Hey guys! It’s officially that time of year when I need to wear way more layers than I like to. I am literally always cold, so once it gets to be around the holidays, you can often find me in 4 or 5 layers, even just in the house. The worst part about this is how dull and unflattering that top layer can often get. And honestly, I can’t really help you turn a sweatshirt that needs to be over 4 other layers into something flattering, but I can make it cute.
I’m going to show you how to take a thrifted sweatshirt, some fusible webbing, and one felt square and turn it into a cute sweatshirt with adorable elbow patches. There are both no-sew and hand sewing options for this, and I’m absolutely in love with it.
Like I said- you need an oversized sweatshirt, I got mine for about $2 at a local thrift store. You’ll also need a felt square which shouldn’t be more than 50 cents, and some fusible webbing which is about $3/yard, but you don’t need a whole yard for this. You want to look for something called Heat and Bond (or similar, there are a couple of them out there). Basically it’s a paper backed, double sided fusible interfacing.
You also want to finish it off- I used some embroidery thread and a needle, but you can also use a 3D or puffy paint.
So the first step is to put on your shirt and mark exactly where you want your patch to be. I put a straight pin just above and just below my elbow. My patch ended up being a bit bigger than that, which is totally fine! I just wanted to know where to line it up.
Also, you’ll want to do this on both arms- don’t try to do one and then line up the other because it might be off a bit, and you want to make sure that the sleeve isn’t twisted weird.
Take your felt square and iron it to one side of your fusible web. Iron both sides so that it is securely attached, then cut the square out completely. Set aside the rest of the web because it’s not gonna go bad- save it for another sweatshirt or another project.
On the paper side of the felt/webbing combo, draw or trace whatever you want on your elbows! I did hearts because I wanted something cute and girly, but you can do anything you want. You can go traditional with ovals or rectangles, or show off your team spirit with footballs in your team color- the possibilities are endless.
Again, you want these to be pretty similar, so trace them both from a template, or cut out one and then trace the other from that.
Don’t forget to peel off the paper backing! When you peel the paper off of the back of your heart, you now have basically made your own DIY iron on patch. Line up the patch with where your original straight pins marked and iron it on.
The felt is kind of thick, so you should use a decently high temperature on your iron, and also you might even want to let the iron sit on the patch for 10-15 seconds. Just be really careful not to burn yourself or anything else.
You can technically stop here, but I’d definitely recommend finishing off the edges either by stitching like I did above, or by using a thin line of puff paint all the way around. If you go the paint route, make sure that you catch both the felt and the shirt in the line of paint and let it dry completely before you wear it. If you go with the stitching method, don’t sew the arm closed.
And, that’s pretty much all there is to it!
This whole project ended up costing me less than $5, and is now honestly one of my cutest top-layer shirts, so I highly recommend giving this a go. If you don’t live in a super cold climate, you could even do this on a thinner long sleeve tee. (Also, I’m jealous, can I come stay with you?)
If you do this project, I’d love to see how it turns out! Send me a picture on twitter or instgram- @techni_moments so I can see!
PS: there’s a video tutorial on this right here if you prefer that kind of thing.