How to Turn a Pair of Pants Into a Cool Strapless Top With Ruffles

by Recreateful
5 Materials
1 Hour

I had this pair of pants that didn’t really work for me anymore. One thing I did love about them, though, was the color, so I really wanted to find a way to use that fabric. I chose to turn them into a strapless top with ruffles and a laced back, and I’m so happy with the results. In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through this project so that you can make your own version.

Tools and materials:

  • Pants
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machines
  • Safety pins
DIY ruffle top
Deconstruct the pants

The first thing you’ll need to do in order to use the fabric of the pants is to take them apart. Grab your scissors and cut along the seams to open them up.

Ruffle top
Determine the length

Grab one side of the now-open pants and hold it up to your torso. Then take a pin and mark where you want the bottom of your shirt to end. 

Strapless ruffle top
Cut out where you marked

Next, cut along where you pinned, and cut two more pieces of the legs for the sides of the top. Since I didn’t need my whole back to be covered, I just eyeballed the width of the side piece. Then use that as a template, and cut more fabric in that shape so that you have two pieces. Once you have your pieces cut out, sew the edges with a rolled hem.

DIY ruffle top tutorial
Attach the pieces together

Now it’s time to attach the pieces you cut out to each other. Sew the side parts on either side of the middle part, right sides together. Then sew a zigzag stitch along the excess fabric of the stitch to prevent fraying. 

Ruffle top tutorial
Even out the edges

Lay your top out and trim the edges so that they’re even. Then sew all the edges, top, bottom, and sides, in a rolled hem. 

How to make a ruffle top
Make strips

Using your remaining fabric, cut out four long strips, then trim them to make them even. Once you have your four strips, hem the bottom of each strip with a rolled hem, and overlock the raw edge with two zigzag stitches. Then hem the raw side of the strip as well, and add a basting stitch beneath the zigzag stitches. 

DIY ruffle top
Ruffle the fabric

Pull on the thread of the basting stitch to ruffle the fabric of the strip. Then take the strip and pin the top of it to the shirt, right sides together, and sew all along where you pinned. Then repeat the process with the three remaining strips, placing them according to how wide apart you want your ruffles to be. When you’re happy with the way it looks, sew all the strips in place, then iron your ruffles so that they lie flat and down. 

Strapless ruffle top DIY
Fix the ruffles

Try the top on (or use your mannequin if you have one) and see how it looks, then make adjustments. For me, there were a few ruffles that were sticking up more than I liked, so I pinned them down as needed and hand-sewed them in place. Then I stitched the sides of the top so that it laid flat. 

Pants to ruffled top upcycle
Create the back loops

Now you’re going to take some of the extra fabric you have and cut out 12 small pieces to use as loops for the back closure. Then fold each piece over and sew it, right sides together, and use a safety pin to turn them right sides out.

Upcycled top with loops
Place the loops

Turning the little pieces you just made so that they create loops, pin them to the sides of your top, distanced equally apart. Then sew them all in place with a straight stitch down the line. 

Pants to top refashion
Create a long strip

Take all your remaining fabric and it cut it into thin strips, then sew them all together into one long piece of fabric. Now fold the strip in half lengthwise, and sew the edges together, right sides facing each other. Use a safety pin to turn the strip right side out. 

How to upcycle pants to a top
Lace your top

The last step is to tie knots at the end of the long strip, then feed it through the loops of your top to create a laced-up look.

Upcycled pants to top

Completed ruffled top

Wow, guys, I’m obsessed with this top. It is 100% my new favorite top. I absolutely love how it’s so cute in the front, but a little edgy in the back. It even looks great with a chunky cardigan for cooler weather. Can you believe this used to be a pair of pants?! I’m amazed by the results. You have to try out this project, and show me how yours comes out in the comments! 

Suggested materials:
  • Pants
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins
See all materials

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