The Luxe List

5 September 2014

5 Handmade DIY Tops

My Nana will always be one of the most stylish women I ever meet. Coming from a background before fashion was disposable, her wardrobe when she was in her twenties consisted of beautiful hand-crafted pieces from fabrics we would otherwise throw out. I remember her flicking fondly through old photo albums, telling me about her times of poverty in world war two stricken Germany. 'I made that coat from an old feed bag', she would say pointing to a picture of her in a beautiful piece of clothing. She made clothes from anything and everything, nothing was ever wasted. 

I try to carry on this through my own handmade pieces, most of which are made from unwanted clothes or fabric scraps. As well as having a piece that no one else has (cos we've all had that moment when everyone has that certain Topshop number), it's cool to wear something that has it's own personal story that you yourself have crafted. It's like being an author of garments, well, almost!

Today marks the start of New York Fashion Week, where the worlds most influential designers will showcase their pieces for Spring/Summer 2015. With all this creativity in the fashion air, I thought I'd share some of my own designs, as well as instructions so you can get crafty too!

They are definitely not Prada, but they look ok, as long as you don't turn them inside out!

1. Cut out crop top
Cut out crop tops were THE item to have this year. I thought I'd be different and so I made my own.

Made from: An old jumper
How I did it:
  1. Cut the sleeves off the old jumper, circling inwards to create a cool neckline.
  2. Put the jumper on inside out and pinned in two diagonal lines from where the shoulders used to be and pinned so it fitted snuggly. I also repeated this on the back of the jumper.
  3. Cropped the jumper to a suitable length, leaving 1/2 an inch hem allowance.
  4. Cut out a triangle (leaving a cm hem allowance).
  5. Sewed along the pins and hemmed.

 2. Triangle Halter Neck
This stemmed from a piece of fabric I sat and fiddled with until it looked good. The fabric was from a dress I bought on holiday but no longer liked the style of, but I still loved the fabric.

Made from: Fabric off an old dress I bought a few years ago from a Greek market.
 How I did it:
  1. Ok, I'm not gonna lie, I really winged this one! I made it up as I went along.
  2. Create the body part using a rectangle of fabric, measure to the body.
  3. Cut out a deep triangle to create an oriental effect.
  4. The 'sleeves' are made from two strips of fabric sewn across each other at a 45 degree angle to create a triangle cut out.

 3. The tasseled top
I made this when fringes were having a moment! It's great for the beach to throw on over a bikini. AND fringes are gonna be HUUUGE next summer- Nicholas K's collection at New York Fashion Week today had dresses with tasseled ponytails hanging at the waist.

Made from: My boyfriends old t-shirt
How I did it:
This is really easy to make! I actually posted a tutorial ages ago (here) with a step to step guide.

 4. Off the shoulder top
I love the off the shoulder look, but I couldn't find a top ANYWHERE in shops, so, I made my own, as you do...

Made from: Remnants of a wedding dress I customized (you can see the dress here)
How I did it: 
  1. I used a large rectangle of fabric for the body. I sewed this to fit down one side.
  2. Cut rectangles for the sleeve and sewed elastic on the top hem of each.
  3. Sew the sleeves to the body.
  4. I created the second layer by sewing two small rectangles along the top hem of the body of the top.
  5. Hem everything.
There's a really good Youtube tutorial for this one:

5. Tie Dye Top
 I made this when tie dye was having a real moment. I used to sell these at the markets on the Cairns esplenade.

Made from: Two lace crop tops
How I did it:
  1. Tie dyed two crop tops using elastic bands to create stripes.
  2. Cut the sleeves off one crop top and sewed it underneath the other, creating a double-layered top.
Get those needles at the ready!!

P.S. If you've created any of these yourself, I would love a link to a picture!!!


  1. I am overwhelmingly impressed with your prowess! I love that there is history behind the clothes and I agree we all seem to wear the same clothes so it's refreshing to see a post like yours. I especially like your red and white striped top :)

    1. Thanks Alina :) I like to keep my posts and fashion a little bit different sometimes. Thanks, it came from the ugliest jumper :P xxxx

  2. The grey one with the fringe is my favorite. I use to love making my own clothes when I was younger.

    Maggie A

    1. You should make some more stuff now :) xxx


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