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Tutorial Tuesday: Cut out shoulders top

October 20, 2009

The inspiration:

Urban Outfitters often has great inspiration for DIY projects, and since they’re a giant corporation I don’t feel bad at all appropriating their ideas for my own use. This Hawks by Geren Ford open shoulder tee was my starting point for this week’s project. Here are a couple more photos for reference:

Leather (or vinyl scraps or ribbon)
Studs (or rivets or snaps)
Chalk or fabric pencil/pen
Sewing machine


1. My shirt, a $1.63 thriftstore special, had a crewneck, but I wanted a scoopneck, so the first thing I did was cut a new neckline. Turn your shirt inside-out, measure and mark your new neckline, and cut it out. Be sure to include a seam allowance for hemming.

2. Pin together the front and back layers around the armhole seam. From the top of the shoulder on the arm seam, measure down 4 inches and cut a slit. Since my sleeves were longer than I liked, I also shortened them by about 2 inches each.

3. Hem everything you just cut. I double-stitched my hems and trimmed close to the second set of stitches.

4. Cut two strips of leather 3/4 by 7 inches. Or you could use ribbon or vinyl or even another fabric entirely. It’s up to you.

5. Instead of pins, I always use bulldog clips to hold leather or vinyl pieces in place. That way there are no pinholes to worry about. Clip your strips onto your shirt and sew down the strip along the part of the shoulder seam closest to the neck. Leave the other half free.

6. Try on the shirt and decide how big you want your shoulder opening to be. I made mine 1.5 inches wide. Mark on the leather strip and the shirt where you’ll put your snap or rivet and clip the strip to the sleeve.

7. If you want to be able to detach the strip holding the sleeve up, put in a snap, otherwise use a rivet or stud or even just sew down your leather strip. I used a round stud, but I probably would’ve used a snap if I’d had some on hand.


Oops…that spot on the bottom of the shirt is just water. Later this week I’ll take a photo of the shirt on, but I had a deadline to meet for Tutorial Tuesday :-)

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