How to Create a Warm Vest Out of a Sweat Shirt




Introduction: How to Create a Warm Vest Out of a Sweat Shirt

About: In a valiant attempt to keep myself from dying of boredom, I create.

My Hubby had a quadruple bypass 2 winters ago.  Ever since then, he has had a hard time “keeping his core warm”.  He has resorted to cutting the sleeves off sweat shirts and wearing the sweat shirt sleeveless, as part of his keeping warm agenda.  I asked my Hubby what he would like in a warm vest.  The next day he bought a sweat shirt and zipper for me to use to make one.  Here we go on the adventure of creating a Warm Vest out of a Sweat Shirt.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1:

A sweat shirt, new ($5-$10) or used (raid the closet)
Matching thread
24” jacket zipper (+/- $3, this kind releases at the bottom so you totally open your vest)
Sewing scissors
Sewing machine
Straight pins
Straight edge
Steam Iron
Ironing board

Step 2:

If your sweat shirt is new, please wash and dry it before starting on your project.  This way any shrinkage will occur before you make the vest.

Lay out the sweat shirt on a table for cutting. Cut off both sleeves.  Set aside, these will provide the material for the pockets.  Did I forget to tell you that this vest would have pockets?  Okay, it will have pockets.
(At this point I will apologize that this sweat shirt is so dark.  I didn't realize how hard it would be to photograph.  I will remember this and consider it a lesson learned.)

Step 3:

Fold a ½ inch of material around the arm hole, in toward the body of the shirt. Steam Press it. 

Step 4:

Sew this down to finish the edges.  I used a zigzag stitch.  It looks nicer.  Do the same thing to the other arm hole.

Step 5:

Now the arm holes are done.

Step 6:

Cut the sweat shirt down the middle, from the, oh so convenient, V at the throat, to the hem, in as straight as line as possible. If you must have a line to cut along, this is how you do it.  Get a straight edge, a piece of chalk and a couple of straight pins.  Fold the shirt in half to determine the middle of the neck and the hem.  Use straight pins to mark these two places. 

Step 7:

Using the straight edge, draw a chalk line

Step 8:

from the neck to the hem.  Now cut along the chalk line.  Ah, very good.

Step 9:

My Hubby likes little pockets in which he keeps his “Mike & Ikes” for munching.  So I will include pockets in this vest.  There are two types of pockets, patch work, and inset.  Patch work are easiest, yet I think I will do these pockets inset.

Cut 4 pieces of 4”x4”material, from the cut off sleeves. 

Step 10:

Determine where you want the pockets to go.  Use the chalk to mark a line where you want the opening of the pocket to go.  Make the line 4 inches long with sideways V’s on each end.  It should look like this:

Step 11:

Cut along these lines, and turn the shirt inside out. Fold in the little triangels in and sew them down (this will make the finished pocket look nicer when completed.  

Step 12:

Now with wrong sides together, sew an edge of a pocket to the cut edge of the top of the slit, (½ inch seam). Sew another pocket piece to the bottom cut edge. Now is a good time to top stitch the pocket edges to help the pocket opening withstand wear and tear.  Turn it over, do the two edges look good?  Okay.  Go back to the Inside and with the outsides of the pocket pieces together, pin together then sew around the other 3 sides of the pocket.  Turn it over again.  Does it lay flat?  Great! Repeat for the other pocket (if you decide you need two pockets).  Hurray, the pockets are done.

Step 13:

Put the zipper foot on your sewing machine. Did I forget to tell you that this vest will have a zipper?  Okay, it has a zipper. Now, open the package and remove the zipper.  I have never put a zipper on a semi bulky material like sweat shirt fleece before.  So I will do it a simpler way.  Using the hot steam iron, press a ½ inch of material to the inside of the shirt.  Do this on both sides of the cut line. 

Step 14:

With the zipper still closed, and the needle on the right side of the zipper foot, slowly sew the left side down to the left side of the zipper.  Okay, that’s done.  Now look to see if it is secure?  If you missed any places, go back and re-sew that place.

Step 15:

Now switch the needle to the left side of the zipper foot, and repeat, sewing the right side of the vest to the right side of the zipper.

Step 16:

Done!  Yeah!!!

Step 17:

Now go get Hubby to have him model the vest!  See that smile, he likes it.

Sew Warm Challenge

Participated in the
Sew Warm Challenge

Holiday Gifts Challenge

Participated in the
Holiday Gifts Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Sew Fast Speed Challenge

      Sew Fast Speed Challenge
    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest
    • Jewelry Challenge

      Jewelry Challenge

    8 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    The hood could be cut apart for inside pockets--
    which could then hold miscellaneous handy stuff;
    or could be located to hold those open and shake warmers
    on those fiercely cold days.
    I would put them where the heat felt the best.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    after a couple of spine injuries I to need to keep my back warm but don't always need/want the added weight of sleeves. I'm always on the lookout at thrift stores for sweatshirts and heavy flannel or denim work shirts that can have the arms amputated, even some light weight lined jackets and suit jackets have suffered from my razor knife surgery. An added attraction of the shirts and jackets is the additional pockets plus is there anything more redneck chic than a sleeveless suit jacket? Thank you for sharing.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    LOL, you sound like my Hubby. He hasn't taken the vest off (except for bed) since I made it. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when it needs to be washed? Thanks for looking.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    You could save a step when it comes to the zipper by buying zipper front "hoodies" and removing the hood.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    You are right, but I was using the sweat shirt my Hubby got for me. Trust me when I do the shopping (and I will because he wants another one) I will. My Hubby has made it clear he doesn't want a hood though, and a one with out a hood will be a little harder to find. Thanks for your comment and for looking.