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How to Upcycle a Sweatshirt and Easily Shorten Sleeves with Floral Hand Embroidery


How to Shorten Sleeves with Floral Embroidery

It's almost spring, but it's still cold and rather rainy in the PNW. For me this means sweaters and florals. I recently picked up a lovely pink sweatshirt from Costco. I wanted to go for the oversized look for an extra cozy fit. Unfortunately that also meant the sleeves were a tad long for my arms. Have you ever run into this issue?


Here's an easy way to upcycle your sweatshirt with floral hand embroidery! You can use this DIY tutorial to shorten the sleeves without having to cut anything. (Because let me tell you, scissors and clothing adjustments usually don't go well for me.)


These are the materials you'll need to get started:


How to Upcycle a Sweatshirt and Shorten the Sleeves with Floral Hand Embroidery:

1. Start by folding the sweatshirt sleeves to your preferred length. Foe me, this was simply folding over the cuffs.

Sweatshirt Sleeve folded over with embroidery thread, needle book, and scissors

2. Using 3 strands of embroidery thread, and the detached chain /lazy daisy stitch, create 4 flower petals. Slide the needle in between the cuff and the sweater sleeve to start the stitch. This will help protect the knotted end of thread. After each flower, knot the thread off with a slip knot. Then start again on another flower.


TIP: I found it helpful to create a row closest to the seem first, add the flower center, then add another row and those flower centers.



Detached Chain/ Lazy Daisy Stitch: The detached chain stitch resembles a flower petal or tear drop shape.

  • To start, bring your threaded needle from the back of your fabric to the front.

  • Hold your thread off to the side and bring your needle back down through the fabric in almost the same place you just came up.

  • Gently pull your thread until you have a small loop formed on the front of your piece.

  • Next bring your needle up from the back of the fabric to the front, going through your loop. Wherever you bring your needle back up will be where the top of the chain will be formed.

  • Be sure your loop isn’t twisted, otherwise the loop will also be twisted.

  • Then gently pull your thread through so that a small loop is formed on the front of your fabric.

  • To secure the detached chain stitch, bring your needle down, back through the fabric at the top of the loop, on the other side of the looped thread.

  • This creates a single detached chain stitch.


Sweatshirt cuff folded over with two embroidered flowers

3. After the flower petals are stitched, use 3 strands of embroidery thread and the detached chain/ lazy daisy stitch to create the flower center. This stitch will be horizontal and sit flush to the edge of the flower petals.


Add as many or a few flowers as you'd like to the sleeve! I used two colors for my flower petals so there was slight variation and changed the direction of some of the flowers too.


Sweatshirt cuff folded over with embroidered flowers


Upcycle a Sweatshirt with Floral Embroidery

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