Cutting Sweatshirt Jackets for Kids

Cutting Sweatshirt for Kids' Jackets

First start with a good quality sweatshirt that will wear well. When you select a shirt, be sure to check the side seams. Don't buy a shirt that has an obvious side seam that twists to the front or back. sells the Rabbit Skins and Kiddy Cats brands. They are available in lots of pretty colors and are top quality blank shirts that are perfect for making adorable jackets.

SIZE TO PURCHASE: I usually recommend getting one size larger than the child's age. This allows the child to grow a little and use the jacket a little longer, and remember, they will be wearing the jacket over other clothing, so give them a little wiggle room.

How to Cut the Jacket

First step: Remove the cuff and waist ribbing. I use scissors for this task.

Next, Lay the sweatshirt flat with the top edge of one sleeve even with a line on your cutting mat. Lay a ruler on top of the sleeve, matching a cross line with the top of the sleeve.

Now use a rotary cutter to adjust the sleeve length on one arm and straighten up the edges. I find that removing about one inch of the sleeve length is average. If you have access to the child's measurements, you can use their under arm to wrist length measurement plus about one inch. Most children tend to grow taller faster than they do wider, so a little more length in the sleeve means they can wear the jacket longer.

When you cut the second sleeve, DO NOT use the piece you cut from the first sleeve as a measurement. I rarely ever find that the sleeves are the exact same length. (Check the photo below. See the skinny piece that I cut off of the first sleeve lying on top?) How to cut the second sleeve: length: fold the sweatshirt in half down the middle and match the underarm and shoulder seams. Use a water soluble making pen and make a light dotted line along the second sleeve where the first sleeve ends. Now repeat the previous step of lining up the sleeve and the ruler to cut the second sleeve along the dotted line.

Open the sweatshirt and lay it flat on the mat matching the underarm seam and the same line across the mat. Measure and mark the length according to the pattern directions. Some jackets need the full length, others add a ruffle, and are cut shorter. Fabric Café patterns tell you how much to remove.

Now, leaving the sweatshirt lying on the mat with the under arm seams on the same line, Place a cutting mat on the line at the bottom on the two mark that you made. Using a rotary cutter, cut off the bottom of the shirt.

After trimming the bottom of the shirt, fold in half with the front to the outside, matching the shoulder and under arm seams. Place a long quilting ruler on the folded edge; now press down on the ruler to keep it steady. Use a water soluble fabric pen to make a dotted line along the front fold.

Now slip a small cutting mat inside the shirt. This will ensure a straight cut and avoid cutting through the back of the shirt.

Line up the cross line of a 24 ruler on the bottom edge of the shirt. Place the long edge of the ruler in the vicinity of the dotted line.

Use a rotary cutter to cut the front opening.

Continue with Sweatshirt Jacket instructions from our great pattern lineup.

Fabric Café Patterns and Book

Flowers and Bees Jacket from the book So Precious Sweatshirts

Cupcake Cutie Triple Ruffle Jacket uses Sweatshirt Cuties pattern from the book, So Precious Sweatshirts

Cupcake Cutie uses Sweatshirt Cuties pattern

Caterpillar Jacket using the Caterpillar Jacket and pillow pattern


  1. Great Tutorial! I love the pictures and hints!!

  2. I absolutely love the endless possibilities in personalizing this jacket pattern!

  3. This allows the child to grow a little and use the jacket a little longer, and remember, they will be wearing the jacket over other clothing, so give ...

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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