How to Cinch a Top: 4 Easy Ways

4 Materials
1 Hour

Today, I'm going to show you how to cinch a top in 4 different, easy ways.

I took four tops that I had sitting in my closet and transformed them using different cinching techniques. All the tops turned out perfectly! Let's jump into the tutorial.

Tools and materials:

  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Safety pin
  • Sewing machine
Pinning elastic top

Center-cinched top

1. Make a front cinched top 

For this first style, I turned the top inside out. I cut a small piece of elastic and pinned it vertically along the middle of the top.

I pinned one end to the bottom of the top and the other just under the neckline, stretching it in order to pin it on. 

Sewing on the elastic

2. Sew on the elastic

To sew on the elastic, I used a zig-zag stitch. The trick is to stretch the elastic from both ends as you sew. 

Center-cinched top

I love this center-cinched look! This piece is now the perfect causal top I have been needing!

Cutting strips from t-shirt

Side cinched top 

To make this second top, I'll show you how to cinch a shirt on the sides.

1. Cut strips from T-shirt

I actually used a spare T-shirt to help me out. I cut two strips from the spare T-shirt to add to the side seams of the top. 

Sewing on the strip

2. Sewing the strip

I went ahead and sewed the strip over the side seam. 

Cutting a tie

3. Make a tie

Using the scrap fabric from the spare T-shirt, I cut a long strip and stretched it out to make a tie. 

Using a safety pin

4. Attach a safety pin

I made a small loop in the tie and attached a safety pin to the loop. 

Threading the tie

5. Threading the tie

I used the safety pin to help me thread the tie through the channel I had created along the side seam of the top.

Shirt cinched at sides

6. Separate the two sides

Once the tie was in, I separated the two sides and put one stitch down the center.

After checking that this awesome cinch technique works, I went ahead and did the same on the other side.  

Completed side cinched top

This amazing, cinched crop top is so easy to make! 

Cutting t-shirt

Circle cinched top 

1. Create a circle cinch

For the third top, I decided to create a circle cinch. First, I had to figure out which way I wanted to cinch it. I then cut out the circle shape from the shirt and made an opening for the tie. 

Turning over the edges

2. Turn over the edge

I then turned the cut edges over and stitched a tube. 

Stretching the tie

3. Make a tie

I cut off the excess of the top to make a tie. I stretched out the strip until it was as long as I needed for the tie. 

Threading the tie through

4. Threading the tie

Next, I attached a safety pin to the end of the tie and thread it through the tube I had made on the top. 

Hemmed shirt bottom

5. Hem the bottom the top

I then went ahead and hemmed the bottom of the top to give it a nice clean finish. 

Removing the pocket

6. Remove the pocket (optional)

I also decided to remove the pocket of the T-shirt. 

Completed circle cinched top

This is definitely one of my favorite pieces now! Adore this circle cinched top! 

Cutting a V-neck

Tied center cinched top 

1. Create a V-neck

For the next cinched top, I took a tight white turtleneck I had and cut it to make a V-neck. 

Sewing a lettuce hem

2. Sew a lettuce hem

I then went ahead and sewed a lettuce hem on the cuffs of the sleeves and on the neckline.

I love a good lettuce hem. Even though it was a risk, I decided to go for it. To learn how to do a lettuce hem, check out this on how to make a DIY Lettuce Hem Top.

Attaching the tie

3. Attaching the tie

To create the cinch for this top, I used the exact same method I had used before to make the side cinches.

I sewed a tube on the inside of the shirt, down the center using fabric from the turtleneck.

I then sewed a seam down the center between the two sides of the tie that I put through the tube. I took in some fabric from the sides of the top and sewed a lettuce hem at the bottom. 

Completed tied center cinched top

How to cinch a top

Now you know how to cinch a top in 4 different ways!

I am obsessed with these cinched tops! Which style do you like best? Let me know in the comments below.

Suggested materials:
  • Scissors
  • Safety pin
  • Pins
See all materials

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Join the conversation
  • Itsmemic Itsmemic on Dec 15, 2020

    these are awesome ! LOVE the last one !! You are quite the seamstress !!!

  • Cindy Cindy on Jan 23, 2021

    I love that idea! As a teen, I made skirts out of old blue jeans. This is great!