Recycle worn T-shirts or oversized tops into trendy styles. Transform outdated shapes by incorporating basic pattern-making skills, such as high point shoulder length adjustments and reshaping seams. The high point shoulder, which is referred to as the HPS, is a common starting point for most bodice pattern adjustments. Design enthusiasts can create loose crop tops in several shapes, such as A-line or swing, by adjusting the length and reshaping the side seams. Embellish the top by stitching trims along the sleeve and bottom hems, such as fringe or beaded taping.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Flexible tape measure
- T-shirt or long length top
- Clear graph ruler
- Tailor's chalk
- 14-inch by 24-inch clear L-square ruler
- Straight pins
- Fabric scissors
- Dress form
- French curve ruler
- Serger machine
Measure the length of the crop top with a flexible tape measure by positioning the tape at the high point shoulder (HPS). Allow the tape measure to fall a minimum of 2 inches below the bustline to ensure the top covers sensitive areas.
Spread the T-shirt or long length top on the table. Place a clear graph ruler at the HPS and mark the length from Step 1 with tailor's chalk. Add a ½-inch seam allowance to the crop top's bottom hem and mark.
Position a 14-inch by 24-inch clear L-square ruler at the HPS and lightly draw a horizontal line along the bottom hem's seam allowance marking from Step 2. This horizontal line is the cutting seam line for the top's front and back panels.
Roll up the excess fabric below the cutting seam line and pin with straight pins. This step allows you to fit and adjust the crop top length prior to cutting away excess fabric. If the rolled fabric creates excess bulk, remove the bottom hem by cutting away approximately 3 inches with fabric scissors.
Fit the pinned crop top on the dress form to ensure the desired seam line finishes below the bustline. If you do not have a dress form, carefully try on the pinned garment and raise your arms to ensure the seam line covers the bustline. If you are reshaping the side seams, carefully pin along the desired fit.
Remove the pinned top and mark the desired neckline with tailor's chalk. If you are working with a dress form, draw the desired neckline directly on the form. For example, if you are converting the crew neckline to a shaped neck, mark the desired V- or U-neckline shape on the top.
Cut away the sleeves along the armhole. If you are making a sleeveless crop top, repeat Step 5 by fitting the garment and pinning the underarm seam for the desired fit. T-shirts and oversized tops generally have deep armholes, which can reveal sensitive areas when sleeves are removed. Use a French curve ruler to define the shaped underarm seam as well as the side seam shape. Skip this step if your design includes sleeves.
Remove the top from the dress form and place it on your table. Remove the straight pins and cut along the bottom hem seam line. Save the removed excess fabric for future recycling projects. Continue to cut along the shaped side seams and neckline according to your design.
Serge the shaped side seams together with the serger machine. The fabric below the bustline remains loose. If you shaped the side seams to make an A-line or swing crop top, the underarm seam appears fitted after serging.
Turn the bottom seam under and lightly iron. Change the serger machine's stitch setting to an overlock stitch. Overlock the bottom hem in place. If your crop top design includes a shaped neckline and sleeveless armholes, repeat this step by turning the seams under and pressing prior to overlocking the seam hem for a clean finish.
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