2 Easy DIY Sweatshirt Refashions: Making Bandana & Flannel Sleeves

by ModernModiste
7 Materials
3 Hours

Let’s get our DIY sweatshirt refashion game on! Winter fashion doesn’t have to be boring; you can transform your old sweatshirt into something magical and trendy with a few easy modifications.

I’ll show you two sweatshirt refashion tutorials to give you instant tips and inspiration.

Tools and materials:

  • Bandanas
  • Sweaters
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread

Bandana sleeve sweatshirt refashion

Bandana sleeve sweatshirt inspiration

For the first DIY sweatshirt refashion, I wanted to recreate these bandana sleeve sweatshirts I've been seeing on Pinterest.

Bandana sleeve sweatshirt example

Measuring and marking the sweatshirt

1. Cut and modify the sweatshirt

Wear your sweatshirt and mark where you want to cut it. 

Cutting the sweatshirt

Then, cut the sweater along the marking.

Tracing around he

Take a pattern or a shirt that fits you well and place it on your folded sweatshirt. I made this pattern using a shirt I already own.

Trace around it, as shown. I left space from the fold as I wanted room for the fit. 

Cutting off the sides and sleeves

Cut on the lines and discard the sleeve area. 

Folding the bandana around the sleeve

2. Make the bandana sleeves

Fold the bandana in half around the sleeve and mark the angle you want to cut for the bottom part of the sleeve. 

Cutting off the sleeve at an angle

Now, cut the line and do the same for the second sleeve, 

Cutting away the excess fabric

Cut out this extra piece from under the sleeves so that the sleeve curves would match the length of the armhole.

Using the sleeve pattern to cut the bandana

Open your sleeve and cut out the shape onto your bandana. You can sew the sweatshirt sleeve onto the bandana if you want a warmer sweatshirt. I opted not to do this. 

Cutting out bandana fabric for the sleeves

Cut the second bandana to match the first. 

Cutting off the cuff seams

Open the cuffs by cutting off the side seams. You can also seam rip the sides if you prefer not to cut the seams out completely. 

Pinning the bandana sleeves to the cuffs

3. Sew the bandana sleeves

Pin your bandana to the sweatshirt cuff portion of the sleeves. 

Sewing the bandana sleeves

Then, sew to secure. Be sure to pivot when you get to the triangular point. 

Bandana sleeves for the sweatshirt

This is what it should look like. 

Attaching the sleeves to the sweatshirt

4. Attach the sleeves to the sweatshirt

Next, match your sleeves to the armhole and pin all around. Both pieces of fabric should be right sides facing. 

Finishing the bandana sleeves

Stitch to secure, finish the raw edges, and repeat the process on the other sleeve as well. 

Sweatshirt refashion tutorials

To finish the sleeves, flip the open sweatshirt right sides facing, pin the armholes and sleeves, as well as the side seams. Then, sew to secure. 

How to refashion a sweatshirt

I wanted to make the sleeve area a little bigger as it felt a little tight when worn. So, if the same happens with you, extend the armhole area of the sleeves. 

Making bigger bandana sleeves

Then, trace out bigger sleeves.

DIY bandana sleeve sweatshirt

Ladies, this is how to refashion a sweatshirt! I love the lovely details of the bandana and how it cohesively goes with the sweatshirt as a whole. 

Blue sweatshirt before the refashion

Flannel sleeve sweatshirt refashion

For this DIY sweatshirt refashion, I wanted to mix shirt sleeves with a sweatshirt, and include some tie detailing on the cuffs.

Gingham shirt sleeves on a sweatshirt
Tie cuffs inspiration

Modifying the sweatshirt

1. Modify the sweatshirt

Following the same principles of the first sweatshirt refashion tutorial, I cut the length, marked the armhole and side, and cut along the markings. 

Cutting off the sleeves of the flannel shirt

Then, take a shirt of your choice and cut off the sleeves. 

Reshaping the armholes

Reshape the armholes on the sweatshirt. 

Sewing the sides of the sweatshirt closed

Sew the sides of the sweatshirt closed, right sides facing. 

Cutting off the cuff of the shirt

2. Make the tie sleeves

Cut the cuffs off the shirt sleeves around 2 inches up from where the cuff starts.

Cutting the sleeve open at the top edge

Seam rip the button off the cuff placket and cut your sleeve open along the top edge. 

Widening the sleeve

Widen the sleeve by cutting an extra piece of fabric from the shirt. Make sure it’s the same length as the sleeve. 

Sewing the flannel sleeves

To do this, sew the panel to the sleeve wrong sides facing. Then, fold in the seam and sew the right sides facing to create a French seam. 

How to sew sweatshirt sleeves

For the outer raw edges, fold the edge by about an inch to the wrong side and sew to secure. 

Sweatshirt refashion ideas

Then, sew the two edges together, right sides facing. Stop sewing from around 5 inches from the bottom; this will be the slit around your wrist area. 

Topstitching the side seams

Topstitch each side seam, too.

Cutting ties for the wrists

Cut a piece of fabric that’s about 5 inches longer than your wrist measurement. 

Hemming the fabric pieces

Hem the short ends and one long side of this fabric piece. 

Sewing a basting stitch

Sew a basting stitch along the remaining raw edge. Do this by increasing the stitch length on your sewing machine. Also, be sure to backstitch when you start sewing.

Afterward, sew a basting stitch to the bottom of the sleeve. 

Pulling the basting stitch to create gathers

Next, pull the thread to create gathers.

Measuring the cuff around the wrist

Make sure the edges fit around your wrist snugly. 

Attaching the cuff to the sleeve

Attach the wristband to the sleeve, wrong sides facing. Then, sew both pieces together. 

Sewing the ties for the wrists

Next, fold in the edges of the tie, fold the whole panel in half, and sew to secure. 

Pinning the sleeve tie to the sleeve

Pin the sleeve tie to your sleeve, with the seam centered beneath the sleeve tie, then sew.

Gathering the fabric at the armhole

Sew a basting stitch along the top edge of the sleeve and gather it until the sleeve becomes the width of your armhole. 

Sweatshirt refashion tutorial

Pin the sleeve to the armhole and sew to secure. Then, zigzag stitch the bottom edge of the sweatshirt. 

DIY sweatshirt refashion

Here’s the final result!

DIY sweatshirt refashion tutorial

I hope you enjoyed this DIY sweatshirt refashion guide. Let me know which was your favorite design in the comments below. Thanks for joining.

Suggested materials:
  • Bandanas
  • Sweaters
  • Scissors
See all materials

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