thought I’d share a sewing video for the basic sweatshirt. This plain view with the neckband is also included in the Conroe Sweatshirt pattern in my shop.
I sewed this sweatshirt completely on a regular sewing machine, including cuffs, hem band, and neckband. As long as your machine is capable of doing a zigzag stitch or other stretch stitch, you can make one for yourself.
The sweater I’m wearing in these photos is the same one I sewed in the DIY sweatshirt video tutorial – after I made the video, I decided I needed to dye the sweatshirt, and mid-dye I decided I wanted more pigment variation so I threw more pigment into the dye bath. I love the way it turned out with areas of extra pigment all over like you can see in the close up below. For more on dyeing fabric, see this post.
Want to sew a sweatshirt for yourself? Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 to 2 3/4 yards of fabric, depending on size
- Optional: 1/2 yard rib knit fabric for the neckband, cuffs and hem band. If your main fabric doesn’t have at least 30% stretch, you’ll want to get rib knit for these pieces instead.
- Basic sewing supplies: sewing machine, thread, pins or clips, scissors
- A pattern, see below for some options
Suggested fabrics: I sewed my sweatshirt in stretch Telio bamboo rayon fleece. I love the cloud fleece they make because it has great drape and is super soft. Stretch sweatshirt fleece, French terry, and other medium to heavyweight knits will also work.
I am using the Conroe Sweatshirt pattern here, which covers bust/chest measurements up to 60 inches and is a unisex pattern. Conroe also comes with pattern pieces to create a hoodie and a hack pack that shows how to add a zipper, a cowl instead of a hood, thumbhole cuffs, and more.
Alternatively, you could use the free hoodie pattern from my pattern gallery, which works for bust/chest measurements of 36-38 inches. BUT if you use the free pattern you’ll need to bring the neckline in about an inch on the front and measure for your own neckband. Refer to the diagram below to do that. The red line shows the new neckline and the black shows the pattern piece as is.
How to Make a Sweatshirt
To sew a sweatshirt, watch the video below or on YouTube here. Or you scroll below the video for written instructions.
Time needed: 1 hour and 30 minutes.
How to Sew a Sweatshirt
- Cut out your pattern
You’ll need one front, one back, two sleeves, two cuffs, one neckband and one hem band. Each piece is cut on the fold. Pay attention to the direction of stretch.
- Sew the shoulder seams
Place the front piece and back piece right sides together, matching the shoulder seams. Stitch, using a stretch stitch and a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
- Sew the sleeves
Match the center of each sleeve to the shoulder seam, right sides together, then match the edges of the sleeves to the edges of the armscye. Pin between and sew with a stretch stitch
- Sew the side seams
Fold the shirt right sides together, matching the sleeve seam. Pin sleeve and side seam on each side and stitch.
- Sew the hem band, cuffs and neckband
Fold the hem band, each cuff, and neckband right sides together and sew up side seam (short ends) on each. Then open seam and fold each piece wrong sides together. Mark quarter points on neckband and hem band.
- Attach hem band, cuffs and neck band
Mark the center front and center back of hem and neck edges of shirt. Pin hem band to shirt, matching seam to center back, and then matching the remaining quarter marks to center front and side seams. The two raw edges of the band and the raw bottom edge of the shirt should all be aligned. Stretch the hem band flat between points as you stitch it in place. Repeat with cuffs, matching seam to sleeve seam. Repeat with neckband, cheating the side quarter points forward from the shoulder seams about the width of the seam allowance.
There are many ways to make your sweatshirt reflect your style. The Conroe Sweatshirt pattern I used comes with many hacks to the pattern, but even if you’re sticking with a basic sweatshirt as shown here you can add flair. As I mentioned earlier in this post, the pink sweatshirt I’m wearing in the pictures is the gray one I sewed in the video, and all I added was dye.
Other ideas include printing your own design on the shirt with paint or adding heat transfer vinyl. I am still thinking about adding a graphic to my pink sweatshirt maybe a heart or an XOXO for Valentine’s day and beyond? I’m also thinking a cropped version of this shirt would be fun. That’s what’s so great about a pattern like this – there are so many ways to make a wardrobe basic not so basic.
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