Thursday, 18 August 2011

Lazy Girl's Gathered Top

Here's a quick and easy way to make a gathered, drawstring top from a man's t-shirt.

You will need:
One regular fit t-shirt that sits comfortably over your chest
Sewing machine
Thread in a matching or contrasting colour
One safety pin

We begin by cutting off the sleeves, 

then cutting a straight line just under the neck.

Hold the t-shirt up to you and decide where you want the bottom edge to sit.  Mark that area with tailor's chalk, or a pin.  Add two inches to the final length and trim the excess from the bottom.  Do not discard this piece as we'll need it later on in the project.

We need to hem arm 'holes' to ensure they don't fray.

Next we're going to create a channel at the top for the first drawstring.
Fold the raw edges under by about one inch and pin into place.  Sew along the line, keeping as close to the raw edge as possible to ensure that the channel is large enough.  Repeat on the second raw edge and the top portion is complete.

Decide which side you would like the drawstring on the bottom to be, and make a cut in the the side seam about an inch and a half long.

Tuck the raw edge under and pin.  Sew along the line, making sure to keep the channel wide enough to pass the drawstring through.

Here's where that discarded piece from the bottom of the t-shirt comes in.  Cut off the hemmed edge and set aside (for another project, perhaps...)  Take the remaining 'tube' and cut along one side seam to create one long piece.  Now cut along the length to make it into two long pieces.

Now we are going to tug on those pieces to make them longer and thinner.  The material will shed a little at this stage, but don't worry - it won't disintegrate!

When the pieces are fully stretched out, put a safety pin on one end of the first piece and thread it through the channel at the top, ensuring that there is an even amount showing at both openings.

Now repeat at the bottom.  Tie the ends of both drawstrings with a knot to help prevent fraying and you are done!

If you have a little more patience you can thread a bead onto each end of the drawstring for a bit more flair....

And here's one I made for my sister...


  1. cute and easy to do! thanks :)

  2. Terrific ideas for a quick and really cute top! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I really like this top. Its very easy and cute.

  4. Thanks for all the positive comments :-)

  5. Great idea! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Super cute Idea. I am so going to do this..

  7. I definately want to try this. Thanks for sharing

  8. woooow... so easy and totally cute

  9. LOVE IT! Definitely using this idea! Thanks!

  10. I agree with Binka. Very nice!

  11. I really like this. Surprised it was so easy/simple to do! Very Nice.

  12. I just found your wonderful upcycled shirt on! . I am using your hot idea to refashion a shirt for my daughter. Thanks!!

  13. just finished this project and it turned out so well, I think i'll do more!!! Thanks so much for the i'll have a whole bunch of 'new' summer tops!!!!

  14. Love it.....Can't wait to try it!!!!!!!