DIY Reformation Inspired Shirred Top // MAKE THRIFT BUY #68

(upbeat funky music) – There is a trend currently blowing up in the fashion world, the fashion world obviously
being Fashionalia, a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri A, and that trend is shirring! Brands such as Reformation are, I believe, the ones that kicked off this trend… I mean, of course after the
Squigbobgs from Fashionalia made it fashionable about
2000 light years ago – but here on Earth, some
quick Google searching has shown me that this
fashion trend is now all over. It’s all over huge
fashion houses like Asos and Urban Outfitters, Boohoo, along with other cheap,
exploitative fast fashion brands that I don’t like to mention
here on this channel. Luckily, it is a really easy
top to either make from scratch or upcycle for ourselves,
so let’s get started. So this is the thrifted top that I’m going to be flipping into this new style. Oh whoops, I wore shorts that have the exact same blue gingham
pattern on them as the top. How did I not realize that before? That’s super confusing, I apologize. Anyway, this top that
I thrifted for 300 yen is last season’s old,
oversized off-shoulder top. At least, I think it was
originally an off-shoulder top, but I guess it could
also be worn like this. I’m not entirely sure, but it actually had some
shirring of it’s own on it, just not in the spot we want. Anyway, what’s important about this is that it’s oversized for my body, meaning that we have a good amount of fabric to work with here. If I were to guess, I would say the bust measurement of
this shirt would probably be about 1.5 times my bust measurement. We need extra fabric for shirring, so having about this amount extra is good. The first thing I’m gonna
do is remove the arms, except, instead of just
quickly cutting them off, I’m gonna take my time and use
a seam ripper, AKA unpicker, to unpick the stitches
holding the sleeve together to the bodice. That way I’ll get a much nicer, cleaner… (shirt rips) Oops. Okay, turns out I don’t have
the patience for unpicking. Scissors it is! So I cut off the two
sleeves along the seam line and I put them aside for the moment. We’ll need them later, but not right now. Now what I’m gonna do is turn
what’s remaining of the top into essentially one
long rectangle of fabric. To do that, I’m cutting
off the top part here that curves inwards on
the front and the back and then, flipping the fabric to its side, I’m gonna cut straight
down this side seam here to open up the loop of fabric. (upbeat funky music) And then finally, I’m going
to cut off this curved edge down the bottom. Now I have a long piece of fabric that’s approximately 1.5
times my bust measurement. Wait, hang on. I really have to change out of these matching blue gingham shorts, or this is gonna get super confusing. Now I have a long piece of fabric that’s approximately 1.5
times my bust measurement when I wrap it around myself like this. Now, we essentially
have a fabric rectangle, but it’s not an exact rectangle because it actually curves a little. Due to how the original top was sewn, it has a little bit more
fabric up top for the bust, but I’m going to work with this, and just make sure that I keep the part with the extra fabric up the top, because my bust measurement
is bigger than my waist. Anyway, you can just make this top with a regular rectangle of fabric that’s approximately 1.5
times your bust measurement and whatever length you want, plus two inches for hemming allowance, but I’m gonna try and work
with this wonky rectangle. Next, over at my sewing machine, I’m going to sew a double-hem
on both the long edges at the top and the
bottom of the rectangle. To do a double hem along a
straight raw edge of fabric, fold it over once, iron,
then fold it again, iron, and then sew across like this. Both times I folded the hem over, I folded it about half an inch. So, after doing that, here’s
my super long, wonky rectangle. Next, we are going to shirr this rectangle to make the shirred bodice piece. Now, I just uploaded a
companion video to this one called “How To Shirr”, so if you don’t know how to shirr fabric, give that a watch first. Click the I or find the
link in the description box. Watched it? Great. Now that we all know how to shirr fabric, what I’m gonna do is shirr
this rectangle piece like this in rows spaced about half an inch apart, which I actually measured on my fabric to be about five squares of gingham using the gingham as the
fabric zone, inbuilt ruler. I don’t have to draw lines on my fabric. So with elastic wound in my
bobbin, I started shirring away. This took about an hour or
so, and once I got half-way, the now-elasticated fabric
became quite strong, and had a lot of tension
when trying to pull it flat, so I actually had to use both of my hands to pull the fabric flat while I went. This was a little bit difficult. Word from the wise, make
