How to Make a Cute DIY Denim Top Out of Old Jeans

Your Girl Maeia
by Your Girl Maeia
6 Materials
1 Hour

In this sewing tutorial, I will show you how to make a DIY denim top. I have a pair of jeans that I really like, but unfortunately, they have a rip in the crotch area. Instead of throwing them away, I’m going to upcycle them into a smocked off-shoulder top. Let’s get sewing!

Tools and materials:

  • Jeans
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Ruler
  • Sewing machine
  • Elastic
Removing the top part of the jeans

1. Remove the top part

Begin by removing the top part of the jeans as shown (the zip part on the front side and the pockets on the back side). First, mark with a pen the part that you want to remove and then cut it. 

Cutting the jeans along the crotch

2. Cut the jeans in half

Cut the jeans in half along the crotch. Cut on either side of the stitching in the middle as we don’t need that part.

Opening up the pant legs

3. Open them up

Next, cut along the length of both pieces of denim to open them up.

Marking a pattern for the top

4. Cut

With the denim folded in half, take a ruler and draw a straight line down at the point shown. Then cut along this line. Place the cut piece of denim on top of the other piece and use it to cut the other one to the same size.

Cutting out pieces of denim

5. Cut

Open up the pieces of denim and cut across them under the middle line.

Straightening the denim pieces

6. Straighten

Use your ruler to draw a straight line along the denim. Repeat this along the bottom of the piece as well. Then cut along those lines so that you have a neat rectangular piece. Also, cut off the folded piece of denim (that you can see to the left).

How to make a denim top

7. Sew

Take your two pieces of denim and place them with one on top of the other with the right sides touching. Then draw a line approximately 1cm (0.4 inches) down and sew along this line to join the two pieces.

Sewing the sides of the fabric

8. Sew

Fold the side of the material as shown and sew down.

Adding elastic to the top

9. Add elastic

Take the piece of material that you just sewed and draw some straight, spaced-out lines with your ruler. Then take your elastic and pin one piece along each line. Proceed to sew the elastic to the lines.

How to sew shirring on denim

This will create a shirred effect. 

How to sew a denim top

10. Attach two pieces

Take your other pieces of denim and cut the sides to make them into a neat rectangle. Then place them one on top of the other and sew them together at one end.

Sewing a DIY denim top

11. Sew

Fold in one of the long sides and sew it down.

Sewing the shirred piece to the other fabric

12. Attach the shirred piece

Place the fabric on top of the shirred piece with the right sides touching. Then sew the two raw sides together.

Sewing elastic

13. Add elastic

Next, add one more strand of elastic to the shirred piece.

Sewing the top closed

14. Sew closed

The next step is to sew the top closed - do this with the right sides facing each other. You will be able to slide it on over your head as it is elasticated.

Cutting denim for the straps

15. Cut the straps

With the spare fabric, cut two wide rectangular pieces for the straps.

Sewing the straps

Place the pieces right sides together and sew one of the sides. Proceed to fold the long sides inwards by about 1cm and sew them down.

Adding elastic to the straps

16. Add elastic

Cut the fabric in half to make two straps and add two strips of elastic to each strap to create a shirred effect. Sew each strap up so that it makes a circle.

Attaching the straps to the top

17. Attach the straps to top

The final step is to attach the straps to the side of the top.

DIY denim top

DIY denim top tutorial

Here is the finished smocked and shirred off-shoulder denim top, upcycled for a pair of old jeans. I am super happy with this transformation, the top is very cute, and I love all of the shirred detailing.

Suggested materials:
  • Jeans
  • Scissors
  • Pen
See all materials

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