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Fashion DIY: How to spruce up a plain sweater

Give your plain sweater a makeover! Learn how to sew an edgy exposed zipper onto the side of your sweater and get some fall fashion inspiration.

DIY zip sweater |

DIY zip sweater


  • A plain sweater
  • jacket zipper
  • Fabric scissors
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Fray check or fabric glue
Phillip Lim pre-fall 2013 sweater

The inspiration

DIY zip sweater |



Lay and pin

DIY zip sweater |

Lay out your sweater and place the zipper in the spot you want. Pin it down to prepare for sewing. (If your knit is tricky like this one was, you might need to leave a bit of extra wiggle room at the bottom in case the zipper slides up as you pin.)


Sew zipper inside

DIY zip sweater |

Use a zipper foot on your sewing machine instead of the standard presser foot so you can stitch closer to the zipper. Starting from the bottom, sew up the side closest to the zipper and stop. Flip the sweater and then sew back down the other side closest to the zipper and stop. (Tip: When starting and stopping, sew back and forth a few times in a small area to secure the stitch.) The zipper should now be sewn in place and ready for the next step.


Sew zipper outside

DIY zip sweater |

Repeat the steps above for the outside of the zipper. Sew the outer edges of the zipper down, getting as close as you can to the edge. End the stitch, take the sweater off the machine and trim loose threads.


Pin and sew zipper end

DIY zip sweater |

Fold the ends of the zipper up into the inside of the sweater and pin in place. Sew them down.

DIY zip sweater |



Unzip the zipper to expose the sweater underneath. Using your fabric scissors, cut a line up from the bottom until about four or five inches from the top of the zipper (or more if you plan to wear it unzipped all the way). Try not to trim any excess fabric close to your inner stitches because they’ll up the chance of it unraveling.



In order to prevent unraveling and fraying, seal the edges where you cut the sweater using fabric glue or fray check.

Squeeze some glue onto the edge and press down with your finger (or you can use a paintbrush).

Try to angle the ends inward so they won’t be sticking out behind the zipper.

You just took a plain sweater and gave it a bit of edge!

More beauty

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Simple ways to transition into fall fashion
6 Accessories to complete your fall wardrobe

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