Sweatshirt Surgery – Sew It Seams

Penncrest sewing machine

One day, when I was about 14 years old, I came home from . . . somewhere, walked into my room, and found a brand, spanking new sewing machine sitting on my desk. I could hardly believe my eyes! It wasn’t my birthday. It wasn’t Christmas. And believe me, my family wasn’t rich! Stuff like this didn’t happen!

I don’t know what possessed my parents to bestow on me this unexpected surprise gift, but I certainly didn’t ask questions! My Grandma had been giving me sewing lessons, so maybe my parents wanted to encourage me. I continued my lessons with Grandma, but later on, I took a sewing class in high school. That way, I could learn even more, since I had my own sewing machine and all. Today, almost 49 years later, I still have my sewing knowledge and skills, and I still have that very same sewing machine. In fact, I still use it.

Last year, my light jacket, which I had bought at a thrift shop, finally wore out. For the last several weeks of the season, I wore a jacket that was gifted to Dan. Except it didn’t really fit Dan. It didn’t really fit me either, but it was close enough to finish out the season.

This year, I decided to make that jacket my own, you know, since Dan’s arms weren’t going to get any shorter. The jacket wasn’t a hoodie which is good because I don’t like the weight of a hoodie. The light grey color was fine. The jacket even had a Michigan logo on it, so it gets extra points for that. It was very comfy and roomy; no surprise, given that it was meant for Dan. The only issue was the sleeves. While the sleeves were too short for Dan’s arms, they were too long for mine. Now that’s a problem I can solve. All I needed to do was watch a Youtube video and pull out my old Penncrest.

Here’s the pictorial story:

Cutting off the cuff
No turning back now!
Cuff cut off
Save the cuff!
Two cuffs and the extra length cut off.
I was careful not to cut off too much as the allowance for seams would shorten the sleeves further.
Sweatshirt sleeve turned inside out, marked for tapering and cutting off excess.
Notice how much wider the shortened sleeve is than the cuff.
The white line is some ironing tape (from my Grandma’s stash)
which I used to guide me when sewing.
I trimmed the excess off the sleeve when done.
I pinned the cuff back on the sleeve,
taking out the pins as I sewed.
I also reversed the direction of the pin the second time around.
Less painful that way!
Cuff sewn back on the sleeve.
After sewing, I cut off the excess in the sleeve.
Doing so removed that bulging line seen here.

Final Result

Betty wearing the before sweatshirt.
Betty wearing the after sweatshirt.

I’m all ready for cooler weather! Let’s go camping!

Embroidery on the jacket - Michigan 1837


  1. Well done! I had to take sewing in home economics class in high school. Both my Mom and my Grandma were great seamstresses. I detested sewing. Hubs bought me a sewing machine for Christmas one year, deluded that this would make me mend the rips in his shirts and pants. I did use the machine to make Halloween and Ice Carnival costumes for our daughter and a bit during my crafting phase. I gave the machine to our daughter many years ago when she started quilting. I haven’t missed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, it sounds like the sewing machine ended up with the right person! It’s wonderful how we all like different things and have different talents. Makes for a more interesting world! Happy Saturday!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Way to go, Betty! We have an old Singer sewing machine my great aunt bought back in the 1950’s. And it still works wonderfully! Sews 🧵 through my index finger perfectly. This is one reason why only Nancy uses it. I hope you and Dan have a wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, David. And sorry about your finger. I’m not sure how you did that! Isn’t it amazing that a sewing machine from the 1950’s still works?! I hope you and Nancy have a wonderful weekend, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It was actually just the tip of my finger that got sewed, as I was running a piece of fabric through. My mom loved to sew and was showing me how to fix the hem on my jeans. The needle didn’t go clean through. I was being hyperbolic. Makes blog comments more interesting, you know?😇

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah….I suspected as much. 🙂 Or perhaps it was just a handy (ha ha) excuse to leave all the sewing to Nancy. In any case, Great comment, David!! Stay safe! And have a good day, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Learning to sew is a skill I cherish. I regularly shorten sleeves as you did on the blog post. I’m now good at hems on jeans as most jeans —even petite sizes — are too long when I buy them. I’m losing height as I age and need to shorten most jeans and pants so that I don’t trip when wearing them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, we definitely want to do everything we can so as not to trip! I don’t bounce like I used to! I’m tall, so I haven’t had to shorten jeans, but I do like taking something I already have and making it usable – or better. I am glad I learned to sew, too! Enjoy your Saturday!


  5. It looks like it was “tailor-made” for you! However, you will now not be as cool as the girls on campus who apparently love their hoodies large enough to hang off their hands, It might be for those mornings when it is cold enough for gloves, without the stress of keeping up with gloves. 🙂

    You look ready to walk!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So, that’s a thing? Wearing a hoodie large enough to hang off your hands? I also don’t wear pants so big you can see my underwear and have other people wondering, “How do those pants not fall down?” Well, I’m certainly not cool. Now, regarding cool mornings, I’ll put my hands in my pockets.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely post. I felt your joy in reading about your surprise gift sewing machine. Your sweatshirt fix is a great practical demo of how useful sewing can be in day-to-day life; and that a new’ machine with lots of fancy stitches is totally unnecessary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I actually thought of you when writing this post. I believe you had a pair of slacks and changed out the waistband. Like you, I get more of a charge out of updating something I already have than just going out and buying something else. That’s so good in several ways. Just like still using those sewing machines from the 1970’s!!! Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m reading this and smiling, you are so handy! Love the work in progress shots. Now you have a jacket that fits better and one that looks very cozy for your awesome travel adventures. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, David. How nice to know you were smiling as you read it! The weather has turned cooler, so I got it done just in time! Hope you have a great day!


  8. With your creativity I would have expected nothing less. And it really looks great. As for me let’s just say the last time I tried to sew a button on it looked like a spider web of thread! I’m afraid that sewing is just not in my blood. Enjoy your Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. My guess is Miss Barbara will be more than happy to sew any buttons for you. If not, there is always stick-on velcro! Hope you have a great week ahead!


  9. Well done! I gave my sewing machine away several years ago since I hadn’t used it in ages. The scissors in your picture look like the ones we had when I was growing up – they were virtually indestructible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good observation! Those scissors were either my mom’s or my grandma’s scissors. I tried to refurbish a pair of my mom’s scissors to give to my daughter-in-law, but I may have ruined them by letting them soak in vinegar too long. Other than that, they are pretty indestructible! Some other readers gave away their sewing machine, too. Different folks, different strokes! Hope it found a nice, new home. Have a good week ahead!


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