Tutorial | Grandma’s Skirt to Blouse

Let me begin with my inspiration. While skimming vintage ads I ran across this:

Find more of the “wrapped clothing” series
in the LIFE Archives.

You Will Need:
1. Fabric (Mine measured 56×34 inches. However, you can judge this based on your size and the length you prefer. This was more than enough for the shirt and strap.)
2. Sewing Machine
3. Scissors
4. Fabric Marker or pencil
5. Something round for the neck-cutout

Here’s the skirt from my grandmother:

And here it is after I took it apart. You will notice the pocket holes. I eventually sewed them closed.

Fold your fabric in half. The open end will be the bottom of the shirt, while the closed end will be the neck area.

{Excuse my feet…hehe} This next part depends on how long you want your shirt AND how big you want your straps. I recommend each strap measuring at least 2.5 inches or more. I ended up cutting more after I sewed the first strap on. I wanted a thicker bow.

You will then hem all sides on the straps. My hem varied on each side. You basically want the straps to look nice and not frayed.

I have finished hemming at this point. Not perfect but I’m learning.

Now sew the ends of the straps together to make one long strap. You pick the ends, it doesn’t matter.

Sew strap along the base of the BACK flap. In other words, the strap should be attached to the flap that will cover your back, jack. (lol… I had to… ooooook moving on)

This is what you should have after you’ve sewn the strap on.

Go to the closed end of your fabric and at the center make a neck hole. I also wanted a deep ‘V’; you can do as much or as little as you like. You may not want you back out so only cut the top flap, etc. etc.

Cut out your design and hem the edges as so:
(Notice I added two small straps near the middle of the front flap. That is to keep the shirt in place when I put it on. You’ll see what I mean once you put yours on. You may or may not need this.

And that’s all folks!

Simple enough? Leave me some feedback!

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  • Piggy

    I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and WOW! this is nice, simple and versatile! i love your recent few DIYs including the Flipped Cream Blouse!! esp since they are all in white! <3 (too bad its hard to find a blouse with such a nice detail) keep it up and i'm excited to see more DIYs!

    • Whitney

      Hi Piggy!
      Thank you for following. I find white (or some shade of white) blouses and tops to be the most versatile garments to own. You can dress them up or down from winter to summer, for a classic fresh look.

  • Thisbe

    That’s adorable. And incredibly simple. I adore it. Any worries so far over side boob showing?

    • Whitney

      Hi. It’s funny you mentioned the boob issue. I intend to take those images down. Since the fabric was a bit heavy and stiff it fell open more than intended. Next time I will not cut the opening as wide. I’m definitely not trying to show any boob-age. Lol.

      • Rita

        It seems that on the vintage pattern the front piece had ribbons to tie in the back. That would fix the side exposure. Love this idea. Thanks

  • Emily

    So simple, yet so much style! Verreh nice. P.S. I covet your gorgeous hair.

    • Whitney

      Thank you Emily. My hair is a project in and of itself.

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  • Angela

    I love this! So simple and chic. i can’t wait to try it myself!

    • Whitney

      Thanks Angela. Please send a pic if you do attempt this one.

  • Grace

    Great tutorial, thanks!

    xx Grace

    • Whitney

      Thank you Grace.

  • Oh wow! This is so beautiful – thank you for posting the tutorial – I can’t wait to try it!!

    • Whitney

      My pleasure! Please send a pic if you do complete this one.

  • Sally

    WOW Thanks for sharing this. I want to make one!!

    • Whitney

      So glad you found me. I hope you make this. Please send a pic if you do.

  • lauren

    Bravo! Very well done…..Looks great on you too!

  • erica
    • Whitney

      Wow Erica. I’m partial to bows in the back. It’s beautiful!

  • House of pinheiro

    This is fab. I’m going to do one for sure. Thank u

  • This is gorgeous! Love the simple elegance!

    • Whitney

      Thank you Michelle. Just checked out your blog, and it is FULL of great ideas.

  • Soni

    Omg, gorgeous! I’m so glad I found your blog!

    • Whitney

      Hi Soni. So glad you found me too. Thanks for the compliment. I hope you make one. You will surely enjoy its versatility.

  • Wendie

    Hi Whitney!

    Bumped into your tutorial and LOVE it! So simple but elegant. Will try it myself some day, until then I will bookmark your page.


  • Dorothee-Maria

    Hi Whitney,

    Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial.
    I really can’t wait to try that!!
    It’s so simple, and your result is just gorgeous.

    • Dorothee-Maria

      That “?” was meant to be a heart!!!
      Because I fell in love with you a bit! ;)

      • Whitney

        Oh thank you Dorothee.

