How to Make a Funky DIY Patchwork Top From Two Old T-Shirts

9 Materials
2 Hours
Easy

In this tutorial, I’ll show how to make a DIY patchwork top using old t-shirts. It's a huge waste to throw away clothing that is old or unused. Why? Because there's a whole variety of upcycling projects you could use them for.


This asymmetric patchwork top is so easy to make and the colors are really fun! Keep scrolling to see how to make a patchwork tank top from scratch!

Tools and materials:

  • Rotary cutter
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • T-shirts
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Ruler
  • Chalk
Old t-shirts ready to be upcycled

Here are the old t-shirts before I transformed them into one patchwork top.

Designing the DIY patchwork top

1. Make a draft design

I decided to make a draft design to plan ahead and see what the DIY patchwork top would look like.

Marking the patchwork pattern with chalk

2. Mark the pattern

Using some chalk, mark your design on one of the t-shirts, as shown. Be sure to mark the length of your patchwork top, too.

Cutting the t-shirt with a rotary cutter

3. Cut the fabric

Using a rotary cutter, cut off the bottom piece.

Making the asymmetric patchwork top

Then, go ahead and cut the rest of the pattern. This shape will basically be the base for your patchwork top.

Tracing the asymmetric top onto paper

4. Trace & make the design

Trace the shape of the asymmetric top onto a piece of paper.

Asymmetric top patchwork pattern

Now, segment the surface of the top by how you’d like your patchwork to be laid out. I used numbers 1 & 2 as a guide. Remember, the whole point is to make a lovely asymmetric top, so the lines and patches should not be square-shaped, but more uneven.

Patchwork pattern pieces

5. Cut out the pattern and fabric pieces

Cut out the paper pieces first. It should almost be like a jigsaw puzzle!

Cutting out the patchwork pieces

Next, cut the fabric pieces from your t-shirt. I laid the numbers “1” on the already cut-out tank top. Then, I simply cut around each shape using a rotary cutter.


Tip: Remember to cut through both layers of the t-shirt, front and back.

Make a patchwork top

Now, go ahead and repeat the same process on the other shirt, using the alternate pieces.

Sewing patchwork top

6. Sew the patchwork top

It’s time to sew the top! Sew the seam on the right side of the fabric. Use a zigzag stitch and sew multiple times over the same seam.

Sewing the patchwork pieces together

This is what you should have when sewing two pieces together.

Hemming the edges of the asymmetric top

Now, hem all the raw edges.

Cutting strips of fabric from the t-shirts

7. Make the shoulder strap

Cut out some strips two inches wide from both t-shirts.

Pulling the fabric to make t-shirt yarn

Pull the fabric so that it shapes more into a string. Then, make a square knot tie. To see the exact macrame process, skip to 3:28 minutes on my patchwork top video tutorial.

Knotting the t-shirt yarn into a braid

Continue doing these knots until you reach the bottom. Leave a little unknotted fabric at the ends, so that you can sew the strap onto the top easily.

Attaching the strap to the patchwork top

8. Attach the strap to the patchwork top

Pin and sew the strap onto the patchwork top.

DIY patchwork top

DIY patchwork top tutorial

We’re done! I love the colors on this DIY patchwork top - they really make a bold statement. Let me know what you think of this upcycle idea in the comments below.

Suggested materials:
  • Rotary cutter
  • Paper
  • Pen
See all materials

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