Sunday, September 8, 2013

J. Crew Inspired Tweed-Front Merino DIY Tutorial

Continued from this post, I had fit issues with the J. Crew Tweed-Front Merino Sweater and decided to make my own version.  See details below on how to create your own.

Original J. Crew version here
and my DIY version

 Difficulty: Intermediate

Time: ~2-3 hrs (I wound up making 2, so it took me 5 hours total)

  • ~1/2 yard of tweed, 
  • ~1 yard of knit fabric (stretchier is better!)
  • Bias tape in a matching color to bind your collar
  • Existing raglan sleeve top that fits you well 
Due to the number of photos, please see the rest of the tutorial after the jump.

What I learned from version 1:  As I mentioned above, I wound up making 2 of these.  The first version (from the mistakes below) wound up being too snug in the arms / underarms.  So I recut all of my pieces larger.

  • Tweed is a VERY loosely woven textile and prone to fraying.  Because of this, make sure to bind all edges with a serger or try some methods from this informative Sew4Home post AND allow for more seam allowance.  The last thing you want is for the stitching to come loose because the fraying has come up to it.
  • Choose a stretchy knit for the remainder of your top.  I had purchased the same ponte fabric from a previous project in a different color assuming that the stretch would be the same.  It was not.  By the time I realized this, it was too late.  I stuck with this ponte in version 2 because I was in love with the color combination, but the fit would have been better had I chosen the appropriate stretch.
  • Cut your collar in a manner that accommodates the pullover nature of this top.  I have a big head and wound up having to cut a slit in the back and adding a button closure (not a big deal, but would have been better to build this in).
1.  Fold your raglan sleeve top in half vertically and similarly fold your tweed fabric in half.  Place your top on top of your fabric aligning the center folds.

 2.  Fold the sleeves down right along the line where the sleeves meet the bodice.

3.  Using your existing top as a template, cut your tweed fabric.  Remember to cut ~0.5" larger to allow for your binding and seam allowance.  It is much easier (and more economical) to slim something down than to recut.
You'll wind up with a halter-esque bodice front

4.  Use your bodice front as a guide for the back and cut accordingly.  Do not cut the collar, this can remain straight across.

 5.  Now position your raglan sleeves similarly and fold the bodice at the line where the sleeve meets the bodice.  Cut 4 sleeve pieces.

 6.  Attach your sleeves to your bodice front and back

7.  Now with right sides together, sew the front to the back.  Start with the bodice sides and then each sleeve.

8.  To make your mock pockets, cut rectangles (~4.5 x 1.5") from your stretchy fabric.  Fold in half length-wise and pin in your desired positions

9.  Stitch along the unfolded side folding in the corners:

 10.  Flip your "pockets" up and blind stitch along the sides of each (great tutorial here)

11.  Finish your collar with bias tape using this tutorial.
12.  Hem and you're finished!

What it looks like on me

Questions?  Please don't hesitate to ask in the comments below or via email.


  1. What a great inspiration! The tweed sweater combo is so cute!

    1. Thanks Olyvia! I'm looking for other items to tweed-ify now :)

  2. i love the mix media! i've been wanting to do raglan sleeves, but something about it looks very difficult than regular sleeves.

    1. I actually find the raglan sleeves easier (at least the 2-part sleeve version) because there's no fiddling with inserting the sleeve and easing it properly into the armscye. Give it a shot!

  3. SO cute! You are talented girly! xo


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