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 vest makeover--with faux fur! Tutorial

I am SO excited about this project and tutorial.  I planned and schemed about it for like weeks before I bought the fur and sweater vest.  It's so cool!

Fur is in this year, obvs, but I'm not sure I'm ready to do a full-fur thing, so I started with a sweater vest that gets the look.  Check out these inspirations.

So many options, right??  I could have several, really, with different colors of sweater vests and different fur!  Ohhh, ideas...

Anyway, I really wanted to make one of these so I went to JoAnn and bought some nice-ish fake fur.  Not the cheapest, scratchiest.  I went to Goodwill and bought this men's sweater vest (lovely 100% merino wool, thanks, Macy's brand)--and totally re-did it.  With the fur.  Want to see the tutorial?

Warning--this is really more of guidelines, or at least just a true-to-the-word tutorial.  I used part of a Simplicity pattern for the collar, so I can't help you there with the pattern part unless you have a collar pattern, too, or can trace something.

  • Start out with a thrifted sweater vest!
  • It's gonna become a cardigan, if it's not already, so cut down the center front.  I was able to easily follow the cable/ribbing straight down from the center of the V. 

  •  Cut out the collar.  I used the collar piece from this pattern--got it for $0.99 on sale at JoAnn.  If you don't have a collar pattern you can make one up and/or trace an existing garment that fits the way you want.  And the collar can be whatever shape you want.  You could even use, or use as a pattern one of those removable fur collar things that button on to some coats.

  •  Also cut out a LINING for the collar--very important to make the whole thing better quality and look good longer.

  •  Make the vest fit you.  Try it on inside out and pin the places where it should be tight--generally, bring it in most at the waist and biggest at the hips, of course, but depending on the size your vest is to start off (mine was a men's XL), you may have to take in more or less.  Try it on after each set of seams to get the right size.  (For a tutorial on how to take in a sweater, go here).

  •  Assemble the collar.  On the outside (rounded) edge, sew lining to fur right sides together.

  •  Understitch, pulling the lining tight (can't really press fake fur cuz you'll melt it!).

  •  Lay your collar down on the vest and take a look.  I had to add some curve to the sweater part to make it match up with the collar.  I measured and trimmed off an equal size and shape piece on both sides.

  •  Through the fur layer only, sew right side of the fur to wrong side of the vest along the length of the collar.

  •  Fold under 1/2" (or whatever your seam allowance was) of the lining fabric and pin it in place.  Using the "stitch in the ditch" concept, sew just barely on the outside of the fur piece on the sweater side, through the lining.  See several attempts at capturing this in a photo.

  •  Depending on your seam allowance attaching the collar to the vest, you probably have a big raw edge below where the collar stops.  Make a facing for this if you want, or do what I did and roll it (to the outside, unfortunately) and sew it down (press and turn to hide the a).

  • Try it on!  I also hemmed under the shoulders of my vest, since it was very wide.  Depending on what you started with, you may need to make other little alterations--I also took a dart in the center back of my vest.  Play around with it!
Ta-da!  Done!

Like I said, this is a loose set of instructions; any vest and collar combo will be different, so be brave and see what you turn up with!  I suppose you could also do this with any kind of sweater, just cutting off the sleeves.  So many options!

You also could add some sort of closure--a big hook and eye where the collar pieces meet at the bottom would be cute.  Buttons would be hard because the two sides don't overlap, but a frog closure or something would work.

I love vests in the winter (that extra layer really helps keep warm!) so I'm having fun putting this together with  my other clothes--stylish vest time!  Stay tuned for a How to Wear DIY post with this later this week.

I feel so stylish with my fur!!

**Update: Check out the outfit post here!**


  1. This is really really cute, I can't wait to start this project when I get my sewing machine next year! xx

  2. awesome tutorial!! I want to see you wear it now :)

  3. Oh I love these! Especially the third and fourth ones. This looks fairly simply and oh-so-stylish! Love it!

  4. I love this. How was the knit vest to sew? Was this a man's or ladies sweater vest.

  5. Thanks!!

    @duenorthdesigns, The vest was quite easy to sew on. Do check out the tutorial I linked to if you're unsure about sewing on sweaters. (http://www.adventuresindressmaking.com/2010/10/tutorial-how-to-take-in-sweater.html)

    It was a men's XL sweater vest before.

  6. Wow! This is awesome! I never would have thought to do this. Why aren't you modeling it for us? I would love to see the fit. - Bethany

  7. @Lil Bit and Nan, Thanks! Don't worry, I will... just you wait, later this week so stay posted! =)

  8. Anonymous11/07/2011

    This is really cute! I love the fur. I usually don't, but I do here. Can't wait to see it on!

  9. Anonymous11/07/2011

    This is great! Really hope to see pictures of how you wear it :)

  10. I love this! Soooo cozy! And the How To Wear are great- I can't wait! I'll be linking.

  11. Hey...
    Just awesome... i really like all of these especially first and third one....
    great work..

  12. This is such a great idea and tutorial! Right up my alley. Thanks for sharing :)

  13. Anonymous1/09/2013

    When making a seam around the arm holes,how do you keep that opening from stretching out of shape?

    1. Good question! It does require some finesse and care. The best way is to lay your vest flat when you pin and just pin a lot! And don't pull at all as you feed it through the machine.

  14. nice project! I've discovered just now! wool and fur match so right



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