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Cap-Sleeve Hoodies

Give an old hoodie new life with this simple sewing idea from Sistahs of Harlem designer Carmen Webber.

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, Episode 5128


  • Zip-front hoodie sweatshirt, one size larger than you would normally wear

  • Iron

  • Fabric scissors

  • Ruler

  • Water-soluble marking pen

  • Straight pins

  • 6 inches of 1-inch elastic

  • Sewing machine

  • Thread in coordinating color

  • Hand-sewing needle

  • 1/2 yard of 1/4-inch elastic


  1. Press hoodie with warm iron. Cut off arms of hoodie, slightly outside shoulder seams. Set arm pieces aside.

  2. Turn hoodie wrong side out and lay flat, with back side facing up. From neckline, measure down center back to waist level (between 14 and 16 inches), and mark. Center ruler horizontally under mark, and measure five inches in each direction; mark these points.

  3. With 6-inch piece of elastic, mark elastic in center, and 1 inch in from each raw edge. Place elastic horizontally on hoodie back, under marks, lining up center marks and side marks. Pin in place. Machine-stitch elastic to hoodie, stretching as you sew.

  4. Cut seams from sleeves and open flat. Mark a horizontal line 5 to 6 inches from the top of each sleeve; cut sleeves on lines. Discard bottom part of sleeves. Cut small notches at center top of sleeves.

  5. Hand-baste across top of sleeve, 1/2 inch in from curved edge. Pull thread to gather the top of each sleeve.

  6. With wrong sides of gathered sleeves facing right sides of hoodie, pin gathered sleeves to armholes of hoodie, matching center notch on sleeve to shoulder seam on hoodie. (Note: The sleeve caps will extend only halfway down armholes.) Topstitch sleeves to armholes.

  7. Place 7-inch lengths of 1/4-inch elastic on inside of sleeves, 1/2 inch from bottom raw edge. Machine- or hand-stitch elastic to sleeves.

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