Make This Cute Puff Sleeve Crop Top Out of An Old Men's Shirt

Jess Dang
by Jess Dang
8 Materials
3 Hours

There are many men’s shirt transformations these days, and I totally get it- it’s the perfect upcycle! I’m going to show you my take on the men’s button-down shirt refashion trend - a unique puff sleeve crop top with a front tie!

Scroll down and see my step-by-step cropped puff sleeve tutorial packed with amazing tips and hacks, too!

Tools and materials:

  • Oversized men’s shirt
  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Pen or marker
  • Elastic
Men's button-down shirt XXL size

Here's the button-down shirt I decided to turn into a puff sleeve crop top.

Cutting the neckline of the shirt

1. Remove the pocket and neckline

Remove the front pocket with a seam ripper and cut off the neckline completely. Start from the collar and cut along the neckline seams on both the front and back. 

Cutting the shoulder line

2. Modify the shoulder line and sleeves

If the shoulder line is not equal, simply cut the front part by around 2cm (0.78 inches) to align with the back shoulder line. Pin the shoulder seams together and sew to secure. 

Making a loose seam

Hand-sew a loose seam at the top of the sleeve. Stitch the loose seam around the shoulder area. Then, pull at the string to make the gathers. 

Stitch the shoulder seam to secure

Pin the arm seam to the shoulder seam and stitch to secure. Repeat the same process on the other side. 

Measuring the sleeve length

3. Modify the sleeves

Now, measure around 25cm (9.84 inches) from the bottom of your sleeve and draw a line. 

Folding the raw edges of the sleeves

Cut along the line to make the sleeve shorter and fold the raw edges over twice. Pin all around and stitch to secure.

Measuring the tunnel for the elastic

4. Add a tunnel with elastic

Measure 5cm (1.96 inches) from the end of your new sleeve and draw a line. 

Long rectangles of fabric

Next, cut two long rectangular strips around 3cm (1.18 inches) wide and 50cm (19.6 inches) long from the excess fabric.

Folding and pressing the fabric

Fold the raw edge of one side by 1cm (0.39 inches) and press to create a neat, straight fold. Then, fold the bottom edge by 1cm (0.39 inches) and press again. 

Sew the short ends of the strips together

Go ahead and sew the short ends of each strip, thus creating a circle. 

Inserting the fabric onto the sleeve

Insert the circle over the sleeve and place it on the line you drew. Pin the strip all around the sleeve’s circumference and sew both edges of the strip. Be sure to leave a gap so you can feed through the elastic. 

Inserting the elastic into the sleeve

Now, insert elastic into the tunnel you just created with the help of a safety pin. The elastic’s size should be the width of your arm and 1cm (0.93 inches) thick. Sew the ends of the elastic and stitch the opening closed. 

Measuring the shoulder length of the shirt

5. Modify the front of the shirt

Measure half the width of the total shoulder length, add 1cm (0.39 inches), and from either side of the shoulder seam, make two markings accordingly. 

Marking the front of the shirt

Then, draw straight lines down the shirt from these marks.

Marking the length of the shirt

Now, draw a line from the shoulder to the belly button and add 2cm (0.78 inches). So, 40cm (15.74 inches) is my desired length for the crop top, but this may be different for you. 

How to crop a men's shirt

Then, draw a line at the 40cm (15.74 inches) mark.

Marking the bust of the shirt.

For your bust, mark half of your full bust size on either side of the top; add 3cm (1.18 inches) to this and measure on either side, starting from under the armpit. 

Men's button-down shirt refashion

When you have those markings down, draw a new diagonal line, starting from your shoulder line as shown. 

Men's shirt refashion

Now, cut your top to your desired length and cut the middle part along the bust line. Pin the side pieces together and sew. 

How to make the v-neck for the crop top

To make the v-neck, fold the two pieces at the front together. Mark 21cm (8.26 inches) down the center from the top and 9cm (3.54 inches) on either side at the shoulders. Then, connect these points together with lines and cut along them.

Curved line at the back of the top

Make a new neckline at the back by drawing a curved line with a 3cm (1.18 inches) dip. Then cut it out. 

Cutting off the excess fabric

Cut the excess fabric at the front. There is no need for it as you will later attach a tie to this area. 

Attaching a strip of fabric to the hem

6. Add a strip to the hemline

Cut a long strip of fabric and connect it to the raw edges on the front part of the crop top. Pin all around and sew. 

Pinning the strip to the neckline

Finish the neckline by folding over the strip of fabric (twice), and sewing the fold to secure it in place. Next, repeat this process for the bottom of the crop top. 

Cutting out the tie for the crop top

7. Make the tie

Using leftover fabric, measure 10cm (3.94 inches) at one end of the folded fabric and 4cm (1.57 inches) at the other. Connect them with a curved line and round the shorter end. Cut out the shape, pin the edges, and sew.

Attaching the tie to the puff sleeve crop top

Turn the fabric right side out and attach the tie, as shown. 

Puff sleeve crop top with tie detail

Puff sleeve crop top tutorial

How chic and stylish is this puff sleeve crop top? I hope you enjoyed this DIY upcycle of refashioning a men's button-down shirt into a puff sleeve top. Let me know what you think about this flip in the comments below!

Suggested materials:
  • Oversized men’s shirt
  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • L L on Sep 19, 2021

    Yes. Mist shirts now have the knit built in and sits at the waist line. Or the shirt is half in or out. Looks dumb but "everyones doing it". Lol

    Not me though. I'm a conservative/ classic/ contemporary dresser. You know. Ralph Lauren and such.

  • Kassi Kassi on May 22, 2024

    Great refashion! LOVE IT!