How to Make Your Own Vintage Style Varsity Sweatshirt Using the Cricut Explore Air 2

This post is brought to you by Cricut. All opinions are 100% my own.

One of my earliest memories happened when I was shopping at a garage sale. I was barely school-aged buying some newborn baby clothes for my dolls. I remember digging in a cardboard box for the perfect yellow pajamas with snaps in the smallest size they had and offering up the quarter I had in my sweaty palm. I haven't stopped buying second-hand clothes and love that I can take someone's trash and make it my own treasure! Check out how I upcycled my own DIY varsity vintage sweatshirt using the Cricut Explore Air 2 and some garage sale duds I bought for $1.


DIY Vintage Varsity Sweatshirt Using the Cricut Explore Air 2


Vintage varsity sweatshirts are all the rage right now. I'm no stranger to digging deep in the bins at Goodwill Outlet or sifting through clothes at a garage sale. Many of those digging alongside me are looking for vintage t's and sweatshirts to resell. Do a quick search on eBay or etsy and you'll see that those vintage varsity duds are fetching top dollar. Or heck, look at your favorite retailer and see that they are producing some vintage-looking varsity duds. This is one of those reasons I love my Cricut! I can DIY my own for a fraction of the price and not only that, I can make them say whatever I want! 

Summer is my favorite time of year, mostly because my favorite pastime is going to garage sales. I set aside time on the weekend to hit up as many garage sales as I can, which is also when I start stockpiling supplies I can use to craft and DIY all year round. I wrote a post about some of the other items I look for at thrift stores {and garage sales} that you can use to upcycle. During the summer, I stock up on plain shirts, t's, and sweatshirts and put them in a bin in my closet so I've got a stash that's just ready for me to use my Cricut and some vinyl on any time during the year!

Don't miss this post on must-have thrift store decor finds to create with your Cricut Explore Air 2

Did you know that Americans toss 25 BILLION pounds of clothing every year? Be a part of the solution and buy secondhand!

Benefits of Buying Secondhand Clothing

1. Save Money

I rarely spend more than a dollar or two for a clothing item. Even marked down 90% on the clearance rack, you'll rarely find a deal that good! 

2. It's Good for the Earth

Fast fashion isn't sustainable. Buying secondhand helps to create a more sustainable wardrobe. Plus, it's less clothing being tossed away!

3. Better Quality

If you buy a clothing item secondhand, you'll likely find that it's of better quality than some of the items in your closet. You get the benefit of any shrinking or fading that might have already occurred with the washing of the item, so you know what you are going to get.

4. Be You!

When you buy secondhand clothing, you often get one-of-a-kind clothing that no one else has. Not only that, when you add your own flair through DIY upcycle, you get something no one else will have hanging in their closet. 

Make a Design Easy with Cricut Image Sets

Did you know that when you search through the Cricut Access Premium, if you find a design you like, you can click on the little i icon on the design and if there is an image set, it will come up and say "view image sets"? {I circled it in black in the image below}

image set cricut

Click on view image sets and it will take you to all the similar designs in that set. I find if I like the look of one image, I often like the whole set. Not only that, it allows you to find coordinating images. The image I used came up with 30 similar images!

image set cricut

Using Cricut Image sets is one of the easiest ways to design with your Cricut. All you need to do is resize the image to fit your space {I keep a clear school ruler handy to help me with this} and then make it. If there are multiple colors in the set, your Cricut will divide them onto different mats. 

vintage sweatshirt cricut pin

Design Your Own Image

Designing your own image is easy too. I found an image I liked and then used a font I liked for the text. I knew I wanted a tiger that looked like a school mascot for my sweatshirt, and I found that in the Cricut Access Premium. I then resized it and found a font I liked. The font was also included in my Cricut Access Premium. 

I was able to curve the text easily using the curve tool at the top and resized the font to match the size of the image.

I used the attach button to create one big image so that everything would cut together on my Cricut Explore Air 2 with the proper spacing. 

Using Cricut Iron-On Vinyl is probably my favorite. I'm a sorority girl, so if you don't have a t-shirt for an event, it basically didn't happen! 

Tips for Using Cricut Iron-On Vinyl


Load the Iron-on Vinyl, shiny side down. I have to look this up every single time. Thankfully, the Cricut instructions also walk me through this as I send it to cut.

Make sure your cutting mat is sticky. I have an old mat and it works great for paper, but my slippery vinyl doesn't stick very well to it with all the back and forth of the plotter. I've also been known to tape down the edges of my vinyl if I'm concerned.

weeding tool cricut

Weed the vinyl by taking off the biggest part of the negative image and then using a hooked weeding tool to get the smaller pieces. You need one of these tools. You just do.

When you peel off the sticky part of the negative image, set it close by. When you weed off the smaller pieces, you can stick them to the sticky side of the vinyl you won't be needing.

You can use an iron to iron-on your vinyl, I did that for years! BUT, you will get a much better application if you use the Cricut EasyPress. 

cricut heat press

Read this post: Why Do I Need a Heat Press if I Have an Iron?

Pre-press your fabric before you put your iron-on vinyl in place. You just need a few seconds to press it, but this helps to flatten out your workspace and take out any moisture. 

Side note: I also 100% recommend getting a Cricut EasyPress mat because it protects your work surface and makes using the EasyPress SOOO much easier. I literally just throw it on the floor under my project. It's so much easier to use than, let's say, an ironing board.

peel vinyl from carrier

Let the plastic cool off before you peel off the carrier sheet from the iron-on vinyl. 

I don't know if it's a habit or not, but I always turn over my project after I iron it on with the Cricut Easy Press and iron from behind. I think it just gives it a better seal on the edges.

When you wash the item you've used Cricut Iron-on on, turn the item inside out to help protect the image for longer.


I'm not going to lie, I've been wearing these sweatshirts on repeat. I am obsessed with them! Upcycling can save you money and you can DIY something really cool that you love! Why not give it a try!

disclaimer: this post may have affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing through them, I may receive a small commission. These small purchases help me to continue to keep writing content and creating at Rachel Teodoro. Thank you!

No comments

Powered by Blogger.