  • What an adorable top! Very chic! I just “pinned” this to my to-do list. Thanks for sharing! :)

  • MaryBridgetSews

    Awesome – love the tutorial, love the repurposing. Now to pin to my to do list this weekend.

  • Mary Allard

    This is simply amazing!! Nice lines, presentation is crisp. Thanks for sharing. I have less than an hour before work…can’t wait to get home.

  • I love the neckline on your blouse. It’s much more attractive than the Life pictured one.

  • Ana

    What an amazing project to add to my list. I need some of those for next summer. :)

    Thank you very much for sharing with us.


  • Erin

    Wow, I just found your blog and I love your style. This is a great top, easy, comfortable, and would work well in lots of different fabrics. I can’t wait to try it, thanks!

  • Kay

    I found your blog today while “scanning the WEB,” so thrilled I did. This vintage inspired refashion is so simple, stunning and quite a modern take, especially your neckline!!!! I can’t wait to try it for myself.

    • Whitney

      Thank you Kay. Send a picture if you so complete it.

  • Rae Ann

    So cute! A wrap shirt a gal with breasts can wear! Totally pinning this!

    • Whitney

      Haha! And a girl with very little. I’m glad you like it.

  • Dayna

    Im in love!! Im off to the fabric store! Thank you! I love your style. And your cute sense of humor was a delight.

  • Bronwen

    This is a fantastic tutorial, thank you so much for sharing it! Am about the get my sewing machine out :)

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  • Lilly

    Superbe!!!!! I love this one ;)
    Gonna make it ;)

    • Whitney

      Great Lilly! Send a picture if you do.

  • Meg

    I absolutely love this tutorial! I made one last night:http://megthegrand.blogspot.com/2011/11/30doc-fall-colors.html

    Your directions were a breeze, and I had a great time making this. Thanks so much for sharing with the rest of us!

    • Whitney

      Meg your version is beautiful!

  • SvGLove

    Unbelievable! I am not sure I’m capable of doing this but I’ll give a try!

    • Whitney

      Sure you can. I think you will find it rather easy.

  • Anna

    This is just so exciting a project to make because there are so many other techniques you can incorporate to make the wrap top your own. And can I just say I love what you did with the neckline? So in love with the shape.

    • Whitney

      Thank you Anna. You are correct, the possibilities with this one are vast. Please send a picture is you make this one.

  • What a great post, I’m now a follower! I can’t wait to make this! Simple sewing projects like this are so satisfying and I love the bow. A few pearl snaps or buttons on the side would take care of any possible side boob issue for sure, but then again so would a simple cami worn underneath. Great project!

    • Whitney

      Ashley! Thank you for following. I’ve just checked out your blog and you are so pretty!

  • Brandy

    This is so simple and beautiful! Thank you so much for the tutorial and I’m excited I found your blog:)

    • Whitney

      Thank you Brandy. I see from your site we have something in common: we both like late night giggles with our hubbies. So glad you found me. Cheers.

  • april

    LOVE this idea! so cool that you got inspiration from a vintage photo!

  • Christine Nichols

    Way cuter on you than when you were making it. AWESOME

  • Ellen

    I am impressed!….thank you for showing us how-to….I will try one….smiles.

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  • Amanda

    I love this! I am just learning how to sew and your blog is so amazing! Love how you go step by step and keep it simple but adorable :]

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  • Tammy Frazier

    Love this and it looks great on you!

  • Hi Whitney, your top was great! I am not used to wearing such a short blouse. Do you think it would look nice a little longer in the front?

    • Hi Jennifer. Most definitely. This project is very versatile. Just be mindful where the bow hits. You can make the top longer but still have the tie around the waist. Let me know if you have any further questions.

  • Sophie

    You did a good job! It look really good on you. I will try. Thanks!

  • Josie

    It looks amazing on you! Definitely going to give this a try tonight, so glad I found this blog :)

    • Whitney

      Thank you Josie! Make it and send a picture!

  • B.


  • Very nice. I like your version better than the vintage one though, might be something about the person rocking it ;)

    • Thank you. Just checked out your blog. I’m diggin’ the “one cool thing, one strange thing swap”!

  • Wow – you look AMAZING!

  • Love this blouse, both for the ease of sewing and style. Thanks

  • I adore this idea. So simple!

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  • I have looked at this top a million times – pinned it and it got 52 repins! – and I just can’t get over how freakin’ awesome it is. Amazing.

    • Haha. Well I hope you make this Lauren. Thank you for pinning!

      • I did make this (someone else noticed below but I don’t know who) – but I think I like yours better than mine still! In all honesty I should post updated pictures with the inner ties moved lower, because that kind of changed thee shape of the front and I’m not sure it looks as good now. http://www.laricci-smunch.blogspot.com/2012/06/vintage-wrap-top.html

        Thanks for the tutorial!!