sure to give your hands and wrists occasional
breaks while doing this, or you could seriously get
a repetitive strain injury. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Side note, while shirring, I didn’t shirr right up
to the edges of my fabric. Once I was about half an inch away from the edge of the fabric, I turned around to start the new line. This just makes it
easier to sew the seams, when we eventually sew it into a tube, because it’ll mean the fabric will be a bit flatter at the ends. And, an hour later, I am
finally done shirring! So now I’ve got this
newly stretchy fabric, which is what shirring does. Pretty cool, right? Next, I gave the fabric an iron. Now, a lot of sites I
looked at regarding shirring said don’t put your iron
directly onto the fabric, just hold it above the
fabric and steam it, but it was totally fine when I ironed the shirred
fabric normally touching it, also using a lot of steam. Then, I folded this piece of fabric right sides together in half like this, and clipped the raw ends into place. Next, I’m going to sew down
here with a straight stitch to turn this into a shirred tube! (upbeat funky music) Then, I changed presser
feet on my sewing machine from a regular foot to
an over locking foot and went over the raw edges
of the seam using that, which I did so that the fabric
at the seams wouldn’t fray. However, you can finish the seam using whatever seam
finishing method you want. This is what my seam looked like after using my over locking foot on it, and that’s the bodice done. Now, back to the sleeves! So here’s the plan; I am going to elasticize
the top of the sleeves, and then attach them to the bodice. Because of the shape of
the tops of the sleeves, when worn on the body, by doing this, I should get a square
neckline, fingers crossed. First, I’m going to make
both sleeves the same length, shortening them slightly. This is because the original top had a bit of shirring around its neckline which extended onto the sleeves, so I’m going to get rid of that. With the sleeve folded like this and with the tip of the shoulder up here and sleeve’s seam down here, I angled a ruler on top of the sleeve, kinda trying to get it the same angle as the original top edge of the sleeve. Then I cut this part off
with my rotary cutter which had become rather blunt, which is why I’m going back
and forth on the fabric here like it’s a really thick pizza. This isn’t how you’re
meant to use these things, I just forgot to bring any more fresh blades with me to Tokyo. By the way, I’ll be
repeating all these steps on the other sleeve identically, so that I end up with
two matching sleeves, so just remember you gotta repeat all this on the other sleeve. Anyway, because of the angle of my cut, the very top of the sleeve ended
up a little bit too pointy, so I’m also just gonna round that out with my rotary cutter as well. Next, I am going to
over lock the raw edges of each sleeve all the
way around their openings. Because I didn’t have an
over locker with me in Tokyo, this over locking foot was really useful. If you don’t have an
over locker, AKA serger, or an over locking foot, then you can use a short zigzag
stitch over the raw edges. That will also prevent fraying, or you can go around the
edges with pinking shears. Then I turned this sleeve
the right way around. The next thing I’m gonna do
is create a casing for elastic that’ll go around the
very top of the sleeve. So, this is my elastic, it’s
about half an inch wide. I need to make sure the casing will be a little bit
wider than the elastic, so that the elastic will slide
through the casing nicely. Important to note, the
casing needs a small gap of about two inches to allow the elastic to be inserted into it, so don’t sew all the way around. To make the casing, I folded
the edge of the fabric inside the sleeve a little bit more than the width of the elastic, kind of like I’m doing a hem, and then I carefully sewed it into place, with my needle going through
the fabric just on its edge because we want to leave
plenty of room for the elastic. Now, because the edge of
this fabric is curved, this is a little bit tricky. You do actually have to fold the fabric, kind of pleating it with your hand, just before it goes
under the presser foot, in a lot of places, to keep the casing even
all the way around. Mine ended up looking something
like this when I was done. See the pleats here around
the top edge of the sleeve? The elastic will easily
be able to get through, as long as the casing is
wide enough all around, so the pleats are not a concern. And you won’t be able to see the pleats once the elastic is inside it
as it’ll bunch it up anyway. Next, I put a safety pin
through the end of my elastic. I haven’t cut any of the
elastic to the right length yet, that’ll come later. For now, the rest of the
