Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Sweater makeover, easy ruffled vest tutorial

Here's a tutorial on how to make over a boring or unflattering sweater into a cute, ruffly vest!

Sweater-into-Tie Vest Tutorial

I started out with an old sweater from Old Navy--it's a little too snug, too short, and sort of boring.
  • I started by turning it from a pullover into an open-front.  Cut down the center.
  • Next, I cut off the sleeves below the shoulder "seam"--this way the shoulder stays intact and won't ravel.
  • Now, you have two sleeve pieces.  Cut them open down the long seams.
  • Even the sleeve pieces out by trimming the wider part off in loooong, skinny triangles.  These two big rectangular sleeve pieces will turn into the ruffles around the collar.
  • Cut the sleeve pieces into bias strips.
  • Sew the bias strips together and press the seams flat.

It looked to me like I wouldn't have enough of the bias to make it ruffly all the way around the neck and collar, so I cut my bias piece longways in half.
  • Next, you'll gather one side of the bias piece with a large stitch and tight tension.
  • This next step is optional: for more interesting shape, I trimmed the bottom corners of the center front of the open vest.
  • Back to the bias strips: pin the gathered bias cut ruffle onto the front of the vest and get ready to sew it down (wrong side to right side).
  • Sew it down, going around the curve/angle of the collar.
  • I wanted some ties, so I trimmed off the extra triangle from the other side of the long sleeve seams and sewed them down at the point in the front:

Here it is!


  1. hey girl. just found your blog and l o v e it :) it's funny...i just made a vest from an old sweater this past weekend :) pics on my blog *grin*

  2. I love your re-purposing! Great blog!

  3. Suzannah - great idea! Sadly, I've got a few too many sweaters that are a bit snug! The perfect solution and will help with my frumpiness, too!

  4. You are just so talented. Love your ideas!


  5. You are doing a wonderful job Suzannah! I do check in regularly to see what you are up to. Your burgeoning blog is a revelation...you are truly an inspiration! Thank you for the hard work. Wishing you continued success and many well earned Kudos!

  6. I love, LOVE that! You might be interested that I've started a new weekly linkup on Thursdays called Make it, Wear it. Stop on by and link up!

  7. THis is so cute and I have the perfect sweater in mind. Just one question; did you finish the edge of the ruffle in any way, or just leave the raw edge?

  8. I have a few sweaters that shrunk when hubby put them in the dryer. This is perfect!

  9. Thanks, folks!
    And no, I didn't finish the edges of the ruffle at all. The bias cut does that for you, they won't ravel (although they may roll up a teensy bit, but it's not really a problem).

  10. Come link your cute tute at my party: Thursday's Treasures!!

  11. I totally had two of those exact sweaters at one point. We tend to do that don't we!

  12. I really think I'm going to try this with an old sweater!

  13. This is adorable! ...and maybe easy enough for me to try!

  14. Thank you for sharing your awesome project at Thursday’s Treasures last week! Come share your crafty projects in this week’s Thursday’s Treasures too!

  15. I spent an hour looking for a tutorial like this last night, and now I stumbled upon yours while looking at the zigzag rug. It's fate! I have a sweater in the exact style as your example, but I hope it turns out half as nice! Thanks for the info.

  16. thank you so much. it´s a great idea! :D

  17. I think I may have some sweaters somewhere that I don't like to wear anymore. Hmmmm.. I might just do that for the next cool weather season. hehehe.. Thanks for the idea! First visit here! Grabbed your button and added you on my blog. I am definitely coming back! :)yaye!

  18. I'd love more info on how you bias cut the strips from the sleeves.
    I am pretty good at sewing but self taught so these terms don't really click with me.
    Is it simillar to how one cuts fabric to make their own bias tape?

  19. Thanks!
    @Eliea, yes, you just cut strips on the bias (cross) grain, at an angle to the grain of the sweater. Just like cutting bias tape out of an oddly shaped piece of fabric!

  20. Brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing. :)

  21. So cute! I'm picking out a cashmere sweater so I can make one for my niece.

  22. Anonymous5/12/2011

    Why couldn't you do this with a long sleeve t-shirt to wear in the warm months. Here in GA we have lots of warm months. At most schools the girls (Middle school and high school) can't wear tank tops, etc. This would be a nice and very cute coverup for them. Think I'll have to put it on my list for next school year. Great idea.



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