How to Make a Cute DIY Matching Set Out of Old Denim

Elegra Margiela
by Elegra Margiela
8 Materials
4 Hours

Follow my tutorial to learn how to make a DIY matching set out of old denim clothes. I’ll show you how to make the matching set sewing pattern and give you step-by-step instructions for sewing the skirt and top. Let's get started.

Tools and materials:

  • Denim pieces from your closet (button-down shirt and a skirt recommended)
  • Pattern paper or scrap white fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • 2 snap closures
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
DIY matching set inspiration

These are my inspiration photos and the denim shirt I will be using to make the matching set.

Making the front skirt pattern

1. Make the skirt front pattern pieces

Trace a mini skirt that fits you well onto some pattern paper or scrap fabric. On the waistline, mark the midpoint and then mark the quarter-points (halfway between the midpoint and each side of the skirt.

Draw vertical lines at the quarter-points down the entire length of the skirt, following the A-line of the skirt. Add a seam allowance to the hem of the skirt.

The two seams that will eventually join the side pieces to the centerpiece are called princess seams.

Cutting out the skirt front pattern pieces

Cut out the skirt pattern pieces. Just cut one of the side pieces because you can use that pattern piece to cut both sides from your denim.

Once you’ve cut the center piece, fold it in half and trim any excess along the open edge to ensure that piece is symmetrical. 

Making the back skirt pattern

2. Make skirt back pattern piece

Fold your skirt in half and fold down the waistband. Trace your skirt adding a seam allowance all the way around. Then cut out that pattern piece.

Pattern pieces for the skirt

Here are your three pattern pieces.

Making the front top pattern

3. Make the top front pattern piece

Try on a tank top and measure the length of the center of your tank top from where you want the bottom of the V-neckline to be to where you want the tank top to be lengthwise.

Make a line on your pattern paper or scrap fabric that is that mid-neck to hem length. That will be the inside edge of your top middle piece.

Measuring where the princess seams will go

The denim top will also have princess seams.

To mark the position of the princess seams on the top, measure your bust from the center of one breast to the center of the other. Divide that measurement by two to get the distance of each princess seam from the center of the top.

Mark the princess seam distance out from the bottom center line at the bust position. 

Transferring the measurements to the fabric

Measure the length of your tank top from the bottom to top at the position of the princess seam. Draw the outer edge of your top middle piece at the princess seam measurement and join both lines at the bottom to create the hem line.

Drawing out the top pattern

Draw a line from the bottom center of the top pattern to the neckline point. Then draw slightly curved lines from each top corner of the pattern to the center neckline point to create the full neckline.

Draw a vertical line at that princess seam position parallel to the center line.

Cutting out the top pattern

Cut out that piece. 

Making the front side panel pattern

4. Make the top side panel piece

For the side front piece, measure your shoulder to hem length. Then, using a t-shirt as a template, trace the side of the t-shirt from the shoulder to your desired tank top hem length.

Include the shoulder from the outside edge to where that side piece will join with the middle piece. 

How to make a matching set sewing pattern

When you are done drawing in the whole side piece, cut it out. 

5. Make the top back pattern piece

For the back piece, start by taking your complete upper chest measurement and subtract the total width of the front center and two side pieces from that. The result will be the width you need for the back piece.

Divide that by two for the width of the pattern piece (which you’ll eventually cut from the denim on a fold). 

Making the top back pattern

Use your side front piece as a guide for the height you need for the back. 

Cutting out the back pattern for the top

Then complete drawing the back center pattern piece and cut it out.

Cutting up the denim shirt

6. Cut the denim pieces

First cut off the button placket, collar, and sleeve from your shirt. Then cut open the shoulder seams and the side seams.

Check to see if that shirt provides enough denim for all your pattern pieces, and if not, add denim from a second shirt or some denim jeans – whatever other denim pieces you have with similar shading.

Making a poatchwork pattern for the top

Now, pin your pattern and cut out all of the pieces.

Sewing the skirt

7. Sew the skirt

With right sides facing, pin the skirt front side panels to the skirt front middle and sew those seams. Press the seams flat.

Pinning and sewing the back pieces

Pin and sew the two back pieces to the front piece.

Sewing the top together

8. Sew the top

Pin and sew the top side panels to the top front pieces.

How to sew a denim crop top

With right sides together, pin the two front pieces along the front center and sew with a 5/8-inch seam allowance. 

Pinning and sew the back pieces

Now pin the and sew the two back pieces in place.

Adding a waistband to the top hem

I used the waistband from the skirt I cut up for my extra denim as the bottom band of my new shirt front. Pin and top stitch the band in place.

Adding snap closure to the back piece

Add two snaps to the back piece.

Adding a waistband to the skirt

9. Add a skirt waistband

Sew leftover denim fabric into a skirt waistband. Pin and sew the waistband in place.

Adding a contrasting hem to the bottom of the skirt

Do the same for a contrasting hem piece.

Sewing the back seam

Finally, sew the back seam of the skirt and add a zipper.

DIY matching set

DIY matching set tutorial

All done! It took a few old denim pieces to make this, but the result was worth it. If you give this DIY denim skirt and crop top set a try, please let me know how it turned out by leaving a comment!

Suggested materials:
  • Denim pieces from your closet
  • Pattern paper or scrap white fabric
  • Measuring tape
See all materials

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