Wednesday, November 30, 2011

diy: leather-trim pocket sweater

When I really like an idea, I work it to death. One of the first projects I posted on this blog was a linen tee to which I’d added a curved hemline and a bit of pocket adornment. Now that’s it’s cold, I applied the exact same template to give new life to a thrifted wool sweater. Thus, my summer tee now has a super-cozy big sister! And, as I’ve previously divulged, I have a full-on obsession with attaching pieces of scrap leather to everything in sight, so slapping some leather on this sweater was more or less inevitable.

Instructions after the jump!


- A medium-weight sweater that fits you generously (in length and width) and has a ribbed hemline
- A small piece of scrap leather
- Fabric glue
- Xacto knife and ruler
- Sewing machine or needle + thread
- Leather needle (optional)

1. The raw material.

2. Carefully snip off the ribbed trim right where it meets the body of the sweater. Save this piece!

3. If needed, take in the sleeves and upper body portion of the sweater. I sewed along the lines shown above. Cut off excess fabric. Zigzag stitch/serge over the edges to prevent fraying.*

4. Cut a curved hemline in the front of the sweater. Make sure you leave about an extra ¼ inch for a seam allowance. Try on again and again until you like the way it hangs. Fold this edge ¼ inch to the inside of the sweater and stitch down, avoiding stretching/pulling the fabric. [NOTE: if you end up with an overly ruffly edge, don’t panic. Carefully iron the hem from the inside, which will help flatten it out.]

5. Decide how big you want the pocket to be and cut a piece of the ribbed trim that is this size + about 1 inch. (The piece I cut was about 4.5 inches.) Fold the side edges of the pocket piece about ½ inch to the inside and pin down.

6. Using an Xacto knife and rule to make a nice straight edge, cut a piece of leather that is a little bit longer than the horizontal side of your pocket and a couple of inches wide. Lay the pocket (inside surface facing up) on top of the leather piece (also inside up), overlapping by ½ inch, or however wide you want the leather trim to be.

7. Fold the leather piece to the inside of the pocket and glue down. Trim away any excess leather that may be sticking out of the sides of the pocket.

8. Secure the leather trim to the pocket by stitching close to the edge all the way around. I did this with a leather needle because I am slightly nutso, but you can do this with a sewing machine too. Pin the pocket to the sweater and stitch around the bottom and side edges to secure.

In the photos, I’m wearing the sweater with the ribbed cuffs folded to the inside. I may stitch the cuffs in place eventually. Your choice!

* Truth be told, I have not yet done this. I am known to skip steps in the initial haze of working through a project.  Such are my bad DIY habits. Don’t be like me!  However, so that my finished products don’t immediately disintegrate, I always go back and complete important finishing steps before washing.


  1. Love this! It looks so uptodate and pretty.

  2. wow! such a great idea, I have to find my old sweaters in my basement and "DIY" them a bit :)



  3. This is super cute and easy! I love leather trim, I need to work this into something right now :D Thanks for checking out my blog, I'll follow back!


  4. I love this super easy DIY! <3 The sweater looks amazing!

    Lost in the Haze

  5. so cool! the leather is a luxurious but simple touch
    erin @

  6. I love this kind of oversize jumper ;)

  7. Awesome! And it's looks so stylish and chic. Keep posting more ideas I'm now following your blog.

  8. oh amazing! so creative! i love leather details on sweaters

  9. Coming across your blog just made my day. Never-ending DIY instructionals = Love. Your creativity and ease with a needle is awesome! I'm a follower.

    -The Fashist

  10. it´s so cool this blog!

  11. Me encanta el DIY! Has tenido una idea genial! gracia spor pasarte por mi blog y comentar!

  12. really cool!! great diy!! so chic :)

    take care, aimee

    diy blog: swellmayde

  13. lovely sweater, you had a good idea!
    thanks for your lovely comment
    you have a great blog, I am following you too :)

  14. That is so creative and looks comfy. Following you too. Thanks for following me. Also following you on Bloglovin. See whether you can follow me on bloglovin too.

  15. So easy and so cool! Looks realy amazing:) Great DIY!

  16. Awesome idea! I've been all about diy projects recently...can't wait to try this one out! Thanks for sharing, girl!

  17. This is a great project! I've been thinking about adding some leather details to clothes too....this is the perfect project :)

    Natasha ~ Required2BeInspired

  18. Great idea. Thanks for sharing this


  19. What a cute cozy sweater :) I love the color and detail and It looks great! I just now joined your site :), come check out to my euphoric fashion styles and click on the "join site" at the bottom of the page so we can follow each other, xoxo:)

  20. That is a great way to spruce up an old jumper - thanks for the tutorial! Will have to look out for some knitwear to maul on my next op-shopping adventure...

    xx T

    Le Fanciulle

  21. This turned out so well! It looks great! xx

  22. Smart! Thanks for sharing the DIY!

  23. I love this!! I want this sweater! Great job with your fashion DIYs - I am too scared to try!

  24. Oh my goodness, I love this! I can't believe you took a rather boring V neck sweater and made it into something totally edgy and chic. I don't know what you do for a living but you're incredibly creative and talented.

  25. That turned out soooo cute. Great idea and you wear it so well!