How to Make an Off-the-Shoulder Crop Top Out of an Old Shirt

Elegra Margiela
by Elegra Margiela
10 Materials
1 Hour

I thrifted this vintage button-up shirt and turned it into a chic ruffled DIY off-shoulder top! This project was quick, simple, and super-duper easy. I can’t wait to show you how to make this off-shoulder crop top, so let’s get this thrift flip underway!

Tools and materials:

  • Oversized button-up shirt
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Measuring tape
  • Matching thread
  • Elastic
Thrifted button-up shirt before the DIY

Making the DIY crop top pattern

1. Make the pattern

For the pattern, you just need to draw a rectangle. Mark out your bust/chest measurement (and add more to the measurement if you want a ruffled effect) against how long you want the top to be.

Cutting up the shirt

2. Cut the shirt

Let’s deconstruct the shirt. The first thing you’re going to do is remove the sleeves from this button-up shirt. Cut right along the seam line, as shown. 

Cutting along the shoulder seams

Then, cut along the shoulder seams and around the collar. 

Laying the pattern on the back of the shirt

Place your pattern on the shirt’s back part and cut accordingly. It's best to use the back part because there's no opening or button placket in the way.

How to sew an off-the-shoulder top

3. Sew the pieces

Place both pieces right sides together and connect them with a straight stitch. 

Sewing elastic into the top

4. Sew elastic

Measure two pieces of elastic that will fit around your chest and waist.

Sew them along the top and bottom with a zigzag stitch. Stitch it with around 4cm (1.57 inches) seam allowance on either side. Pull the elastic while stitching to get that lovely ruffled effect. 

Sewing the side seam closed

5. Assemble the top

Now, it’s time to put this DIY off-shoulder top together. Fold your piece in half and stitch the side seams closed with a straight stitch. 

DIY off the shoulder top

You can either leave this top as is, which is super cute. Or you can opt for the sleeve version, which I’ll show you how to do next. 

Cutting up the shirt sleeves

6. How to add sleeves (optional)

Using the original sleeves of the shirt, cut the top and bottom part, removing the cuff area completely. 

Measuring the sleeves

If the sleeves are somewhat oversized, measure and cut the sides accordingly so they will fit your arms better. 

Hemming the sleeves

Hem the top and bottoms of the sleeves. 

Sewing elastic into the sleeves

Cut two elastic pieces to size (should be your arm’s circumference) and sew them to the top and bottom of the sleeve pieces.

Off-shoulder top DIY

Fold each sleeve, right sides facing, and close the sides with a straight stitch. 

Attaching the sleeves to the top

Now, attach the sleeves to the sides of the top. Do a straight stitch on the side to secure it in place. 

Sewing the label into the top

If you want to differentiate the front from the back, you can restitch the original label. 

DIY off the shoulder top with sleeves

How to make an off-the-shoulder crop top

How to make an off-the-shoulder crop top

Here's the final look, from basic to stylish, in a few steps! I hope you enjoyed this project and you have some inspo on how to make an off-shoulder crop top.

Thank you for joining me; I love sharing inspirational DIYs. Let me know what you think of this DIY off-shoulder top in the comments below. 

Suggested materials:
  • Oversized button-up shirt
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation