DIY Tutorial: Bow Sweater

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Diy tutorial bow sweater

In my mind, it is still feels like summer. I'm still adjusting to school - despite taking three midterms already - and the weather here in Michigan is obnoxious (*cough* high of 80!). However, I felt the need to do a fall DIY sometime soon and this week seemed like the ideal time.

I've seen beautiful bow-sleeve sweaters all over Pinterest and the DIY blog world, but have yet to find tutorial that I actually like. And then I remembered that I "DIY", so I decided to make my own tutorial.

So, today's DIY will help you re-vamp some of those boring, oversized sweaters in the back of your closet that are waiting for a fun makeover. Read on to learn how:


  • An oversized sweater - aim for one that's more chunky. (Pro-tip: head to your local thrift shop for a really cheap, old one. In the event that you mess up, your wallet won't suffer, plus you get fantastic deals! Mine is an angora sweater that was $5.)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Marker
  • A dress form and/or your body
  • *Wide* ribbon
  • Needle and thread (the thread should be in the same color as the sweater!)

Step One

Step One DIY Bow Sweater

Turn your sweater inside-out. Try it on. Use your marker to mark on the fabric where you want your cuts to go. I opted for a little shoulder-baring action plus a boatneck instead of the turtleneck part. Line up a small section at the shoulder, as shown in the diagram below.

Pro-tip: remember to keep the back of the sweater higher up than the front so it fits properly.

Diagram Step One DIY Sweater

Step Two

Step Two DIY Bow Sweater

Start cutting along the lines you've drawn. Try to cut on the inside of the line, because going too small is always better that going too big when clothing re-fashioning. For the sleeves, cut through both layers of the fabric so they're perfectly symmetrical. Remember to cut the back higher than the front!

Pro-tip: I like to cut only half-way across the fabric, then *fold it over* and use the folded portion as a template-guide to make sure that the lines are perfectly symmetrical. It helps make the DIY look more "polished" and less "DIY". 

Step Three

Step Three DIY Bow Sweater

Cut teeny-tiny little holes at the shoulder sections (both front and back) that you lined up in step one.

Step Four

Step Four DIY Bow Sweater

Hem down the edges of the sweater (here's a quick graphic detailing the process of hemming) so you get a nice, clean edge.

Step Five

Step Five DIY Bow Sweater

Loop the ribbon through the back and front holes made in step three to connect the front and back shoulder sections.

Step Six

Step Six DIY Bow Sweater

Finally, tie a nice, fat bow to secure. Try to position the bow so it lies perpendicular to your shoulders, so that one loop of the bow lies on the front of the sweater, and one loop lies on the back.

The Finished Product:

DIY bow sweater

And that's it! The nice thing about this DIY is you can freely switch out the ribbon for the bow portion. You can swap out different colors, patterns, and textures to create an entirely new look - simply untie the current bow to replace!

Feedback please:

What do you think about the bow trend? Would you do this DIY? Are there any other DIYs you would like to see the tutorial for? Let me know in the comments!

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