How to Make a Zara-Inspired DIY Ruched Top Out of an Old T-Shirt

Meera Kaneria
by Meera Kaneria
5 Materials
2 Hours

Today I’m going to show you how to make a Zara-inspired gathered t-shirt without a sewing machine. This gathered top is pretty adjustable; you can crop it and gather it to your liking. Grab an old t-shirt, and let’s get creative!

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric glue
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • T-shirt
  • Safety pin
Cropping the t-shirt

1. Crop your top

Let’s start by cropping the top. Grab a pencil and mark the length you want.

Cutting the bottom off the t-shirt

Now cut and keep the excess fabric as you’ll need this for the drawstrings. You’ll see that you have a raw hem. If you want a cleaner finish, turn it right sides in, fold the edges, and stick with fabric glue. I left mine as is. 

Cutting the band at the seams

2. Cut strips

Take your excess band and cut it at the seams. You should have two equally sized pieces. 

Removing the hem

Next, remove the hem from each piece so that you have two seamless pieces. 

Cutting strips from the excess band

Then, cut six equal pieces from the pieces. From this, save four for later and just work with two strips. 

Strips for the drawstrings

Cut the two strips in half to get four equal pieces. 

Making tunnels for the drawstrings

3. Make the tunnels

We’re going to focus on the side seams of the t-shirt. Turn your top right sides in and place each strap on either side of the seam. 

Gluing the tunnels in place

Take your fabric glue and place glue along the sides of each strip. Remember that you’re creating a tunnel and that the drawstrings need to feed through these tunnels. So, Don’t glue the whole piece down. 

How to make a no-sew ruched t-shirt

A more straightforward technique is to place the fabric glue on the t-shirt itself and then place the strips accordingly. 

Making a no-sew ruched t-shirt

Repeat the process on the other side. 

Leaving the fabric glue to dry

Next, leave to dry. 

Stretching the t-shirt to make drawstrings

4. Make the drawstrings

While your t-shirt is drying, take the remaining four strips and stretch each piece until you get long strings. 

Feeding the drawstrings through the tunnels

5. Assemble the gathered t-shirt

Place a safety pin on one end of the string and feed it through each opening. 

Gluing the end of the drawstrings

Pull your string until the end reaches the top opening. Then, glue the string’s end down on top. 

Repeat the process on the other tunnels, placing one string through each tunnel. 

DIY ruched top

Your top should look something like this!

Wearing the DIY ruched top

DIY ruched top from the side

DIY ruched top

Let’s try it! I never knew fabric glue could work so well! What do you think of this Zara-inspired no-sew gathered t-shirt? Anyone can do this lovely transformation; you just need some handy fabric glue to do the trick. Thanks for joining me, and good luck! 

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric glue
  • Scissors
  • Marker
See all materials

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