How to Upcycle a T-Shirt with Sweater Sleeves

Add sweater sleeves to a t-shirt

The cold weather inspired me to refashion this henley t-shirt with sweater sleeves.  I stole the idea from this Free People Henley.  Instead of paying $68, I made my version for less than $10 with thrift store finds.  I had enough sweater left over to make a matching pencil skirt.


I found the perfect henley t-shirt for $1.99 and the brown sweater for $3.99. This project took me a few hours to make over the weekend.  Sewing was a breeze as it was mostly straight line sewing.

Sweater sleeves before


In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to graft sweater sleeves to a t-shirt and make a skirt with the leftover sweater.  Here’s a quick overview of the project.

  • Step 1:  Chop the sleeves of both the henley and sweater
  • Step 2:  Sew the sweater sleeves to the henley sleeves
  • Step  3:  Cut out the skirt from the leftover sweater
  • Step 4:  Sew the skirt together and add an elastic waist


Step 1:  Chop the sleeves of both the t-shirt and sweater

Cut off the first 9″ of both sweater sleeves and open the side seams.  Shorten the sleeves on the t-shirt and open the side seams about 1″.

Chop off sleeves of henley tshirt and sweater


Step 2:  Sew the sweater sleeves to the t-shirt sleeves

Pin and sew the sweater sleeves to the t-shirt sleeves.

Pin sweater sleeves to tshirt sleeves

Sew the sides of the sleeves.

Sweater Sleeve Inside Out


Step   3:  Cut the skirt from the leftover sweater

Use a pencil skirt as a pattern.  Don’t worry about adding a seam allowance or darts as the sweater will stretch and mold to your body.

Use a skirt for your pattern


Step 4:  Sew the skirt and add an elastic waist

With right sides together, sew the side seams.

Cut out skirt from sweater


Cut a length of elastic that fits snugly around your waist and sew the ends closed.

Sew ends of elastic

Pin the elastic to the right side of the waist of the skirt and serge.  Be sure to stretch the elastic as you serge so the skirt won’t bunch up.

Sew elastic to waist

Fold over the elastic once . . .

Fold over the elastic

. . . and fold over the elastic again.   Tack down the elastic at the side seams so the elastic won’t unroll.

Fold over elastic twice


Here’s a close up of the sweater sleeves and skirt.


How to add sweater sleeves to a t-shirt

Sewing knits on a sewing machine can be tricky, so here are some tutorials to help you get it right:

Sewing knits without a serger by Seamworks

How to sew with sweater knits by Seamworks


Add sweater sleeves to a t-shirt

After lots of trial and error, I found that sewing knits is all about the right stitch and tension.  Many modern sewing machines have specific stitches for knits, so give them a try.  Practicing on scraps will save you lots of tears and frustration.

Did you enjoy this refashion?  If so, please share it on your favorite social media platform – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest – whatever floats your boat.  Refashioning is the perfect antidote to fast fashion because it’s ethical and sustainable.  Your money goes to charity, and you save clothes from the landfill.  It’s good for the earth and your pocketbook.  Spread the word.


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There are 11 comments for this article
  1. Pingback: Tutorial: Add sweater sleeves to a t-shirt – Sewing
  2. Pingback: Melissa’s #Refashioned Sweater Skirt & Top #Tutorial | Refashion Nation
  3. Maira at 12:00 pm

    When someone writes an post he/she retains the plan of a user in his/her mind
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    of writing is outstdanding. Thanks!

  4. Pingback: Upcycled Sweater to Skirt | Baking and Bobbins with Robin
  5. Pingback: How to be a Kick Ass Blogger by Stalking Neil Patel’s Blogs – Trevor Loves Mommy
  6. Robynne Catheron at 10:04 am

    I’ve been wanting to try this for a while, so thank you! Since the sweater will unravel, I don’t suppose I could do it without a serger?

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