Pretty DIY Shirred Top

Angelina Tongbram
by Angelina Tongbram
9 Materials
3 Hours

I had been thinking about what my next DIY project was going to be when I realized I wanted to try something new and exciting. I love ruched tops and puffy sleeves so I decided to try my luck at shirring and I am so happy with how my new top turned out! This was a great project to push me to work outside of my comfort zone.

DIY shirred top

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric 
  • Lining
  • Measuring tape 
  • Elastic 
  • Elastic thread
  • Pins 
  • Ruler 
  • Scissors 
  • Sewing machine 
Measure your bust

Take measurements 

To start off, I had to take a few measurements. I measured around the widest part of my bust. I also made sure to measure the front part of the bust. Next, I measured the underbust and around my waist. 

Mark the fabric

Mark the fabric 

Once I had measured I knew that the widest part of my bust was 36 inches. To mark the fabric I divided this measurement by two and then added 6 inches. 

Choose the length

For the length of my new top, I decided how long I wanted it to be and added 3 inches in case I made any mistakes while sewing. 

Shirred tube top

Cut the fabric 

It was then time to cut out my fabric. When it came to making the back piece I made two smaller pieces but you can make one bigger piece if you prefer. 

Press the fabric

I cut the same pieces out of the lining fabric and pressed all the fabric so that it would be easier to work with. 

Sew on the lining

Attach the lining 

Next, I placed the main fabric and lining fabric together and stitched them in place using a straight stitch. 

Trim excess fabric

To ensure that my new shirt would have a neat and professional finish, I trimmed the excess fabric from the seams. 


Next, I turned my fabric right side out and topstitched it so that it would hold its shape and look neat and clean. 

Mark the shirring lines

Shir the fabric 

I laid out my fabric and marked half an inch from the top, to make an elastic channel. I then marked 7 inches which is the point where the bust would end. Next, I marked a few lines where the shirring would be. This would help me sew the shirring lines straight. 

Use elastic thread

To start shirring, I loaded the bobbin with my elastic thread. Once there was enough thread, I inserted it into the bobbin case. After loading the bobbin into my sewing machine, I had elastic thread at the bottom and normal thread at the top. 

Shir the front piece

I then moved on to shirring. I started shirring from the 7-inch point I had made earlier all the way to the bottom of the front piece. 

How to sew a shirred top

Add elastic to the front 

I also stitched the top channel and thread my elastic through it. Once the elastic was all the way through, I stitched the ends so that they would stay in place. I could already tell that the shirt was going to look amazing! 

Ruched top

Shir and sew the back pieces 

My front piece was finished so I focused on the two back pieces. First I shirred all the way down the back pieces. I then sewed them together using a straight stitch to form one, perfect back piece.

Trim the seam

I trimmed the seam on the inside of the back piece and sewed a zig-zag stitch to neaten it up. 

DIY ruched top

Sew the top together 

I placed the front and back pieces together with their right sides facing and pinned them in place. I then sewed the side seams with a straight stitch.

Cut the two pieces

Make the sleeves 

For the sleeves of my new shirt, I started with two pieces of fabric each 21 by 14 inches. 

Fold the fabric

I folded the fabric so that the bottom corner was folded in by 3.5 inches creating a diagonal line to the top. 

Sew the sleeve seams

I cut the piece to get the shape I needed and then sewed the seams together. I zig-zag stitched across to have a cleaner look. I also hemmed the top and bottom of each sleeve. 

Shir the sleeves

To create the puffy sleeve look that I really wanted for my top, I shirred three lines at the end of the sleeve. 

Add elastic to the sleeve

I cut two strips of fabric long enough to go around the armholes and wide enough to fit around an elastic. I sewed on the strips to create the channels for the elastic pieces. 

Use a safety pin

I placed a safety pin onto the edge of the elastic and thread it through the channel in the sleeve. 

Zig-zag stitch

After threading the elastic all the way through, I zig-zag stitched the two ends together to secure them in place.

Sew on the sleeves

Attach the sleeves 

I was ready to attach the sleeves! I finished off the stitches diagonally so that the sleeves would make a smooth curve on the top. 

How to sew a ruched top

I really love my new shirred top! What would you wear with this top? Let me know in the comments! 

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Lining
  • Measuring tape
See all materials

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