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Ruffled Crop Top From T-Shirt

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Transform your t-shirt into a lovely circular cut ruffled crop top you can pair with a skirt or high waisted bottoms. The natural flounce of the new upcycle technique is super is to duplicate.

It may look complicating, but in this tutorial will show you the easiest way to make circular ruffles without using any gathering. If this project is exciting, then you will also enjoy the easy crop top upcycle projects that I have included in this roundup.

Choose a knit material and proceed forward in pursuing the multiple t-shirt upcycle ideas available. The light and airy weight of knit fabric is well suited for many different styles.

Use the guides to prepare and practice advancing your sewing skills! Upcycled clothing offers an affordable medium to further your confidence in sewing.

Instead of donating or throwing away old clothes, transform them into new items that you can wear again!

Ruffled crop top before and after

You will love this ruffled crop top from old t-shirt because…

  • Takes only 20-30 minutes to finish based on your sewing skill level.
  • Create the circular ruffles without needing a sewing patterns. 
  • Great for a beginner and intermediate sewing challenge.
  • You can adjust the length of the ruffles to make shorter or longer 
  • Easily remove the ruffles along the armhole to make it sleeveless.
  • The best part is you don’t need to hem the ruffles on this project. 

In this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll see what to do with old-t-shirts and get to challenge yourself by completely changing the look of classic tee. Create a modern and trendy look by shortening the length and adding ruffles to the front and back side of the garment. 

An oversized t-shirt without graphics or stripe prints will work the best for this upcycle sewing project. The natural waterfall like ruffles drapes well with the circular knit fabric. 

Ruffled crop top paired with the tassel trim mini skirt

I paired this ruffled crop top with a tassel trim wrap mini skirt from a t-shirt. The matching set is super cute and both pieces are made using an old tee!

This refashion project allows for versatile methods because you can gather the fabric along the seam line or make a smooth seam line to create elegant and luxurious finish. If you’re already familiar with the gathering method, let’s grab an old t-shirt and make this ruffled crop top upcycle.

How to make ruffled crop top from a t-shirt?

Crop Top From T-Shirt (5 Easy Upcycle Projects!)

In order to make ruffles on a t-shirt, there are a few different techniques. For the ruffles in this project, we will learn to make flounce or circular ruffles that don’t require manual gathering.

Accurate sizing is an important consideration when making your own clothes. Follow this guide to take body measurements for clothing so that you ensure the clothes fit you properly.

Since we are not hemming the finish, you only need sharp scissor to make clean cut lines and a few tools from a basic sewing kit. Nominate a couple of t-shirts to transform into a crop top that you can wear with high-waisted skirts, shorts and pants.

DIY Ruffled Crop Top Materials:

Ruffled crop top materials
  • T-shirt
  • Fabric chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins

Fold the t-shirt in half lengthwise. Mark 16” down from the shoulder seam and cut to make a crop top.

Use the leftover fabric to make the circular ruffles. See the step-by-step pictures below for specific instructions on how to make the ruffles.

Detach the sleeves from the body because you will replace with ruffled sleeves.

Fold the top in half lengthwise and open up the center chest.

Attach the ruffles using topstitch and then reattach both side pieces back onto the center chest piece. 

Make the ruffled sleeves using the old sleeve. Measure 3” from the edge and cut. Attach the new ruffled sleeves onto the arm seam.

Trim the end of each of the ruffles to complete this diy ruffled crop top.

Ruffled crop top front view

DIY Ruffled Crop Top Sewing Tips:

Making a crop top from a tee is pretty straight forward, however adding ruffles around the edges is the challenge. There are couple of tips and tricks that I want to share with you that I learned during this tutorial. 

Feel free to read through the helpful hints so you can make most gorgeous and beautiful ruffles that you have been dreamt of. 

  • Cutting: Use pins and scissors to cut, but if you feel you need more help, than a cutting mat, pattern weights and a rotary cutter are helpful to make accurate lines. A rotary cutters actually makes it super easy to cut curves. 
  • Hemline: Since we are not hemming the ruffles, use spray starch and an hot iron to stiffen the material to avoid rolling edges (depend on weight of fabric).
  • Iron: Press while sewing the princess seam. The steam can help the fabric return to its original state. 
  • Feed Dogs: The feed dogs are the raggedy metal piece that sticks out of the needle plate on sewing machine. It helps to pull fabric a little to help move it along. So, don’t pull knit fabric when sewing ruffles to the body. You may encounter the fabric getting sucked down into the feed dogs when you start sewing. To avoid this from happening, start sewing a ¼” or so in from the edge. Start with a backstitch, and then continue sewing regularly.
  • Direction of Fabric: All knits have different stretch directions. Some may only stretch two ways horizontally or vertically, while some will stretch in all four directions. Understand the direction of the stretch beforehand, this will help you determine the right direction to start sewing. 

More crop top upcycle projects from your old t-shirt for your next DIY fashion:

Ruffled crop top sideview
Yield: 1 ruffled crop top

How To Make Ruffled Crop T-Shirt

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Difficulty: Beginner
Estimated Cost: $1.00

The circular method without gathering is the easiest way to make ruffles. It is beginner friendly and fun ways to transform any t-shirt into lovely and pretty look. Use these sewing tips and method to make your own ruffled crop top from any old t-shirt. 


  • T-shirt


  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • Scissor
  • Straight pins


  1. For this ruffled crop top tutorial, start by folding the t-shirt in half lengthwise.
    Fold the t-shirt in half lengthwise and mark 16" down from the high point on the shoulder.
  2. Mark 16” down from the high point on the shoulder. 
    Draw a straight line across and cut to make a crop top.
    Draw a line across and cut to make a crop top.
  3. To make the ruffles, cut the hem off the bottom of the fabric piece and fold the fabric in half lengthwise.
    From the folded center line, mark a ¼ circle that is 3” wide.
    From the folded center line, mark a second ¼ circle that is 6” wide.
    Cut along both lines resulting in a 12” wide circle with a hole in the center.
    Cut circular ruffles for the front and back chest piece.
  4. Trace the circle onto another piece of scrap fabric and cut a matching circle with center hole.
    2 separate 12" wide circular ruffle pieces
  5. Cut along both armhole seams to detach the sleeves.
    Cut the sides off on the crop top to insert the ruffles.
  6. Fold the top in half lengthwise.
    Mark 3” from the folded line on the bottom opening.
    Mark 3” from the neckband on the shoulder seam.
    Draw a straight line to connect both points.
    Cut along the lines to detach the center of the top from from both sides.
    Separate the sides from the chest to attach the ruffles.
  7. To attach the ruffles, use the one ruffled piece on each side. Start at the bottom opening and pin to secure.
    ¼” topstitch to attach the ruffles to both sides of the center chest piece.
    Pin the ruffles to both sides of the chest piece and then topstitch
  8. Reattach both side pieces back onto the center chest piece.
    Pin to secure and ¼” topstitch.
  9. To make ruffled sleeves, cut open the underarm seam of both sleeves. 
    Measure 3” from the edge and mark with chalk.
    Cut along the line to make the new sleeve.
    Copy onto the other sleeve.
  10. To finish the ruffled sleeves, pin the ruffles to the armhole opening and ¼” topstitch.
    Reattach both side pieces after the ruffles have been inserted.
  11. To finish the ruffled crop top, smooth the edges of the ruffles, round the corners and give a natural curve that drapes nicely. 
    Cut 1” diagonal pieces off the end of each ruffle on the front and back of the top to complete this diy ruffled crop top.
    Attach the new ruffled sleeves

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How to make ruffled crop top

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