How to Distress an Old Sweatshirt

Lindsay Ramcharitar
by Lindsay Ramcharitar
2 Materials
20 Minutes

Have an old sweatshirt in your closet that you just don't want to throw away? Have you seen the trend of distressed sweatshirts but noticed the price tag is outrageously high? Why not take that old sweatshirt and turn it into something new and trendy? I will walk you through the steps of how to bring that old sweatshirt back to life with just a pair of scissors (and marker if needed).

First, you are going to cut a slit up the seam on the side of the sweatshirt to the top of the bottom band. Once you reach the top of the band, begin cutting the band off. You can choose to stay really close to the top of the band or for a cropped look go a little higher (you can always go back to make it shorter after your original cut). Once the band is cut off, the bottom of the sweatshirt should look like this.

After cutting of the band, next you can cut the neckline to give it an off the shoulder feel or wide neck feel. This step is not necessary. To cut the top, you are going to make a cut down to the top of the band BUT this time, do NOT cut the seam. If you cut the seam, the neck line will begin to roll. Once the neckline is trimmed, you can go ahead and make small nicks in the neckline. This is going to give the neckline for of a worn in look. Again, this step is not necessary.

After cutting the neckline, you can choose to cut the sleeves slightly. I ran the scissors up the seam and then across the top to open the cuff. You can make this cut as big or small as you want. Again, this is not necessary but goes with the distressed look.

I also decided to add tiger stripes into my sweatshirt. Tiger stripes look like 3 claw marks (kind of like a tiger scratched you). To do this you would pinch the piece of fabric where you want to make the cut. Once you have the piece pinched, make a small cut. Do this 3 times. Each cut does not have to be the same size. Once the 3 cuts are made pull the sweatshirt to stretch out the "stripes". This technique allows for the stripes to show up more in the sweatshirt. You can do as little or as many tiger stripes as you want. I did 2 sets of 3 on the front and 1 set of 3 on the back.

Here is the final look of the sweatshirt. This is a super easy and cost efficient way to get a trendy look for less. I enjoy wearing these sweatshirts around the house but I also do not mind wearing them out.

I have also included two hyper lapse videos showing this process in action. Hopefully these will help show how I achieved this final look.

I hope this was helpful and fun! For more outfit inspiration, please follow me on Instagram @SimplyStyledCloset



Suggested materials:
  • Old Sweatshirt
  • Scissors

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