How to Make a Trendy DIY Mandarin Collar Top From a Plain Shirt

10 Materials
3 Hours

Have a large, unused blouse that could surely undergo a little revamp? Well, if so, then this DIY mandarin collar sewing tutorial is perfect. You’ll learn how to sew a mandarin collar and make something old into a fashionable, timeless piece. Want to make your own DIY mandarin collar crop top? Keep reading!

Tools and materials:

  • Blouse
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Fitted blouse as a guide
  • Seam ripper
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Chalk
  • Pins
  • Ruler
Oversized shirt ready to be upcycled

Marking the blouse

1. Modify the blouse

As you can see, the blouse I’ll be modifying is pretty large. To take in the sleeve area, I took a fitted blouse and traced out the armhole, side seam, and sleeve area onto paper. Add ½ an inch seam allowance. 

Measuring the length of the crop top

Lay your shirt flat on a hard surface, and with a ruler, draw a line at the bottom, so that you have your desired length. I decided to go for a cropped look, but again, this is up to your discretion. 

Tracing the new armhole

Now, trace the new armhole pattern onto the blouse. (Side note: you’ll notice the collar is missing from the shirt, don’t worry, I will walk you through the mandarin collar step separately!)

Drawing the new side seams

Continue the side seam of the pattern straight down the blouse, as shown. 

Cutting the fabric

Now, cut out the pattern accordingly. 

Sewing the side seams of the DIY crop top

Then, sew the side seams. 

Modifying the sleeves on the DIY blouse

2. Modify the sleeves

I wanted to keep the top of my sleeves, so I lined them up against the finish line of the pattern and traced it accordingly (disregarding the seam allowance). 

Marking the cuffs of the DIY blouse

To prevent having to redo the gathering at the wrist, taper out the bottom and draw a line up toward the original seam, as shown. 

Cutting the sleeves

Now cut along the lines with sharp scissors. 

Sewing the sleeves for the DIY crop top

Sew the side seam of the sleeve, starting from the wrist toward the armhole. 

How to sew a mandarin collar

3. How to sew a mandarin collar

Detach the collar from the shirt by carefully cutting around the lower seam area. 

Then, seam rip the band carefully, detaching the collar part from the band. The band will become the mandarin collar.

DIY mandarin collar

Now, it's time to reattach it to the bodice.

Inserting the collar into the shirt

Sandwich the neckline of the shirt in between the two layers of the mandarin collar. 

Mandarin collar sewing tutorial

Slowly, sew all the way around and try to keep the two outer layers aligned with one another. Capture both layers when sewing.

Tip: Manually walk the needle right before the edge of the DIY mandarin collar, this is to ensure precision and avoid hitting the button. 

Attaching the sleeves to the top

4. Attach the sleeves

Making sure the fabric is on the right side, go ahead and attach the sleeves to the armhole. Make sure the front of the sleeve is facing the front of the shirt. Align the seams accordingly. 

Hemming the DIY mandarin collar crop top

5. Hem the shirt

Lastly, hem the bottom of the shirt twice, by ⅛ of an inch and your project is complete! 

DIY mandarin collar crop top

DIY mandarin collar crop top tutorial

A few simple modifications and you have yourself a stunning DIY mandarin collar shirt! I hope you enjoyed this mandarin collar sewing tutorial, and you can now modify shirts into something sophisticated!

Also, check out my three top DIY mandarin collar looks below for some fashion inspiration! 

DIY mandarin collar crop top with jeans

How to style your DIY mandarin collar crop top

You can wear this lovely top with jeans that have distressed details. This look gives off a laid-back vibe and the heels give it a classic touch! 

Preppy DIY mandarin collar crop top outfit

This is more of a preppy look, I love the layers and the pop of pink that goes really well with the shirt! 

DIY mandarin collar crop top with a jacket

If you’re looking for a rebellious makeover, then this DIY mandarin collar shirt is the perfect fit for this kind of vibe. I love the tights and the pleated skirt.

Suggested materials:
  • Blouse
  • Pen
  • Paper
See all materials

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