How to Make a Crop Top With Ruffles Out of an Old Button-Down Shirt

DIY by Ruffa
by DIY by Ruffa
8 Materials
3 Hours

If you’ve got too many plain button-down shirts in your closet, try out this tutorial to make an adorable crop top with ruffled straps. This DIY crop top will pair with any bottom piece to give it a fresh, crisp new look that you can wear almost anywhere.

Let's learn how to make a crop top from an old shirt!

Tools and materials:

  • Old button-down shirt
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Sewing machine
  • Seam ripper
  • Pencil
Measuring the marking the shirt

1. Disassemble your shirt

First, cut the collar off the shirt.

Measure and mark the length you want your crop to be from shoulder to hem and cut your shirt across horizontally at that point, allowing for a small seam allowance.

Using a seam ripper to remove the sleeves

Use a seam ripper to remove the sleeves of your shirt.

How to make a crop top from a shirt

Mark 12.5 cm (4.9 inches) down from each inside shoulder on the front of the shirt. Draw a line horizontally across the front of your shirt at those marks and cut off the top of your shirt on that line. 

Using a camisole to shape the pattern

2. Shape your crop top

Lay a camisole on top of your crop top, with the front of the camisole on top of the front of your shirt. Use a pencil to estimate the curve of the underarm and the side seam location on one side of your crop top.

Tip: You will probably want your crop top underarm to be smaller than your camisole but larger than your shirt, and the width of your crop top to be wider than your camisole but a bit narrower than your shirt. 

DIY crop top ideas

Turn your crop top inside out and fold it in half matching up the armholes and sides. Cut along the armhole and side markings you made, through all layers of the crop top fabric.

Making the DIY crop top

3. Finish the armholes, side seams, neckline, and hem

Lay your crop top flat on your work surface, with the front facing up (still inside out though). Fold in the raw edges of the armholes sew the armhole hem in place.

How to sew a crop top

With the shirt inside out, sew along the side seams to stop the fabric from fraying. 

Hemming the raw edges

Then fold the side seams in and sew them down to secure them.

Repeat the same hemming process around the neckline and hem.

Making straps for the DIY crop top

4. Make crop top straps

Cut the cuffs off the detached shirt sleeves and open the sleeves so they lie flat. Measure and mark 30cm (11.8 inches) across the widest part of the sleeve. That will be the length of your crop top strap.

Measuring straps for the crop top

Measure and mark about half the width of the crop top shoulder. That will be the width of your crop top strap. In this tutorial, the width was 3cm (1.2 inches).

Increase that width to allow for a seam allowance (I increased it to 6cm or 2.4 inches for this demonstration).

Draw out your 30cm line to a 30cm x 6cm (11.8 x 2.4 inch) rectangle and cut out the rectangle. Repeat to make a second piece the same size.

Sewing the crop top straps

With right sides together, sew the two pieces of the strap together on both long sides.


Turning the fabric right sides out

Turn the strap right-side out and check the final width of the strap. If you need to make it a bit narrower, just adjust one of the long seams as necessary.

Repeat to make a second strap.

Pinning the two short ends together

5. Make ruffles for the straps

Cut two strips from one remaining shirt sleeve fabric to make one long strip measuring 60cm (23 inches) in length and 12cm (4.7 inches) wide.

Fold two short ends of the strips together and pin to secure.

Double-folding the short edges

Double-fold both short edges and one long edge to the inside and sew to secure that hem. 

Pulling the basting stitch to create gathers

Now use sewing pins and a basting stitch on the long raw edge to gather the edge into a ruffled curve.

Repeat for a second ruffle.

Attaching the ruffle to the crop top

6. Attach the ruffle

Fold one strap in half lengthwise and pin the folded edge to keep the strap from shifting.

Now, pin the ruffle between the two layers of the open edge of the strap. The ruffle should be a bit shorter than the strap, so center the ruffle on the strap.

The ends of the strap where there are no ruffles is where the strap will attach to the crop top.

Sew the ruffle to the strap using a topstitch.

Sewing the short edges of the strap

Fold in the short edges and sew them closed. Repeat for the second strap.

Pinning the ruffled strap to the top

7. Attach the ruffled strap to the crop top

Pin the ruffled strap to the inside of the crop top at the front and back.

The outer edge of the strap should align with the outer edge of the shoulder, and the ruffle should extend outward past the shoulder. Sew the straps in place.

How to make a crop top with ruffle sleeves

How to make a crop top out of a shirt

All done and now you’ve got a really fresh-looking crop top. Leave a comment to let me know how your DIY crop top from a shirt worked for you. Thanks for joining!

Suggested materials:
  • Old button-down shirt
  • Pins
  • Thread
See all materials

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