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My holy-grail hoodie hack: how to cut a sweatshirt neck off-the-shoulder (NO SEWING REQUIRED!)
One of the things I get asked the most is how I cut my sweatshirts to make them cuter! I’m always on the hunt for unique hoodies that I can upcycle and make more wearable. One thing about hoodies is that while it’s nice sometimes to have the option to wear a hood when it’s windy or cold, I always prefer wearing crewnecks. You know, the sweatshirts without hoods! I don’t know if it’s because of my long hair always getting tangled or if it’s because I don’t like the feeling of something big and bulky around my neck (especially when I’m relaxing or sleeping) but I almost always prefer sweatshirts with no hoods.
One day I thrifted an XXL Vail hoodie in the men’s section of my local thrift store. It was perfectly worn in and soft, but it had a hood! For some, that may be a positive, but for me, I couldn’t really see myself wearing it as is. I bought it anyway and that was the very first time that I took scissors to a hoodie. I ended up just freehand cutting off the hood, following the line of where the hood was attached to the sweatshirt. I wasn’t too worried about being precise because I hadn’t spent more than a few dollars on it. After cutting I popped it on over my head. It laid perfectly off-the-shoulder and was so slouchy and comfy. It is still to this day one of my favorite sweatshirts ever! Since then, I’ve cut numerous sweatshirts and each one has turned out fabulously (if I do say so myself)!
Recently, I was watching the Sex and the City reboot “And Just Like That…” and noticed in one of the scenes that Carrie is wearing a slouchy, off-the-shoulder hand-cut New York sweatshirt that looks just like my Vail sweatshirt. The raw edges, the imperfect seams and the perfect comfy vibe. Now I’m definitely not saying that I was the first to cut a hood off of a hoodie, but it’s a pretty good sign that if Carrie Bradshaw would do it, so should you!
All you will need for this DIY:
A pair of really good fabric scissors. If you want to do anything with clothing, you’ll need a pair of fabric scissors. Safety scissors won’t get you where you need to go here. You can try, but it’ll probably make you want to rip your hair out! Fabric scissors are extra sharp and will cut through your hood easily.
An old hoodie. I usually try to buy hoodies that are very oversized, partially just due to my preference of a slouchy vibe but also because the larger the hoodie, the easier it is to simply follow the outline of the hood to make a very natural off-the-shoulder look. The smaller the hoodie, the more you will have to use trial and error to cut a big enough hole for the sweatshirt to be off-the-shoulder, but not too big that it won’t stay up on your body. This is the hoodie I recently cut:
Just as a disclaimer, make sure you try this on an old hoodie first, maybe one that you have thrifted or isn’t sentimental to you. Once you cut a hood off, you can’t really go back. Plus, I personally like the casual unfinished look. I am okay with seams slowly pulling and raw edges. If you are not, please keep in mind that this tutorial is for a super easy look, nothing too polished!
Okay now for the tutorial:
Lay the hoodie on a flat surface. Find the spot where the hood meets the body of the sweatshirt. You are going to cut on the outside edge of this seam (on the body of the sweatshirt). You can cut along or on the inside of the seam, but it doesn’t give the raw look that I like. One thing to note about cutting on the outside edge is that over time, the shoulder seam will slightly pull. You can easily hand sew this seam to be more secure but I personally don’t mind the look as it wears over time and adds to the slouch.
Start by cutting into the hood. Try to pick a place to start that won’t be as noticeable just in case the scissors cut a little more than you wanted. This is usually the back of the sweatshirt. Cut on the outside edge of the seam, following the seam. If you cut the hole too wide, the sweatshirt will fall off your shoulders. Too small and the sweatshirt won’t be off-the-shoulder. I find that this is the big trick. Follow the natural shape of the seam where the hoodie meets the body. It’s that simple. It creates the perfect off-the-shoulder look.
If your sweatshirt hole isn’t big enough to fall over your shoulder, you may need to trim more off. In that case, try on the sweatshirt and estimate how much bigger the hole will need to be. I advise following the exact shape that you just cut, and cut no more than half an inch or an inch off all along the circle to make the hole bigger. Like my mom would tell me, you can always cut more off, but you can’t put more on. Do this as many times as you need to get the size you want. If you want the sweatshirt to be super slouchy, do a bigger hole. Just make sure you don’t cut the hole so big that the sweatshirt won’t stay up.
If you want the sweatshirt to have more of a straight across look on the front, you’ll want to cut in more of an oval shape, having the top and bottom of the oval on the sides by the shoulders. This will make the front of the hoodie look more straight, but still give the off-the-shoulder look. I personally always just follow the shape of the hood as I like how it sits on my shoulders, but everyone is different and has different shoulder widths. Definitely try different shapes and methods if you’re feeling like experimenting but just make sure you use a hoodie that you’re willing to experiment with!
This method also works if you have an existing crewneck and you feel like the neck is too high, or you want it to look off-the-shoulder. Simply cut on the outside edge of the neck band and follow the same steps. Cut more along the circle for a deeper slouch and less if you want to keep a little more structure.