Crop tops have an edgy, stylish appeal that has taken over the teen fashion world and spilled into adult styles. These short tops often display a portion of the midriff and present a casual and carefree image. If you don’t want to go out and buy an armful of short shirts to update your wardrobe, you can quickly learn how to cut a shirt into a crop top!
The simplest way to turn many styles of shirts into crop tops s to select a baggy shirt and cut off the excess fabric. The easiest way to turn an oversized t-shirt into a crop top is to use fabric scissors to remove the sleeves and lower hem of the shirt. Turning a button-down shirt into a crop top usually requires a sewing machine to finish the cut edges.
This article will teach you how to make a crop top from t-shirts, button-downs, and tank tops. You will find out how to fashion a crop top with and without sewing. Finally, you will find tips on how to style an outfit using your new crop top shirt!
What is a Crop Top?
A crop top is a shirt with a hemline that ends above the midriff, exposing the lower portion of the stomach. This short and flashy top style is trending like crazy again, but it emerged in the fashion world during the 1980s.
The 80s saw a complete reversal of previous fashion trends and the invention of many new styles, like the crop top. Icons like Madonna helped bring the crop top into the mainstream, but the workout culture of the 80s kicked off the crop top craze.
The sudden popularity of aerobics in the 80s inspired many stylish athletic instructors like Denis Austen to spearhead a cool mesh crop top style. Often worn over a tight-fitting body suit or tank top, this crop top did not reveal that much, but it inspired the fashion world to try all kinds of cropped shirts!
Besides Madonna, famous performers like the Spice Girls wore crop tops during onstage performances. Celebrity promotion drove the crop top style of the 1980s!
Cropped shirts died out of fashion again in the 90s, but a couple of decades later, they exploded into the spotlight again. Today, crop tops serve as a trendy fashion statement, a way to highlight a baby bump or a navel piercing, and a way to celebrate the body.
Popular crop top styles include baggy cut-off t-shirts, peasant-stye blouses with puffy sleeves, sleeveless tube tops, and even some of the more traditional workout-gear style crop tops.
How to Cut a Shirt Into a Crop Top: 9 Methods
The most obvious and most popular way to cut a shirt into a crop top is to use sharp scissors to remove the lower section of the shirt. You can also use a folding technique to avoid cutting the shirt. You can also create several different styles of crop tops, ranging from a puffy-sleeve button shirt to a V-shaped tank or a crop top for guys!
1. With Scissors
The three most popular styles of crop tops you can easily create with scissors are a baggy t-shirt crop top, a button blouse crop top, and a cut-off tank crop top.
Turning a t-shirt into a crop top is the easiest method you can use. All you need is a sharp pair of scissors.
You do not have to worry about the freshly cut edges because t-shirt fabric does not fray or unravel! This means that you don’t need a sewing machine for this method.
- Start by trying on an oversized t-shirt. You can find a shirt several sizes too large on the clearance rack at your favorite store or even use an old tee. This style typically uses a shirt that will drape off you, so pick a shirt that does not cling to your shape.
- Stand in front of a mirror and decide how short you want to cut the shirt. One handy trick to help you visualize the cropped top length is to fold under the hemline so that it looks as if you have cut off the bottom of the shirt. This can help you decide how much to cut off.
- Place a safety pin in the shirt to mark the cutting line, then take it back off.
- Spread the shirt flat on a table. Use a tape measure to measure the distance from the hemline of the shirt to the safety pin.
- Next, get a piece of chalk and measure that same distance from the hemline to the cropping line across the front of the shirt. For example, if you measure seven inches from the hem to your safety pin, measure seven inches from the hem across the rest of the shirt, drawing a chalk line to mark where you want to cut off the shirt.
- Now get a pair of sharp scissors and cut straight across the shirt at your chalk line, cutting through both the front and back layers of the tee.
- Try on the shirt again to see if you like its new length!
You can find hundreds of variations on this basic t-shirt crop. For example, you can easily create a crop top with ties in the front by cutting the front of the shirt in a triangle shape instead of in a straight line. Or you can slice off the sleeves of the tee, turning it into a sleeveless crop top.
Converting a button-down or button blouse into a crop top with front ties is the simplest way to transform an old, baggy blouse into a fashion statement!
- Start by trying on a baggy button-down. Make sure you wear a shirt several sizes too large. For women, you may even want to use a men’s shirt as you will cut it down to fit you.
- Decide where you want the crop top to the end, and mark this place with a piece of chalk or a pin.
- Take off the shirt and spread it out flat, with the back of the shirt facing up. Measure a point one inch below your first marking.
- Draw a straight line across the back of the shirt at this point. You may want to measure up from the bottom of the shirt to make sure your line stays level.
