How to Make a Shirred Tube Top From an Old Men's Shirt

Slow Fashion Style
by Slow Fashion Style
7 Materials
2 Hours

Today I’m going to be showing you how to make a shirred tube top out of a men’s button-down shirt. The shirt I’m using is one that I already transformed into an off-the-shoulder dress, and it wasn’t getting worn, so I decided to transform it yet again into something super cute and summery.

This is a very simple project that’s perfect for beginners, so just follow along, and I’ll take you step by step through sewing a DIY shirred tube top.

Tools and materials:

  • Men’s button-down shirt
  • Scissors
  • Safety pin
  • Pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Elastic thread
  • Sewing machine
Taking bust measurements

1. Take measurements

To begin, I took my bust measurement and added 12 inches. I also measured how long I wanted my top to be by measuring from the top of my chest to where I wanted the hem of the shirt to land (which was 11 inches for me), and added 1 inch for seam allowance.

How to make a shirred top pattern

2. Cut the fabric

Next, I cut a rectangle using the measurements I just took. I also cut four rectangles for the straps, each one 16 inches long and 3 inches wide. 

Winding the bobbin with elastic thread

3. Wind the bobbin

At this point, I prepared the bobbin with the elastic thread, which needs to be wound by hand. You need the elastic thread to make the shirring. But I didn’t put it into the sewing machine just yet. 

Hemming the edges of the bodice

4. Iron and hem

Before starting the shirring, I hemmed the top and bottom edges of the rectangle that will become the bodice. I double folded ¼-inch and then another ¼-inch of fabric on either edge. I ironed it in place before sewing it down with a straight stitch. 

How to sew a shirred top

5. How to sew a shirred top

Next, I switched out the bobbin with cotton thread for the bobbin with the elastic thread. Before starting to sew directly on the shirt, I used a piece of scrap fabric to figure out the tension and thread length that will work best, and I recommend you do this, as well.

Once the sewing machine settings were properly adjusted, I began sewing rows of stitches across the width of the fabric, spacing each row about ½ an inch apart. As I sewed, the fabric began to gather, so I made sure to stretch the fabric as I sewed each row. 

Sewing the edges with a straight stitch

6. Sew the edges

Once all the shirring was complete, I switched the bobbin back to cotton thread. With the wrong side of the fabric facing outward, I aligned the side edges of the rectangle and sewed them together with a straight stitch. 

Sewing the shirred tube top straps

7. Fold and sew the straps

Next, I folded the fabric for the straps in half lengthwise, right sides facing, and sewed down the long edges.

Turning the fabric right side out

8. Turn the fabric

Then I turned each strap right side out. I did it with my fingers, but you can also attach a safety pin to one end and use that to pull the fabric through, which makes it a little easier. 

Topstitching the strap edges closed

9. Fold and sew the strap edges

Then, I folded in the raw edges on both ends of the straps and topstitched them closed. 

Placing straps on the DIY shirred tube top

10. Place the straps

To figure out where to sew the straps, I tried on my top so I could see where the best placement would be for the straps, and used a safety pin to hold each strap in place. 

Attaching the straps to the shirred tube top

11. Sew

Then I took off the top, turned it inside out, and sewed each strap in place on the wrong side of the fabric. 

Before and after DIY shirred tube top

DIY shirred tube top

How to make a shirred tube top tutorial

Once the straps were sewn down, my DIY shirred tube top was ready! I love this top. It’s so adorable, and it was so simple to make. It can also be worn as a proper tube top by simply tucking the straps inside. 

I hope you found my tutorial on how to make a shirred tube top helpful. What do you think of this transformation? Will you be trying it out for yourself? Let me know!

Suggested materials:
  • Men’s button-down shirt
  • Scissors
  • Safety pin
See all materials

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