How to Make a DIY Cut-Out Top With Long Sleeves & a Turtleneck

by Recreateful
15 Materials
6 Hours

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make a DIY cut-out top. I found some colorful vintage fabric at my parents' house and knew I wanted to make something special with it. I decided to create a cute cut-out long-sleeve turtleneck top, and I'll show you how to make your own too. Let's get started!

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric
  • Well-fitting top
  • Turtleneck
  • Extra fabric for bias tape
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Tracing wheel
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Ballpoint or jersey needle (depends on your fabric)
  • Iron
Checking the stretch of the fabric

1. Check the stretch

Using a ruler, check the level of stretch in your fabric as well as the tops you will use as templates.

You’ll need a garment that has roughly the same stretch as your fabric so your new top ends up with the right measurements and proportions. 

Making the pattern for the top

2. Make the pattern

Trace your shirt onto pattern paper (I used sheets of paper stuck together).

Tracing the t-shirt

Use a tracing wheel to mark the armhole seams. The tracing wheel leaves little indents that you trace with a pen or pencil so you get an exact measurement.

Marking the turtleneck

To mark the turtleneck, use your own turtleneck and trace on the neckline. Align the shoulder seams. 

Drawing the front cut-out

Mark the front cut-out using the shirt’s neckline as a reference.

Dividing the pattern in half

Since the two patterns overlap (the top of the bodice above the cutout and the bottom of the bodice below the cut-out), divide the pattern in half lengthwise with the ruler.

Cutting out the pattern pieces

Cut along the center marking. Then cut the top and bottom separately.

Marking the back pattern

Mark the back pattern by tracing your shirt’s back on another piece of pattern paper. Use the tracing wheel for the back of the armhole seams. Copy the turtleneck neckline from the front.

Marking the sleeve pattern

Mark the sleeve pattern by using both sides of the sleeves.

Paper pattern pieces

3. Cut the fabric

Lay the pattern on the fabric. Add ¾ inch (2cm) seam allowance and cut out the pieces. There is no need for seam allowance on the cut-out area as you’ll be adding bias tape to finish it.

Make your own cut-out top

For the sleeves and front pieces, use folded fabric. Use the first sleeve to cut out the second sleeve.

Cutting out strips of bias tape

4. Make the bias tape

Measure the length of the cut-out. Use an old stretchy t-shirt in a complementary or contrasting color.

Cut the fabric into strips equal to or a bit longer than the cut-out and 1½ inches (4cm) wide.

Folding in the raw edges of the bias tape

Fold in the raw edges. Press.

Folding the bias tape over

Then fold in half. Press flat. 

Attaching the bias tape to the top

5. Attach the bias tape

While this isn’t the traditional way to use bias tape, it works well here. Insert the cut-out fabric into the open edge of the bias tape.

Topstitching the bias tape along the cut-out

Topstitch the bias tape with a stretchy straight stitch. 

Sewing the cut-out pieces together

6. Sew the cut-out

Align the front pieces so the curves match. They’ll overlap a bit to become one. Sew with a zigzag stitch to attach them on the wrong side.

Pinning the shoulder seams

7. Sew the top

Place the front and back pieces right sides together. Sew the shoulders with a zigzag stitch.

Attaching the sleeves

Check your sleeves to make sure you’re attaching the right and left to their respective sides. Pin the sleeves along the shoulder. Sew into position with a zigzag stitch.

Sewing the sleeve and side seams

With the top right sides together, align the armpits, sleeves, and sides. Start sewing from the bottom up, along the sleeve and side seams.

Checking the fit of the DIY cut-out top

Check the fit. 

Taking in the cut-out area

If the cut-out gapes too much, take in the top by the armhole. Pin the armhole to the desired measurement, with an inch or so down the sleeve and the side seam.

Trimming the excess fabric

Trim the excess after making sure the fit is perfect. Take in the armhole again.

Measuring the neckline

8. Sew the turtleneck

Measure the entire neckline and multiply by 0.85 to determine your measurement for the turtleneck.

Marking the measurement on fabric

Mark this measurement on the fabric for the length. Mark 3½ inches (9cm) for the width with a bit of seam allowance.

How to make a turtleneck

Sew the rectangle into a loop, right sides together with a zigzag stitch on a little curve to close.

Sewing the turtleneck to the top

Flip to the right side out and fold it in half. Line up the open edge with the seam to the exact center of the back neckline. Pin in place. Sew together with a zigzag stitch.

If your fabric doesn’t fray, there’s no need to hem the sleeves or the bottom of the top.

Cut-out long-sleeve top

You’re done making your DIY cut out top. I’m so happy with the way mine came out.

DIY cut-out top

DIY cut-out top tutorial

Please let me know in the comments what you think or if I’ve inspired you to make your own cut-out top.

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Well-fitting top
  • Turtleneck
See all materials

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