- For the front of the shirt, you will draw two slanted lines that meet in a triangle at the center front of the shirt hem instead of a straight line. This is how you can easily create ties for your crop top!
- Flip the shirt over so that the front lies face up. Measure two inches from each side seam at your chalk point, essentially continuing the line you drew across the back of the shirt.
- Now measure two inches out from the buttons at the center of the hem on both sides.
- Use a ruler to help you draw a slanted line from the side seam chalk to the new lines at the bottom of the shirt.
- Next, cut along all your chalk lines.
- To finish the raw edges where you cut the shirt, use an iron to help fold the raw edge under one-half of an inch. Press this fold into place, and then fold under once more. This will use up the extra inch of fabric you measured into your crop top length int eh beginning of the process!
- Using a sewing machine, stitch along the double folded edge.
- When you put on your shirt, use the two triangular pieces in the center front to tie into a formfitting knot!
- If you don’t like the sleeves on the blouse, you can cut them off just outside the seam line and fold that edge under.
You can also turn a blouse into a peasant-style crop top by adding elastic to its new hemline. All you have to do is fold over the bottom edge of the crop top to form a pocket for the elastic, and then slide a long strand of elastic into place!
Cutting a tank top into a close-fitting crop top is easy and fun! Plus, it will give you nice cool workout gear to wear to your next gym session.
For the simplest crop-top tank, select a tank top made of stretchy knit material and cut it off wherever you would like the new length to end.
But for a fancier wrap-around style, try these steps!
- As always, start by trying on your tank top and marking the point where you want the crop top hem to fall.
- Fold the tank in half vertically and cut from the center front hem up the center front of the shirt to the neckline.
- Flip the tank over and draw a straight line where you want the crop top to end across the back. To cut off the fabric below this point at the back, cut up at each side seam until your reach your chalk line. Then cut straight across the back where you drew the line.
- To wear the wrap tank, put your arms through the armholes. Wrap one half of the front across your upper chest till the end reaches your back. Then wrap the other end so that both ties meet at your back. Tie them together, and you have a wrap tank!
2. Without Cutting
If you ever need to look trendy in a hurry, you can turn almost any shirt into a crop top in just seconds without cutting! The only caveat is that this method only works if you wear a shirt and a bra.
- If you can, find a mirror to make sure you get the bottom edge of the shirt straight all the way across.
- Next, pinch the shirt at the side where you want the new length to end.
- While holding that point, fold under the hem of the shirt. This probably goes without saying, but you want to fold the bottom edge to the inside of the shirt, so it does not show!
- Hold the folded edge at the front of the shirt, and then use your other hand to gather the loose bottom edge inside the shirt at your back. If you have a lot of loose fabric, tie it into a knot.
- Finally, tuck the loose fabric or the knot inside your bra strap at the back of the shirt. This will hold the loose material in place and make the front and back of your shirt look like a crop top!
3. No Sew
You can make a no-sew crop in several ways, including creating a fringed hem or converting a button-down into a tied crop top.
For a fringed crop top:
- Select a close-fitting t-shirt or tank top made out of knit fabric.
- Try on the shirt and use chalk to mark where you want the solid part of the top to end.
- Take off the shirt and draw a straight line across the front of the shirt at this point.
- If you want extreme precision, mark points about half an inch apart along the bottom hem of the shirt. Or you can wing this and cut slits evenly spaced from the hem to your chalk line.
- Once you finish cutting vertical slits from the hem to the lower edge of the crop top, you will have a fun fringed top!
To turn a button-down into a crop top, all you have to do is unbutton the lower buttons on the shirt, gather up the two tails, and tie them into a knot at your midriff!
4. For Guys
One of the coolest ways to make a crop top for guys is to create a frayed hem on a western-style button-down made out of denim or khaki.
- To do this, start by trying on the shirt and using a piece of chalk to mark the new bottom edge of the crop top.
- Take off the shirt and button it back up. Smooth it out flat with the front side of the shirt facing up.
- Measure from the hem of the shirt to your chalk mark. Once you know this distance, measure from the hem to this point across the front of the shirt, drawing a chalk line as you go. You should end up with a straight line across the shirt where you want the new hem of the crop top to lie.
- Cut along the chalk line, making sure you slice through both layers of the shirt.
- To get a fun frayed edge at your new hem. Use a nail file to gently abrade the cut edge. You should see fuzzy white threads at the edge!
5. V Style
Another fun way to turn a shirt into a crop top is to create a ruched, V-shaped gather at the center front for a fancier look! You may also see this called a “scrunch” crop top.
You do need a sewing machine for this method!