elastic is still attached. Holding onto the safety pin, I used it to thread the
elastic through the casing, going through the small gap first. I pulled through a kind of random amount, then I tried it on, inside
out, on my shoulder like this. To get the elastic the right length, I pulled the elastic ends until it felt comfortable around my arm. Make sure not to pull it
or secure it too tightly as you might cut off your
circulation if you do that. Make sure that the elastic is tight enough so the sleeve will stay on your shoulder, but also that it has enough ease to be able to lift it off like this. When the elastic was at the right length, I put the safety pin
through both elastic ends to hold this length in place, and then I cut the excess elastic off. Then I sewed the two
ends of elastic together, making sure they weren’t twisted inside the sleeve casing first. I attached the elastic ends by going over them with a zigzag stitch, forwards and backwards a couple of times. (upbeat funky music) I pulled the elastic back into the sleeve and then sewed the casing closed, using a straight stitch over the gap. Turning it right sides out, this sleeve is now ready to
be attached to the bodice. I repeated this for the other sleeve. Now let’s go and find the bodice. So here I’ve already attached first sleeve to the bodice as you can see, because I wanted to make
sure that I’d do it right! Looks pretty good! Now I’ll show you how to attach a sleeve by attaching the other one. Okay, the sleeve from the original top has a seam running down it. That seam, like most sleeve
seams you’ll encounter is placed along the center
bottom of the sleeve. I matched up this sleeve seam
with the seam on the bodice, which is where I sewed
the bodice up into a tube. The other sleeve gets attached directly opposite to the seam. So what I’m going to do, changing camera angles here
to make it easier to see, is line up the two seams, so that the sleeve seam is
on top of the bodice one, right-sides together. The sleeve, at the point of its seam is going to get attached
about two inches down from the top edge of the bodice. So, I’m just going to pin that in place, with the pin holding
the two pieces together at their matching seams. Then I gently stretched the
other side of the sleeve, until it lay flat, and pinned it here, onto the bodice, on the bodice’s top edge. Then I did the same for the other side, pulling it flat and pinning
it onto the top edge, the same distance, so that
it’s pinned on symmetrically. The distance that I pinned
them is just eye-balled, but once it’s pinned in place, you can see pretty much how
it’ll look once sewn on, and that looks good! Time to sew the sleeve in place. To sew it on, I used a straight stitch and carefully sewed along
the top edge of the sleeve, sewing over the elastic
in the casing underneath. (upbeat funky music) I then tried it on to
make sure that it fit, and that I didn’t need
to open up the casing and add or subtract any elastic, which is actually something I had to do for the first sleeve,
but this one is perfect! Happy dance time! So last thing to do, I just want to cut off
that excess bit of fabric from the seam there, which I did just with a regular
pair of fabric scissors. (upbeat funky music) And then I went over this cut raw edge with my over locking foot. (upbeat funky music) And I am done! Now it’s time to see the results! How did it turn out? (calm funky music) Well dang, that turned out really well! Here’s the before and
after of this up-cycle. I just really, really
like how this turned out and I’m obsessed with shirring now. I want to shirr all the things. Shirring is a really good
way to make fitted clothing without needing exact
measurements which I’m all for, because accurate darts and
super precise measuring still scares me a little bit. (scissors snip, zipper zips) Also, if you wanted to know how to make these sleeves from scratch, I’m actually working on a
from scratch dress right now out of this old bed sheet, and I want to create the same
style of neckline and sleeves that I did for the blue top but with making a pattern from scratch, so keep an eye out for
that video which will, fingers crossed, go live
sometime next month. Thank you all so much for watching, make sure to give this video a thumbs up so that YouTube algorithm
actually shows this video to the subscribers of this channel. Stay crafty and I’ll
see you all next time. Bye. Thank you so much to the
600 Patreon supporters, the superhuman producers
and the small brands who are all a huge reason
that I can make these videos available to hundreds of
thousands of you for free! If you’ve learned lots from my videos or if it’s just the kind of stuff you want to see more of in the world, then vote with your dollars and consider supporting me on as a member, or for a one off contribution go to Your support means the world.


