Introduction: Make a Jacket Warmer Using an Old Sweater

Recently I was moved to a cold office where I always needed to wear something warm, like cardigans. I don't like wearing the same one too often, but it's difficult to shop for more when you're cheap and picky. I only wanted full-zips or buttoned ones that open fully in front so I can take them off and put them back on quickly. I had a couple of jackets that were not warm enough, so to add them to my daily options I reluctantly wore another layer under them.

While digging deep into my closet I found a couple of thin sweaters I no longer used. I didn't want to wear them as a second layer, but I realized I could use them as lining on my thin jackets. After about an hour of hand stitching, I had two more warm jackets in my rotation, and two old sweaters rescued from oblivion.

Update: The lining can be removable. I describe how I did it in the epilogue.

Step 1: Materials

To line the thin jacket with the old orange sweater, I needed nothing but a pair of scissors, and needle and thread. The project doesn't need a machine or any special sewing skills.

I started with a brown denim jacket that was good enough for travelling in Asia where I bought it, but wasn't warm enough even for spring in Canada. What makes it ideal for this project is that it had a flap underneath the front which can be used to hide the edge of the lining. I was still able to line a bomber jacket that didn't have that flap, but there was a bit more stitching needed. I'll explain later why this matters.

The sweater I used was the same size as the jacket. If the sweater is too big (or too thick), it might form lumps under the jacket. If it's too small, you'll need to make sure it doesn't pull at the jacket when they are stitched together. The best result, with less effort, is with a jacket made of firm material like denim, and a lining with soft, stretchy fabric.

Step 2: Cut and Prep for Stitching

I cut a line along the front of the sweater. I then lined up the collar, front and sleeves to plan my moves.

I kept the sweater collar intact since it didn't show above the jacket collar. If it was visible, it will have to be removed.

The hem was too long, so I cut off the elastic part. The sleeve was also too long, so off went the cuff.

Step 3: Stitch Them Up

I started by marking the center of the collar, then lined up that center with that of the jacket. All the other stitches radiated in succession away from this first stitch. (This is probably the only thing you need to take away from this instructable. When I initially just stitched without a system, I ended up with lumps and bunches all over. )

I made sure to place the stitches so that the sweater and jacket line up flat together without one pulling at the other. Whenever that happened, I just removed the stitch and started over. I made sure to anchor down the corners and other points on lining that were likely to lift.

I used a large needle and heavy thread. Because the thread was strong enough, I just doubled up the stitch then knotted up the ends.

Step 4: About That Flap...

The picture shows how the cut end of the sweater tucks in under that flap in front of the jacket.

If that flap is absent, as it was in a bomber jacket I lined with a red sweater, I had to blanket-stitch the whole perimeter of the lining. That took a lot more work, but it was the only way to hide the lining and keep it in place.

Step 5: All Done!

You can count all the stitches I put in in the picture. The denim was firm enough, so the stitches only had to be at three-inch or so intervals.

The bomber jacket with red lining is a different story. The material was thinner than the denim, so it was much more prone to bunching up whenever it didn't line it up with the lining correctly. And as I said earlier, I had to stitch its entire cut edge and the collar to keep it in place. Because of that, the lining on this one will have to stay there forever.

Step 6: Epilogue: Making the Lining Removable

I took the jacket and lining apart when it was time to wash the jacket, and decided to update the design unless I wanted the Restitching of the Lining to be a winter ritual.

To make the lining removable, I used a loop-and-button system in place of stitches. Velcro would be good too but I didn't want to use a sewing machine. I gathered some buttons and an old flat shoelace about 0.5 cm wide. I chose a nylon shoelace so that the cut ends can be melted with a flame to prevent from unraveling. I cut up the shoelace into 4-cm lengths, enough to serve as loops to hold the buttons.

The only thing to remember when sewing on the loop is making it tight such that it will take some effort to push the button through. In installing the button on thin fabric, adding a small piece of sturdier fabric as backing under the stitch will make it stronger.

Except for a couple of points near the collar, the buttons and loops just went on the same locations where there were already stitches. However, I needed fewer removable connections than fixed stitches. To avoid bunching, the previous tip about placing the connections in succession away from the starting point at the center of the collar applies.

Sew Warm Contest 2018

Runner Up in the
Sew Warm Contest 2018