How to Make a Drawstring Crop Top Out of an Old T-Shirt

by VeganVenus
7 Materials
20 Minutes

Feeling uninspired by your closet? In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make a drawstring crop top out of an old t-shirt. We all have old t-shirts in our wardrobes that we don’t wear, and this is a great way to reinvent them into something new! Let's get started.

Tools and materials:

  • White t-shirt
  • Measuring tape
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Scissors
  • Rotary cutter
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
Measuring the t-shirt

1. Measure the t-shirt

Start by putting the t-shirt on, and with a measuring tape, see how deep you want your neckline to be, as well as how cropped you want your shirt to be.

You also want to take measurements under the arms to see how much you need them to be taken in, so that the ruched crop top will be a bit more figure-hugging. 

Marking the t-shirt, ready to cut

2. Mark the t-shirt

Next, lay your shirt flat on the table and mark out all your lines where you will later cut. 

Pinning the t-shirt

3. Pin

Then go in with your pins and pin everything in place so that nothing will move around while you’re sewing your new seams. Cut off the bottom part of your shirt that you’re not going to use, but don’t throw it away because you’re going to need it later for the rest of the shirt.

How to sew a DIY drawstring top

4. Sew

When you’ve pinned everything in place, you’re just going to go in with your sewing machine and zigzag stitch along the line that you’ve marked. If you have a serger, then you can use this instead.

Cutting off the excess fabric

5. Cut off the excess fabric

Once you’re done sewing, cut off the excess fabric. You can also cut the old hemlines off the sleeves if you want to.

Creating casing for the drawstring straps

6. Make the casing for the drawstring straps

Next, make the casing for your straps for the ruching effect.

To work out the length of the straps, take the measurement from the deepest part of the neckline to the bottom of the shirt. Make sure that your casing is wide enough so that you can fit your two straps inside later on, and you should also add seam allowance.

I made mine 5cm (2 inches) wide. Draw a straight line in the middle of your casing so that you can later sew a beautiful straight seam. 

Pinning the casing to the top

7. Pin the casing to the top

After that, pin the casing to the top. Sew three straight lines, one down the middle of the casing and one on either side of it.

Making drawstring straps for the DIY top

8. Make the drawstring straps

The next step is to make the straps. Cut the fabric and do the same as you would for a rolled hem, so fold in the sides and then fold it again in the middle and sew the straight line.

Then, sew a basic straight stitch all along the strap. Proceed to fold the ends of your straps and sew them in place. 

How to sew a lettuce hem

9. Sew the lettuce hem

To make the lettuce hem around the edges of the t-shirt, you want to use a zigzag stitch and put the stitch length on the lowest number and your stitch width to the highest number. You also want to use a high tension for your thread.

To create this wavy effect on the lettuce hem, slightly pull your fabric when you’re sewing, but be careful not to stretch it too much.

How to make a drawstring top

10. Insert the drawstring straps

After you’ve done this effect on the lettuce hem, go in and thread your drawstring straps through the casing. You can use a safety pin to help you pull them through. Tie the strings in a bow, and you’re done!

How to make a drawstring crop top

How to make a drawstring crop top tutorial

Here is the finished DIY drawstring top! Isn’t it a beauty? Repurposing old clothes instead of buying new ones is a really sustainable fashion approach that reduces our consumption and allows us to be creative and design our own clothes!

So have a rummage around for an old t-shirt, and give this DIY a go!

Suggested materials:
  • White t-shirt
  • Measuring tape
  • Tailor’s chalk
See all materials

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