An easy clothes upcycling tutorial. How to re-style an ill fitting jumper

upcycle jumper tutorial

An easy upcycling project suitable for beginner sewers.

In this clothes upcycling tutorial, I restyled a jumper I bought thrifting for $3.00. It was too big but I knew it would be an easy upcycling project. I loved the pink pearl detail and the lightweight fabric would make it perfect for spring or autumn when it’s not too hot or too cold. It was on the “last chance” rack and was probably destined for landfill within a few days.

I knew it would be an easy clothes upcycling project and, with little effort, I could transform it into a more contemporary, wearable piece giving it a second life in my wardrobe. To restyle it, all I had to do was reduce the length of the bottom hem and sleeves, adding elastic to them which gave it a more feminine silhouette that suited the colour and pearl detail.

Watch the upcycling tutorial video below


Shorten the sleeves. Elasticise the new sleeve hems.

The first step was to sew two rows of stitching at the bottom of each sleeve.

Tip: The gap between each seam must be large enough to accommodate the width of the elastic. Remember to leave an opening so you can feed through the elastic which is sewn closed after feeding the elastic through.

For more sleeve upcycling inspiration, check out the sleeve tutorial video on my channel featuring puffy sleeves, bell sleeves and elastic sleeves. I’ll put a link in the comments.

upcycle jumper tutorial
BEFORE – I bought this jumper thrifting for $3.00. It was stretched and didn’t fit me well. I knew it would be a simple upcycling project.


Shorten the jumper length. Elasticise the new bottom hem.

Next, I do the same for the bottom hem.

To make my job easier, I used the top of the ribbing as my new hem guide. It saved me so much time and ensured my hems were straight.

This fabric was very easy to sew and work with. What a shame it would have been if this jumper had gone to landfill.

Thanks for visiting. If you would like to see more upcycling tutorials like this, please let me know in the comments below.  I upload upcycling, sewing and thrifting videos weekly so subscribe so you don’t miss an update.

See you next time,

upcycle jumper tutorial
AFTER – And here it is finished. What a transformation! This was an easy jumper upcycling project and could be done by beginner sewers.

clothes upcycling

Why clothes upcycling is important.

Clothes upcycling promotes a more sustainable, creative, and responsible approach to fashion, all of which contributes to a healthier planet and a more sustainable future.

Environmental Impact

Clothes upcycling helps reduce waste by repurposing old or unwanted garments, often diverting them from landfill.

With the fashion industry being one of the planets largest polluters, upcycling and repurposing clothing reduces the need for new materials and decreases carbon emissions associated with the product and disposal of clothing.


Traditional clothing manufacturing consumes significant amounts of water, energy, and raw materials.

Upcycling clothing not only extends the life of existing textiles, conserving these valuable resources, but promotes more sustainable consumption patterns.


Creative Expression

Upcycling clothes and other materials encourages creative freedom by transforming old clothes into unique, personalised garments.

Upcycling and sewing fosters innovation and encourages people to experiment with designs, creating one-of-a-kind items that reflect personal style and creativity.

Cost Effective

Upcycling clothing can be very cost-effective by reducing money spent purchasing new clothes but can also assist charities when clothes are purchased second hand from charities.

Quality and Longevity

Repairing and mending clothing enhances the longevity of existing garments, giving them longevity in your wardrobe and limiting the need to purchase new clothes.  This contrasts with fast fashion items, which are frequently designed for short-term use.