How to Easily Make a Cute DIY Square Neck Top Out of a Men's Shirt

Julia Rafael
by Julia Rafael
8 Materials
3 Hours

If you’ve been wanting to learn how to make a square neck top with puff sleeves, this is the tutorial for you! I’m a beginner at sewing and wanted to transform a men’s shirt into a feminine shirt with a square neck and puff sleeves. Let's get started on this DIY square neck top tutorial!

Tools and materials:

  • Men’s shirt
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Sewing machine
  • Marking pen
  • Elastic
  • Pins
  • Safety pin
The men's shirt before the thrift flip

Cutting the sleeves off the shirt

1. Cut the shirt

Lay the men’s shirt down on a flat surface. Cut off the sleeves at the armhole seam and put them aside.

Cutting the shirt to make a square neck top

To make a square neckline and backline, measure 5 inches from the center right at the top of the collar and then 5 inches on the right and left sides. Make a line from these points down about 2 ¼ inches. Then measure 3 ½ inches on the sides. It will make a rectangular shape.

Cut the pieces out.

How to make a square neck top

It looks like this.

Square neck top tutorial

2. Sew the bodice

Separate the front and back pieces of the shirt. Lay the front of the shirt right side down. Fold the top down twice to form a double hem. 

Sewing the DIY square neck top

Do the same for the top of the back of the shirt. Pin them in place. Then sew the double hem using a straight stitch.

Cutting off the bottom of the men's shirt

3. Crop the shirt

Most men’s shirts are extra long. Cut the bottom of the shirt to a good length for you.

Sew the raw edges with a zigzag stitch to prevent fraying.

Modifying the sleeves for the top

4. Make the puff sleeves

Lay one sleeve flat on the work surface. Cut about 5 inches from the cuff going up towards the shoulder. 

Open the side seam and cut away the seam line.

Making sleeves for the DIY square neck top

Fold the sleeve in half. Mark the shoulder curve in about 2 inches. Do the same for the second sleeve.

Zigzag stitch all the raw edges of both sleeves so the fabric doesn’t fray.

Folding and pinning the edges

Fold and pin the fabric over at the rounded edge to make a tunnel. 

Threading elastic through the tunnel

Add a piece of elastic to go through the tunnel by using a safety pin to pull it through. 

How to sew a square neck top

Pin the elastic in place. Sew it down on the end of each open sleeve.

Adding elastic to the DIY square neck top

It should look like this. Trim any extra elastic off. 

Attaching sleeves to the bodice

5. Add the sleeves to the bodice

Pin the ruched end to the top of the shoulder where there is the diagonal line. Sew the sleeve to the front and back.

Turning a shirt into a DIY square neck top

The side seams and the sleeve seams will be open.

Sewing the side seams

Sew the sleeves and the side seams together.

Making adjustments to the DIY square neck top

I wanted the top a bit shorter for a more cropped look, so I cut it even more at the bottom. 

Adding extra buttons to the top

6. Add extra buttons

I added 2 buttons from the part I cut off. I measure the space to add the buttons and buttonholes. I like the way the additional buttons look!

Hemming the DIY square neck top

7. Finish the shirt

Hem the bottom of the shirt and the sleeves by folding over the fabric and then sewing it down.

Tapering the DIY square neck top

The top was still ill-fitting so I decided to cut or sew in the side panels a bit, tapering the shirt to make it fit better.

DIY square neck top

The shirt is finished!

DIY square neck top tutorial

Let me know what you think of this square neck puff sleeve top tutorial! I think it’s still a bit iffy, but I’m learning how to sew better. I’m so glad you’re here on the journey with me. We all have to start somewhere! I’ll probably fix it later on. I hope you enjoyed this video!

Suggested materials:
  • Men’s shirt
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
See all materials

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Join the conversation
  • Anastasia Anastasia on Oct 16, 2021

    Impressive. What a great job!

    • LAM LAM on Oct 16, 2021

      That is the best i have seen on making a men's shirt into something i would wear. thank you.. I love square neck blouses.

  • Sharon Mitchell Sharon Mitchell on Oct 17, 2021

    That was inspiring. Now I’ll look at hubby’s side of the closet hahahhaha