DIY Shirt Into Crop Top: How to Refashion Your Old Work Shirts

DIY by Ruffa
by DIY by Ruffa
9 Materials
2 Hours

Do you have a button-down shirt that fits you from the Before times (before COVID) that you want to refashion? Do you want to learn how to DIY and make a shirt into a crop top? Then this is the tutorial for you!

Let me show you how to cut a shirt into a crop top that is absolutely adorable and perfect for summer!

Tools and materials:

  • Button-down shirt
  • Scissors
  • Marking pen
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Sewing machine
  • Serger (optional)
  • Pins
  • Clips
  • Measuring tape/ruler
Shirt before the change into a crop top

1. Make the pattern

Wear the shirt so you can see exactly where the mark the new neckline.

Measuring the new neckline for the top

Use a ruler to help you make clean lines.

Marking the armhole and shoulder line

Mark the neckline with a deep diagonal line down and the new shoulder line and armhole. 

Marking the new length of the top

Mark the new length. 

Measuring the depth of the top

Measuring the armhole of the top

Measure the depth to be 9 inches and the armhole to measure all around at 10 inches. 

Measuring the width of the top

The width at the top of the bust should be 8½ inches. 

Marking the pattern with chalk

Mark with chalk and pin in place. Cut. 

Cutting away the button placket

Open the button to cut away the button placket.

How to cut a shirt into a crop top

Then close the button. 

Clipping the folding the shirt

Fold the cut part of the shirt lengthwise so the right sides are together.

How to make a shirt into a crop top

Clip in place and pin the pattern together to the other side of the shirt.

Cutting the pattern for the crop top


Adjusting the neckline

Remove the clips. Cut the button placket so it is flush with the new neckline. 

Measuring the length of the top

Measure 10 inches down from the armhole bottom.

DIY crop top ideas

Mark this new measurement across the width of the shirt.

Cutting the top to shorten it


Cutting the edges of the shirt

Mark at the bottom corner edge about an inch on the diagonal on both sides. Cut off these little edges.

Set the sleeves, bottom portion of the shirt, and the buttons aside to use later.

Clipping the armholes

2. Sew the top

All the sewing is done on the inside (wrong side). First, clip the armholes.

Taking in the shirt on the sides

Take in the shirt just under the armholes all the way down to the end on either side. Sew with a straight stitch.

Trimming the seam allowance

Trim the seam allowance.

Serging the side seams

Serge or zigzag sew the side seams. 

Serging the raw edges of the shirt

Then serge or zigzag sew all the raw edges of the shirt: neckline, armholes, back, and hem.

Folding and pinning the serged edges

After serging, fold all the serged edges and pin. 

How to sew a crop top

Once it’s sewn, it looks super polished!

Snipping the shoulder seams open

3. Make the shoulder ties

Flip the shirt to the right side and snip both the shoulder seams open.

Measuring the open seams

Measure the open seam. It should be about an inch.

Cutting off the cuffs of the sleeves

Lay the sleeves flat. Cut off the cuffs. 

Measuring ties for the shoulders

Mark the sleeve in from the cuff edge 1½ inch.

Making the width

Mark the top width at 2½ inches

Marking the length

Mark the length at 12½ inches.

Cutting the sleeves

Cut. Do the same to both sleeves. 

Folding the shoulder ties

Open the newly cut pieces and fold down the shorter edge to make a hem. Then fold it lengthwise, right side together.

Sewn shoulder tie

Sew these ties with a straight stitch. Flip to the right side. It will look like this.

Cutting the remaining fabric

Take the shirt bottom. Cut in half.

Clipping the fabric

Fold each half and clip in place. Measure 1½ inches at the narrow end and 3½ inches at the wider end. Measure 8 inches for the length.

Marking a diagonal line

Mark the diagonal line.

Trimming the fabric

Trim off any hemmed or folded edges.

Cutting out the fabric pieces

Then cut out the pieces. You’ll have a total of 4 pieces.

Sewing the shoulder ties

Sew each with a straight stitch on the wrong side, leaving the narrow short edge unsewn.

Trim the corners on the seam allowance, then flip to the right side.

Attaching the longer shoulder tie

4. Attach the shoulder ties

Attach the longer 12-inch tie to the front shoulder. Tuck or fold the front shoulder edge and insert it into the tie. Pin it into place. 

Pinning the back shoulder tie

Fold the back shoulder piece into the opening of the 8-inch tie and pin into place. Sew them with a straight stitch.

Making extra buttonholes on the top

5. Finish the front

Attach a button to the very top of the shirt. Add a buttonhole with your sewing machine. Attach 2 more buttons, without making buttonholes at equal distances down the placket. 

DIY shirt into crop top

DIY shirt into crop top tutorial

I love my DIY bow tie strap cami top from an old shirt! Let me know in the comments if you’re planning to make DIY crop tops from old clothes. Making buttondown workwear shirts into these beautiful summer tops makes upcycling so much fun!

Suggested materials:
  • Button-down shirt
  • Scissors
  • Marking pen
See all materials

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 1 comment
  • Bgott Bgott on Dec 21, 2021

    This was very clever. If you follow it step by step, it's not too complicated! Well demonstrated.