Ruffles, Tassels and Bows: 17 Ways to Embellish a Blank Sweatshirt

By Jordan Smith

Who doesn’t love the versatility of a sweatshirt? This is the casual partner to sweatpants or jeans and usually reserved for wearing around the house, running errands, or going to the gym.

Not anymore. By adding a few embellishments, you can turn your plain sweatshirts into an “elevated” garment with style!

Embellished sweatshirts are showing up more on the streets of major cities. Several eye-catching trends have surfaced over the past few months and are continuing to be trendy into the fall and winter seasons, with everything from ruffles, fringe, rhinestones and lace-up, just to name a few.

Here are 17 embellishments that are fun and a cinch to make:

  1. Ruffle Sweatshirts

Ruffles are trending now and all the rage in the fashion world for fall of 2017. Whether they are framing the face from the neckline or spiraling down and across the sweatshirt, ruffles build a dramatic, flouncy look.

There’s no need to add jewelry as ruffles act as an accessory on their own. You can take a plain sweatshirt and with a few strips of material, transform it into a ruffled top.

  1. Fringe Sweatshirts

Swingy fringe adds a playfulness to blank sweatshirts of just about any color. Whether it is strategically placed on the hem of the sweatshirt, draped down the length or added to the sleeves, your sweatshirt will be a shimmy-shaking hit. You can either sew or liquid stitch it on or make a fringe along the bottom of your sweatshirt with scissors.

  1. Sequin Sweatshirts

The sequin trend is trending for fall this year. If you enjoy anything that sparkles, you’ll love adding sequins to your blank sweatshirts. These are great for personalizing bridesmaid’s gifts, holiday sweatshirts, alumni sweatshirts or just to make a “blingy” statement.

  1. Off-the-Shoulder Sweatshirts

One of the biggest trends this year is the off-the-shoulder trend. Making an off-the-shoulder sweatshirt takes an ordinary solid color top and gives it that extra pizazz. This is a very easy DIY transformation, and no sewing is involved.

  1. Tassel Sweatshirts

Tassels make everything feel like a party. The fun, flowy tassels come in every color of the rainbow, or you can go chic with the simpler colors. It’s also a great way to upcycle your sweatshirt. Arrange the tassels in the design you want, make a few stitches and voila. You’ve gone from boring to “let’s party.” Add a pair of tassel earrings, and you’re ready to celebrate.

  1. Statement Sweatshirts

Slogan sweatshirts are becoming the weapon of choice when it comes to making a statement. This is probably one of the easiest and trendiest embellishments to wear, because you can style your sweatshirts for every occasion. Whether you want to get political or show off your sense of humor, you can shout your message loud and clear with a statement sweatshirt.

  1. Bow Sweatshirts

Ever heard the phrase, “Put a bow on it?” From Paris to the runways of New York, designers are embellishing their looks with a pretty bow motif. Buy a package of mini-bows and sew them all over the front of the sweatshirt or just down the sleeves. One of the most popular fashion trends this season is the bow-back sweatshirt. It has an effortless chic, yet feminine look and can easily be worn with dress pants, a skirt or jeans.

  1. Cutout Sweatshirts

Skin is in. The less-is-more look is everywhere, even when it comes to cooler weather and your sweatshirt. There is something interesting about a few well-placed windows in an otherwise solid sweatshirt, and people love it. Whether you are going to slice into the sides, shoulders, elbows or down the back, cutouts are an easy DIY project.

  1. Eyelet Sweatshirts

Soften up and feminize your beloved gray sweatshirt with a lacy eyelet look. Eyelet is a time-tested design element and provides a whimsical romantic look. So simple to do, and it will look great with jeans, yoga pants or whatever else you choose to wear it with.

  1. 10. Lace Sweatshirts

Lace never goes out of style. It is classic, romantic and ultra-feminine.  You can mix lace with just about anything, and colored lace is a trend right now. Try using bright red on black, deep blue on white, yellow on burgundy or blue and pink. Think about matching the colors of your favorite sports team.

  1. Freehand Design Sweatshirts

Try your hand at transforming your black sweatshirt into a design like no other. Using simple blank sweatshirts and two white fabric pens, you can inexpensively transform your sweatshirt canvas into a graphic freehand designer piece.

  1. Appliqué Sweatshirts

Appliqués are the perfect way to jazz up a plain sweatshirt making it fresh and fun. They can also be used to personalize it. You can make an appliqué out of any design or pattern you can come up with for any season or occasion.

  1. Bleached Sweatshirts

Another innovative way to design your own sweatshirt. Simply put bleach in a spray bottle and spray it over a doily or stencil on a black sweatshirt. The design will be one of a kind, and the design options are limitless.

  1. Shibori Sweatshirts

Shibori is an ancient Japanese technique, and when used to dye a sweatshirt, you can get the look of this fall’s hottest trend. The word Shibroi means to wring, squeeze or press. It involves different ways of folding and tying the sweatshirt to create different patterns. Every sweatshirt will be unique.

  1. Rhinestone Sweatshirts

Add a little bling to your sweatshirt this season. Rhinestones come in all shapes, sizes and too many colors to count. Some are easily glued on, and some are easily ironed on. So, there’s no mess. If you want something that stands out, definitely go with a rhinestone embellishment.

  1. Lace-Up Sweatshirts

Playful and inspiring, lace-up sweatshirts bring on a major punch. They add instant retro to the everyday sweatshirt and are so much more fashion forward than they were in the 1970s. Pairing a lace-up sweatshirt with a pair of jeans is much more intriguing than the usual sweatshirt and jeans. There’s no sewing involved for this DIY project.

  1. Sweatshirt Jacket

Sweatshirt jackets are a cinch to make, and there is no limit to the types of embellishments you can add. You can construct a stylish jacket from your comfy, soft sweatshirt with just a pair of scissors and some fusible interfacing. Then embellish away. Imagine all the options.

Time to elevate

Once only reserved for running errands or going to the gym, the modest, plain blank sweatshirt has resurfaced on runways and city streets as a high fashion icon. From making a statement to dressing them up for special occasions, these elevated sweatshirt ideas are trending in style.

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