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How to up-cycle a long sleeved t-shirt into a pretty summer top with a little bit of crochet

Updated on April 12, 2015
How to up-cycle your winter long-sleeved tops into pretty summer tops with a little bit of crochet
How to up-cycle your winter long-sleeved tops into pretty summer tops with a little bit of crochet

As the weather is beginning to warm up you might be thinking of buying new summer tops for your wardrobe, but with a little time and craft-y know how you could up-cycle your winter long-sleeved t-shirts into pretty summer tops. Not only is up-cycling good for the environment as you are turning clothes you no longer want into something new, you can save yourself some cash too!

You will need:

To make this sleeveless summer top I used:

One old long sleeved t-shirt, the sort you can buy in Primark or JC Penneys made from t-shirt jersey fabric - one that is fairly snug around the bust will work best.

Sharp scissors

One ball of yarn - I have used some which was left over from another project, it is DK weight, but most yarn could work for this project.

3mm Crochet needle

Darning needle

Sewing machine and cotton

How to crochet the square neckline embellishment

First I crocheted 8 small squares with a flower center using the pattern which can be found below. This small square is a small section of another top which I found on Pinterest (link below).

If you are unable to follow the diagram you can alternatively crochet a series of small granny squares which are easier to crochet but will yield a similar result.

To work out how many squares you need, crochet one, measure the width of it, then measure across your bust from just under the armpit to the same point on the other side. Take that measurement and divide it by the width of the square to determine how many square you need to crochet. My squares are 5cm wide, and like I say I needed 8 and I am a UK size 8.

If the old top you are up-cycling doesn't fit snugly, you might want to measure across the bust of the top rather than yourself to ensure that your embellishment and the top will sew together nicely without any bunching up.

This is part of a larger design - I only crocheted the design that is within the red square
This is part of a larger design - I only crocheted the design that is within the red square

How to crochet a granny square

Next you need to crochet the back and the straps

For the back I used a square mesh stitch - it probably has an official name, but I'm afraid I don't know it.

To begin I made a chain 30 stitches long. Then I added 5 stitches to turn and work back along.

Insert the crochet hook into the 7th chain from the hook and DC


Miss 2 stitches on the initial chain and DC into the next one

Continue until you reach the end of the initial chain

Turn work, Ch5 and DC into the first DC of the row below

Continue across, turn and repeat until your crochet mesh is long enough to go across your back.

Hint - measure it against the old top you are up-cycling, and check if it is long enough to go from side seam to side seam across the back.

When you crochet the back, you will begin at one side seam and work your way back and forth across the back to the other side seam
When you crochet the back, you will begin at one side seam and work your way back and forth across the back to the other side seam

The straps are made with the same square mesh stitch, but I started with a smaller chain.

Chain 10, add 5

Insert hook into 7th from the hook and DC.

Ch 2. Miss 2 chains on the initial chain and insert hook into the 3rd one along. DC

Continue to end

Turn work and repeat until straps are long enough to go over shoulders and join the front to the back.

Make two straps

Joining together the crochet work

Using more yarn that matches your crochet work and your darning needle sew all the squares together into a long line. This makes the front.

Then sew the back to the front at the side seams.

Then work out where you want your straps, pin them or tack them in place and sew those onto the front and back.

Tie off and sew in the ends so that they are hidden

How to up-cycle your top

1) Lay out your old long-sleeved top on the floor or suitable cutting surface. Make sure the back and front line up on the lower hem.

2) Cut across the top just below the sleeves, so that both sleeves and the neck-line are removed in one piece.

3) Pin on your piece of crochet, making sure the side seams are lined up. If you want you can run a tacking stitch around to keep the two pieces lined up

4) Using your sewing machine, sew the two pieces together. Alternatively if you do not own a sewing machine you can sew by hand using small stitches.


You could try making the back out of joined up squares too.

It doesn't just have to be a long sleeved top that you up-cycle, perhaps you have a t-shirt that could do with a bit of a re-vamp.

Try different kinds of yarn in different colours.

Out of interest...

Are you new to crochet? And if so, would you give this up-cycling project a try?

See results


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    Post Comment
    • pixierose78 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandra Rose 

      3 years ago from London

      Thank you!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I did some crocheting years ago but have not done so in decades. This is a really pretty topping for a t-shirt. Very clever idea! Up and useful votes and will pin to my crafts board.


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