How to Make a Cute DIY Denim Top Out of Old Jeans
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:
- Sewing machine
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.
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.
3. Open them up
Next, cut along the length of both pieces of denim to open them up.
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.
Open up the pieces of denim and cut across them under the middle line.
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).
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.
Fold the side of the material as shown and sew down.
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.
This will create a shirred effect.
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.
Fold in one of the long sides and sew it down.
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.
13. Add elastic
Next, add one more strand of elastic to the shirred piece.
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.
15. Cut the straps
With the spare fabric, cut two wide rectangular pieces for 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.
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.
17. Attach the straps to top
The final step is to attach the straps to the side of the 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.
Enjoyed the project?
- Sewing machine
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Instructions are confusing