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Recycled Summer Tops

Category Alterations
By reworking some of your other clothing, such as long sleeved shirts, you can make some really cute tops for summer. This is a page about recycled summer tops.


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April 19, 201114 found this helpful

I have several dress shirts in my closet that I used to wear as jackets over camisoles or T-shirts. Some of them I haven't worn in over a year, so I decided they either needed to go, or they needed a transformation. Since I'm pretty frugal, transformation won out. I altered them into summer tops.

Approximate Time: 2 hours



  1. Lay the shirt on your work surface with the front side facing up.

  2. Cut off the sleeves of the shirt at the seams.

  3. Lay a tank top on the front of the shirt. Match the bottom of the tank's armholes with the bottom of the dress shirt's armholes. The top of the dress shirt may extend above the shoulders of the tank.

  4. Measure up 2 inches from the center front of the tank top. Horizontally lay a yardstick across the shirt's front at this measurement.

  5. Make a pen mark on each where the yardstick rests. Remove the tank top from under the yardstick. Using the yardstick as a straight edge, draw a line across the shirt to connect the marks. Cut along the line through both layers of the shirt.

  6. Measure around each of the cut armholes. Cut two lengths of bias tape using these measurements.
    Pin each bias tape length to the outside of the armholes with the right sides facing. Sew the tape to the armholes using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

  7. Trim the seams as close to the stitching as possible. Fold the bias tape to the inside of the shirt. Press and pin the tape. Sew the pinned tape 1/4-inch from the edge of the armholes.

  8. Sew a zigzag stitch along the raw edges on both the front and back, top edges of the shirt.

  9. Fold 1 inch of the top edges to the wrong side of the shirt and press. Pin the folds. Sew the folds to create a casing on the front and back of the shirt.

  10. Cut off the cuff from one shirt sleeve and open the sleeve at the seam. Cut four 1-inch wide strips, the length of the sleeve. Place two strips together with the right sides facing. Sew across one short end. Repeat with the remaining strips.
    You will want each sewn strip to measure approximately 36 inches long. Attach additional strips if needed.


  11. Iron the seams of the strip open. Fold each strip in half with the long edges aligned. Iron the fold to crease.

  12. Open the folded strips. Fold the raw edges of the strips to the center crease and iron. Do not unfold.
    Fold the strips in half again, matching the folds on the long edges.
    Iron and pin the edges together. Sew the pinned long edges. These are your drawstrings.

  13. Attach a safety pin to one end of one drawstring. Use the safety pin to guide the drawstring through one casing on the shirt. Pull the drawstring so that it extends evenly from each end of the casing. Insert the remaining drawstring through the other casing in the same way.


Try on the summer top. Bring the ends of the drawstrings over your shoulders. Adjust the drawstrings to fit comfortably and tie into a bow or a knot. Trim the drawstrings if needed.

By Cyndee from Winfield, KS

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 14


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
July 5, 2012

About a year ago, I saw a great post with a pattern on making a sun top from a large shirt. I thought it was bookmarked, but no. Did you post this or have it bookmarked? I've been looking for days and can't find it.
It had a drawstring across shoulders, and was blowsy and cool. Any help would be much appreciated!

By jules


July 6, 20120 found this helpful

I found this on google. I don't know how you "search" anything on here, frankly. It seems when I first joined you could and now, nothing.

http://shine.ya  t-224700817.html

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
June 26, 20130 found this helpful

I believe this is the post you are looking for:

http://www.thri  2076319.tip.html

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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