Entertainment Fashion & Style How to Distress a Sweater Share PINTEREST Email Print Fashion & Style Do It Yourself Accessories Tops & Sweaters Dresses Skirts Jeans Pants Outerwear Lingerie & Swimwear Shoes Skincare Advice Makeup Hair Fragrance Tattoos and Body Piercings Kids and Teens Bumps & Babies Learn More By Rain Blanken Updated October 06, 2017 01 of 08 Let's Destroy a Sweater Distress a Sweater. Rain Blanken ...pull this thread as I walk away. Well, it's not always that easy. Unraveling a sweater to your liking involves a little more patience than that. I call it 'Precision Unraveling'. I'll show you how to use fuzzy holes, runs, and zigzagging threads to add interest to an otherwise boring sweater. What You'll Need: Knit sweater. Preferably one that's been naughty. Seam ripper or small scissors (nail scissors will work). Once you have everything you need, let's get started... 02 of 08 The Right Sweater for the Job Choose a sweater that needs some interest or length. Rain Blanken There are three main reasons I like to distress a sweater: Too-Small Sweaters: Destroying a sweater can lend it a looser knit. This means a sweater that has shrunk in the wash can be salvaged. Shrunken sweaters often hike themselves up, becoming creepy little belly sweaters. A sweater that once covered your hips nicely could shrink over time to barely cover your navel. Check out the length on my sweater before and after I distressed it. Layering and Color: I'm as Irish as the next lass, so I love me some green. But the eye-buzzing green of this sweater was just too much. After unraveling, you can see that the minty green color is nicely broken up by the brown cami underneath. Destroyed and loose-knit sweaters are an easy option for layering. (Need more help layering? Check out my Guide to Layering Clothes). A Torn Sweater: A snag isn't such a big deal after you've camouflaged that cardigan with some precision unraveling. Nobody has to know! (Want to fix it instead? See How to Darn a Sweater). Next, let's start picking at it... 03 of 08 Start Picking Carefully insert the seam ripper in a few stitches and slice. Rain Blanken My dad always told me not to pick. Well, in this case, I think it's okay. Take a good look at your sweater. You'll notice that there are lots of little 'v' shapes, arranged in rows and columns. These are the stitches. Insert your seam ripper in two stitches that are in the same row. If you are using small scissors (like nail scissors), insert one blade into the stitches. Snip. Once you've got a little hole, you're ready to start popping seams... 04 of 08 Precision Unraveling Pull on the crossing threads to make the stitches retreat. Rain Blanken To create exactly the look you want, you are going to pop the seams as shown above. Gently pull at the hole you've made. You'll see a couple of stitch 'heads' that are willing to retreat away from the threads that stretch across the hole. Pull at the threads. As you pull, the stitches will unravel, and you'll be left with sparse lines of thread. If the stitches get stuck and refuse to move, there is probably some fuzz caught up in them. Pick at the heads of the stitches until they come loose. Then you can resume pulling on the threads. Once you've got the hang of it, let's find out how to make perfect stripes... 05 of 08 Unraveling Stripes Create perfect stripes by popping threads all the way down the sweater. Rain Blanken To keep from looking like you just got in an alley fight, figure out a pattern you want on your sweater and stick to it. I chose stripes with a speckling of small holes toward the bottom of the sweater. For perfect stripes, start by making a hole at the bottom or top of the sweater. Pop the same few seams (as shown in the previous step) all the way from top to bottom of the sweater. This process takes a little while, so cozy up in front of the TV and un-knit. Need some more character? Try creating tiny holes and stripes.. 06 of 08 Little Holes and Stripes Make holes and stripes by snipping a few of the unraveled threads. Rain Blanken Little holes along stripes of unraveled material can give a sweater a rougher look. Start by cutting a small hole, then unravel the treads at least 2" away from the hole. Cut another hole at this point and repeat. The key is to not cut the holes too close together... you don't want to accidentally join them into one big hole. Instead of popping all of the threads between holes, you can also add a zigzagged pattern by scooting stitches... 07 of 08 Scoot Stitches for a Zigzag Pattern Create zigzags by scooting scant stitches between holes. Rain Blanken For scooting stitches, you need to do the opposite of our 'little holes and stripes' method. For this one, first make all of the holes you want in a column. They don't have to be in a perfect column, don't worry. Just make them at least 2" apart. Once all of the holes have been made, Take a look at the space between each hole. This is usually where we pop the seams. Here you can pop a couple, but leave the stitches mostly intact. From here, use your seam ripper (or the back of your scissor blade... not the sharp part) to push the stitches to the side, as shown in the photo above. Got the hang of it? Let's look at the finished sweater and some tips for success... 08 of 08 The Destroyed Sweater The Destroyed Sweater. Rain Blanken Here is our finished sweater, after much harassment and due diligence. Tips for success: To get a better look at the seams you are working on, stretch the sweater out over the back of a chair. Alternately, you can wear a pair of dark pants and stretch the sweater over your knee. A seam ripper really is the right tool for the job, here. While small scissors can be used in a pinch, you may end up accidentally snipping here and there. For sweaters that have cable knit or other designs, try to work around the design. I have seen some really cool destroyed sweaters with all but the cable knit unraveled. Already destroyed your sweater? That was quick. Upload a photo and tell us all about it. You could be featured in the next DIY Fashion blog or weekly newsletter. (Need help? Ask Rain on Facebook.) Fast DIY Jewelry:Milk Tab Bracelet . Pop Tab Bracelet . Make Paper Jewelry . Toothbrush Bracelet . Microchip Earrings . Hemp Necklace . Pressed Penny Bracelet Easy Bags, Hats, Scarves and More:4 Ways to Tie a Tie . Make Glittery Heels . 5 Placemat Purses . Cassette Tape Wallet . Duct Tape Wallet . How-To Bags . Finger Knit a Scarf . Gloves and Wristbands . Easy Zippered Change Purse Clothes you can Make:10 Upcycled T-shirt Tutorials . Make Pants . Skirt Tutorials . Dye Your Clothes . Recycle Your Clothes . 10 Clothing Repairs You Should Know . Beginner Sewing Projects Please Note: Photographs, patterns and illustrations contained in this article are copyrighted ©Rain Blanken and Getty Images, and licensed to About.com, Inc. Do not redistribute these photographs or illustrations in any form.