Things You'll Need
- 1 or 2 T-shirts, over-sized
- Ruler or measuring tape
- Tailor's chalk
- Dressmaker pins
A wrap top is flattering for nearly every body shape and size, so it makes a perfect gift. Just make sure you have time to make two, because you’ll want to keep a version of this fashionable T-shirt in your own closet. You can easily create a wrap-style top with minimal sewing skills and a few supplies. The unfinished edges give the ladylike design a modern feel.
Mark and Cut
Lay the T-shirt front side down. With tailor’s chalk, draw a line down the center back from neckband to hem. At the top of the shirt, along the shoulder seam, make a dot about 1 inch from the neckband on either side. Draw a 10” diagonal line from each dot to meet at the center back line. The three lines form a “Y” with a vertical line running through its center. Draw a horizontal line around the T-shirt 7 inches above the bottom.
Cut the neckband from the T-shirt in an even line close to the neckband seam. Start at the hem and cut up the center and along the diagonal lines. Cut along the horizontal line to remove 7 inches from the bottom, and save the piece you've just removed to serve as the belt.
Cut off the sleeves just inside the armhole seam. (The seam allowance should remain attached to the sleeve, not the garment.)
Fitting the Armholes
Turn the garment inside out; try on the vest. If the armholes are too large, pin them to fit under your arm.
Remove the vest. Using a whipstitch, sew a seam that gently tapers from the pinned portion under the arm to the side seam.
Trim the excess material if needed. Turn the top right side out.
Make the Ties
Cut the reserved T-shirt material in half to form two strips, each 3 1/2-inches wide. Pin each strip in half lengthwise, with right sides together. Whipstitch along the edges to form two tubes; turn the ties right side out.
Pin the open end of one tie to the left front, approximately 6 inches up from the bottom. When pinned, the left tie should extend horizontally across the left side of the garment. Pin the second tie to the right side. The right tie extends horizontally across the right side of the garment.
Try on the top, to check that the ties are at your waist. Attach the ends of the ties to the center cut line on each side with a neat whipstitch. Cut a 1 ½” vertical slit on the right side of the shirt near the side seam, approximately 6 inches from the bottom.
Put the top on. Wrap the left tie across your stomach, through the slit at the side and around your back. Wrap the right side of the shirt across your torso until it is comfortably snug.
Tie the top closed with a loopy bow. Trim the ends to make both ties the same length when closed.
Check out your design in the mirror. If the wrap top is too low-cut when tied, layer a camisole or tank top underneath. Remember to adjust the neckline depth on the next wrap top you make.
Read the directions thoroughly a few times to make sure you understand them. The back side of the T-shirt becomes the front of the wrap top. Use a T-shirt that is large enough to create depth in the wrap without being baggy. Design your wrap top using two shirts in contrasting colors; the bottom of one will make a tie for the other. Keep your cuts even; the edges show in the finished design.
- Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt; Megan Nicolay; 2006
Pamela Fay has been a business writer for more than 15 years, with work appearing in publications such as "Legal Times." She has also worked in the consulting arena since the 1990s, specializing in leadership development, human resources, change management and diversity. Fay holds an M.B.A. from Dartmouth College.