- Turn your t-shirt inside out and draw a line from the center front of the hem to the center front of the collar.
- Thread your sewing machine with a color of thread that matches the color of your shirt, and set the machine to a wide zigzag stitch.
- Spread a piece of elastic thread down the line you drew at the center front of the shirt.
- Sew a zigzag stitch over the elastic thread, giving it a thread casing to hold it to the shirt.
- Take the shirt out of the sewing machine and pull on one end of the elastic thread, gathering up the shirt. Once the middle of the shirt reaches the shorter length that you want, tie off the elastic thread, or sew a few more stitches over it to hold it in place.
- Cut off the extra elastic and any loose threads.
If you do not want to try real ruching like this, you can also use a drawstring and sew two lines of straight stitching on either side of a length of ribbon on the inside of the shirt to gather it up.
6. Tank Top Into Crop Top Without Cutting
If you ever need to go from a “sweaty gym look” to a “cool fashion vibe” in about thirty seconds, you can try this cool hack to turn a tank top into a crop top without cutting!
- Put on the tank top if you aren’t already wearing it.
- Next, slide one arm out of the strap. Hold the strap in front of you in one hand.
- Slide the strap down the neckline of the shirt, out below the hem, and then back into the shoulder position.
- Put your arm back through the strap.
- You should have a neatly twisted section above your midriff and a handily improvised crop top!
How Do You Cut a T-Shirt to Make it Cute?
You can cut a t-shirt to make it cute in hundreds of different ways, including turning it into a crop top!
Check out these ideas:
- Cut a slit from the shoulder seam to cover the sleeve hem to give yourself some shoulder cut-outs.
- Cut an asymmetrical crop top by snipping through the shirt from the hem to a point just below the armpit in a diagonal line.
- Cut the sleeves off, or cut them into a row of vertical strips to form fringed sleeves.
- Add a deep V-neck to a fitted tee for a very flirty style. Simply fold the shirt in half longways, draw a diagonal line from the shoulder seam to the center front at the point where you want the V to end, and cut out this triangle of the shirt.
- If you want to get cute, you can easily cut out rectangles, hearts, or other shapes and sew lace over the cut-out for an adorable added touch of whimsy.
How Do You Cut a Shirt to Make it More Feminine?
The two main ways to cut a shirt to make it more feminine are to cut off a section of the shirt to display a section of your skin or to tighten the shirt’s shape so that it more clearly outlines your form when you wear it.
You can cut away sections of a shirt to show more of your skin in various ways. Of course, you can cut the bottom of a shirt to turn it into a crop top. This can look super feminine and also edgy and stylish! Utting a V neck into a t-shirt, adding cutouts at the shoulders or back, or inserting see-through panels of lace into the shirt can all show more skin and look very feminine.
You can alter a shirt in many different ways to give it a more feminine shape as well:
- Cut off the hem on the sleeves for boxy t-shirts. This makes the sleeves shorter and takes away the boxy look of a unisex tee.
- Add a pin-on collar to a t-shirt, or cut a wider neckline to give the shirt a more drapey look.
- The best way to tighten the midsection of a shirt is to sew curved side seams. But you can also tie a knot in the front or center back of the hem of the shirt to gather up the extra material and make the shirt appear more fitted.
How Do You Style Crop Tops?
Crop tops are so on trend right now that you can easily find ways to style them for an urban street look, a day in the classroom, or even a casual day in the office.
- Pretty much every type of crop top looks good with jeans, especially if you can pull off a nice pair of high-waisted denim jeans!
- If you want the more rugged style, try pairing jeans with a crop top and a denim jacket. To perfect the look, add sturdy boots.
- You can dress up a crop top inlets of ways, including pairing it with a long leather jacket and heels. Or try pairing a peasant-blouse style corp top with lacy pants for a fun party fashion.
- Depending on the vibe at your workplace, you can even wear a crop top with a suit! Try pairing a lacy crop top with slacks and a matching blazer. Wear heels and some statement jewelry to pull off the style!
Crop tops pack a lot of style for such a short, small article of clothing because you can wear these shortened shirts to display part of your midriff and highlight the beauty of your body. Crop tops come in many different styles, ranging from tight-fitting tubes to baggy off-the-shoulder tees to ruched or twisted tanks. Plus, you can easily cut many different styles of shirts into a crop top by using simple DIY techniques.
One of the most popular ways to cut a shirt into a crop top is to cut off the bottom hem of a baggy t-shirt. You can also cut and re-hem a blouse, creating two ties to knot at the front of the shirt. For an emergency crop-top hack, you can twist a tank top into a crop top or fold up any shirt to tuck into the back of a bra strap.