  1. Wow I sure wish I knew how to SHIRR!
    Well lucky you – I released a tutorial on it 2 days ago! Check it out here:

  2. Love it! Great work, I always love your projects 👍 an overlock machine is not the same as a serger tho.

  3. Help! I've got 2m of Harry Potter flannelette material and need inspiration. I was thinking maybe pj pants? But it's been almost a decade since I made pants.

  4. love that annika and coolirpa both posted shirring videos within like the same week, now i just gotta wait for a bestdressed shirring video and the trio of sewing youtubers i watch will all match!

  5. This is fabulous! I laughed so hard about your seam ripping! I hate seam ripping so much and I have zero patience for it too. LOL! The top turned out amazing!

  6. aghhh, I always loved shirring!!! My older sister had a BEAUTIFUL beige shirred top with blue flowers, (in this exact model you're making, actually!) when she was a teenager and I was a wee kid, and I wanted it SO BADLY. Now as an adult with big boobs I really appreciate shirring because the elastic allows me more freedom and comfort in the bust area, instead of having to squeeze all the boob into a woven prison 😀

  7. This shirt is so so elegant and sexy and might be the final push i need to actually try to sew something for myself. Thanks, Annika!

  8. Awesome I have always wanted to try shirring but wasn’t sure how. You made it so easy ! I will try it thanks also thanks for talking about the invisible illnesses I was an emergency room nurse for 20 years. I was left with Rheumatoid Arthritis and PTSD and I am afraid if I show it people will feel sorry for me. I don’t want pity I would like help. Thank for being an advocate take care of your self.

  9. I think I’m going to try this and make a cut top! Wish me luck! Please make a video soon on how to do it from fabric not a top, I got this adorable few yards of fabric from a yard sale and want to make this exact top!!

  10. That's beautiful! I want to ask though if a loose zig-zag stitch would be better for attaching the sleeves as it would allow more give in the seam? I watched your shirring Tut and now I'm going to have to try this!

  11. Hey 💞Could you do this hoodie?i've been obsessed with this style for so long and i wanted to try and make it

  12. Awesome!! 😍 I have to try this!

    For your next video, could you please DIY the Venus Jeans by Revice Denim (aka. the Kendall Jenner Star butt jeans)? Pleaseee, I am dying to know how to make them!! 🤩😄

  13. That my dear, is so darn cute! And btw… loving your hair and you are looking so well, Japan obviously suits you! Xx

  14. please do a video on this. It's so pretty

  15. since you've done the weird denim before, i gotta ask if you've seen the upside down shorts? they aren't super new but i only first saw them today lol

  16. I'm amazed at the result, I didn't expect it to look that good before I saw you wear it. I also think this top compliments your body really well. I love the open back!

  17. Wait … i had a white plaid dress when i was young that had shirring on the top and was flowy on the bottom but the fabric was like bed sheet fabric … unfortunately my mum left it in the sun for too long and got yellow … anyway does anyone think i can make another one out of bedsheets ?

  18. Not your typical thrift flip ❤ im inlooovee *new subscribeerr heree the top looks like the one I bought for almost $80… now I need to learn how to sew 😭❤❤

  19. I'm excited for the shirred dress video!! I was just thinking throughout the video that it would be fun to try and make a dress with the same style bodice :0

  20. So cute! I want to make my daughters dresses like this! (I have 3 girls, 9,4,3 years old) you explained this so well, I just need to borrow a sewing machine, and find some donor clothes from a charity shop (uks version of goodwill/thrifting) xox

  21. Yay! This video was put out on my birthday! I feel like shirring was quite popular in the early 2000s, I definitely had a few items from then with a similar look.

  22. Tight clothes are for the chosen few. They reveal everything. They do not allow for any fluctuations in weight, which typically occurs monthly as well as with age. Loose-fitting clothes are more sustainable and practical, because they can remain as part of your wardrobe for a longer period of time. Saves money in the long run.

  23. You sure make it look simple 🙂 it came out very cute! I want to see that cute skirt or is it shorts with pockets you're wearing? I'd love it if you can copy and make that in to a sewing tutorial 🙂 thanks so much for your videos

  24. omg this is too beautiful! i want to make one but i didnt brought my sewing machine with meand even if i had i suck at sewing D:

  25. New here. I wanted to look at a lot of you tubers, see which ones I would sub to. Started watching you, one of the first things you said was, oh and some non important brand that you wouldnt even mention . Really, wow! Unsubbed real quick

  26. Annika should change her catch phrase "stay salty" instead of 'stay crafty', because she keeps getting saltier lol

  27. Hey maybe just buy fabric (also sold at thrift shops) instead of clothing meant for bigger people since bigger people have 1/4 of the selection straight sizes do

  28. I love sewing but wow the amount of effort put into this top, I'd just rather spend 30 dollars and buy one of these milkmaid tops. I loved the detailed video though

  29. I love this One!!! You are such an AWESOME LITTLE SEEMSTRESS!!! I really love all of the upcycling ideas that You do!!!!
    YOU ROCK, GIRL!!! Thank You for sharing Your talents with Us!

  30. Me: a 19th century amateur seamstress who can barely use her machine

    Also me: watches tutorial about how to sew what seems like a fairly difficult machine technique

  31. I love your videos and you-but light years is a measure of distance (how far light travels in a year) not a measure of time

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