How to Make a Pretty Milkmaid Top Out of an Old T-Shirt

by VeganVenus
10 Materials
3 Hours

This tutorial is a great upcycle for all sewing enthusiasts! I will show you how to make a milkmaid top from a spare, oversized t-shirt lying around. Let’s admit, unless you have a capsule wardrobe, most of us definitely have at least one shirt or t-shirt that seems to find itself at the back of our closets.

In which case, you can make something beautiful and functional out of it with this milkmaid top DIY! Also, I have a milkmaid top pattern for you to follow, so page down, and let’s get started.

Tools and materials:

  • Old shirt
  • Rotary cutter
  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Paper
  • Chalk
  • Thread (2 colors)
  • Sewing machine
  • Elastic
Milkmaid top sewing pattern

Milkmaid top pattern

1. Make the pattern

To make the pattern according to your measurements, go ahead and measure yourself according to the milkmaid top sewing pattern shown above. 

Drawing the milkmaid top pattern on paper

Next, transfer the pattern with your respective measurements to a piece of paper. 

Cutting the pattern out of the shirt fabric

2. Cut the pattern pieces

Now, with either a sharp pair of scissors or a rotary cutter, carefully cut out your milkmaid top pattern pieces. You’ll notice that I took the shirt apart, leaving two bodice pieces for me to work with. 

Tip: As a side note, I did manage to make a few mistakes in this step. It’s essential to make sure you’re cutting the fabric correctly to avoid wastage. 

Marking the measurements with chalk

Mark the wrong sides of the fabric with chalk. 

How to make a milkmaid top from a shirt

You should have three pieces. 

Cutting the corners of the bottom bust piece

3. Make some modifications

Take your bottom bust piece (which you’ll be ruching later) and cut the corners, so in the end, when you fit it onto your main bust piece, it will fit cohesively. 

Hemming with an overlock stitch

4. Overlock

Serge the top of your bust piece, as shown. 

Marking the middle of the bust with chalk

5. Sew the elastic

Mark the middle of your bust piece with chalk, and pin the middle of your elastic on that halfway mark.

Pinning the elastic to the bust piece

Also, pin the short ends of the elastic to the sides of the bust piece. This will ensure that when sewing the elastic, it will be evenly distributed. 

Sewing the elastic to the DIY milkmaid top

When you sew your elastic to your top, make sure to use a zigzag stitch. Also, don’t pull one the first few inches. Do a reverse stitch in the beginning, and then start pulling the elastic. 

Ruching the bottom bust piece

6. Ruche the bottom bust piece

Change your sewing machine’s settings to the longest stitch length and sew a straight stitch around the bottom edge of your bust piece; this will give a lovely ruched effect. 

Pulling the thread to create gathers

Now, pull the thread and make sure the small gathers are evenly distributed along the lower bust piece edge. When you’re done, make a double knot on the thread. 

Cutting the under-bust into three pieces

7. Create decorative seams (optional)

This is optional, but I cut my under-bust piece into three pieces as I wanted to add some decorative seams. 

Sewing a decorative lettuce hem

Pin the wrong sides of the pieces and sew a lovely lettuce hem, as shown. To sew a lettuce hem, stretch the fabric as you sew with a zigzag stitch along the hem. 

Pinning the fabric pieces together

8. Assemble the milkmaid top

We’re almost done! Now pin your upper and lower bust pieces together accordingly.

Sewing the bust pieces together

Make sure they are right sides facing. Next, sew both pieces to secure. 

How to sew milkmaid top

I didn’t have enough fabric to make a bias tape around the raw edges. If you do have, go ahead and add a bias tape for a cleaner finish. If you don’t have extra fabric, simply roll the edges of your bust piece and hem it on both sides. 

Hemming the DIY milkmaid top

Next, roll and hem the back piece of your top, too. 

Stitching the side seams of the milkmaid top

Pin the back piece to the front, right sides facing. Then go ahead and stitch the side seams. 

Cutting the fabric for the straps

9. Cut and secure the straps

Now, for the final part, the straps! Cut your straps according to your shoulder measurement. 

How to make straps for a milkmaid top

Fold your strap fabric and stitch along the seams with a straight stitch. 

Attaching the straps to the milkmaid top

Secure your straps to your top, making sure each end sits equally adjacent to each other. 

How to make a milkmaid top

How to make a milkmaid top tutorial

Our milkmaid top DIY project is complete, and the result is super cute and fabulous! Who would have thought you can transform a dull t-shirt into a trendy piece like this?

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make a milkmaid top and that you now have the inspiration to transform your old, used items instead of discarding them. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Suggested materials:
  • Old shirt
  • Rotary cutter
  • Ruler
See all materials

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