        • I really like yours Lauren!

  • Smunch made this top! Dunno if the pingbag has hit you yet, but it’s here!.

  • Maria

    This is an amazing blouse! I have one question: how long and how wide is the finished blouse? (I know every body shape is different, i just need it as a guide!) thank you!!

    • Hi Marie. I apologize for the delay. Thank you for checking out the blog. I just measured: width 20 inches, length 20 inches. These measurements are based on the top being folded in half at the shoulder/ neck area. So the width is shoulder to shoulder and the length is top of shoulders to bottom of waist. Let me know if you have more questions.

  • Mari

    Thank you so much for posting this! I have to make one. Good job- its super cute & I love the drape you’ve got, especi

    • Mari

      Especially around the sleeves.

      • Hi Mari! Thank you for the kind words. Please send pictures. I’d love to see your finished product.

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  • I just googled for a simple pattern, and this is what i came upon. Very nice indeed.

  • withu

    wow…I really like this…so simple but so amazing. Thank you for sharing it.. :)

  • Wow. This is fabulous!!!

  • martoulette

    this looks really good. I could see it made of fluid tshirt fabric. I could also see it as a pregnant woman’s dress, with the tie beneath the belly !

  • Vik

    I hope you are still reading these comments. I just found this tutorial when I was searching for a wrap dress. Anywho…I want to make it in poly shantung to go with a skirt that I am making using the same fabric. Do you think it will hang right? Also, I couldn’t really tell from the tute but are the sides of the shirt closed or open? Is that where the inner straps come in? Would a yard of fabric be enough?

    • Vik! I hope you’re still looking to make this. Any fabric will do. I wanted a more structured look for the top hence the stiffer fabric I used. Your fabric will be more clingy which works. I would say you’ll be fine with at least 1.5 – 2 yards. About the sides, yes they are open: the front flap crosses over the back flap, thus ‘closing’ the sides. Does this make sense?

    • Vik! I hope you’re still looking to make this. Any fabric will do. I wanted a more structured look for the top hence the stiffer fabric I used. Your fabric will be more clingy which works. I would say you’ll be fine with at least 1.5 – 2 yards. About the sides, yes they are open the front flap crosses over the back flap, thus ‘closing’ the sides. Does. This make since?

  • Sarah

    I love this! I think it would work really well as a reversible top with a different colour fabric on each side too!

    • Hey Sarah! Go for it. I’d love to see the end result.

  • Emily

    I found this tutorial via pinterest and am really excited to make a bunch of these for the summer time! I pinned about a million of your other DIY projects. You have such an amazing sense of style and creativity and I thank you for sharing it with me!!!

  • Emily

    GAHHHHHH!! I totally just made two of these in less than an hour out of fabric that I loved but had no other use for………until now! Thank you so much for sharing this and the tons of other fantastic DIY projects! They are all really beautiful!

    • Wonderful!!! Send pictures, please. I’m sure they turned out lovely.

  • I love to sew and this looks super cute and easy…..I need to go dig out some material…..or an old skirt….

    • Hey Ladybug. Nice name. You should give it a try. Email if you need help.

  • Stina

    I have tried searching the Time archives for “wrap clothing” and couldn’t find anything… Can you please post a link? BTW, I love your blog!

    • Hi Stina! Thank you stopping by. There actually isn’t an original tutorial on how to do this. I simply came up with one on my own. I usually credit photos so I’m assuming this was found some obscure way. Let me look around and I’ll return with a better answer!

  • Wendy

    What a cute shirt! I have some fabric I was going to use for pillowcase dresses for my 2 daughters, ages 2 and 4. If I have enough left over, I might make this for a matching “mommy” garment.:) Thanks!

  • Michelle jadaa

    Wow!Im falling in love wit fifties….the details are so amazing.Todays clothes are so “dumbed “down.Thanks for sharing this!

  • Stephanie

    this is soooo stinking cute. what a great ideal, that you for sharing!!! i will definitely will be making a few.

  • Angela

    WOW! So easy and classy. It’s really easy to iron too. I can imagine all kinds of fabrics and contrasting straps.

  • Angela

    So simple, yet so classy! Plus it would be good for those losing weight since making it smaller would be very easy to do. MmThere are so many possibilities for the neckline like a bias binding in the same or a contrasting material combined with a scoop style opening. An entirely different look could be achieved by sewing the ties to the front then tying in the back. I think I experiment with shaping the sleeve area to make it a bit longer without adding bulk to the main part.

  • Nicole

    This is so simple and yet so ingenious!!! I will do this very soon!

  • Lynn

    Thank you so much for being so generous with your ideas. I can’t wait to make this. It is so useful to find a clear well explained design that does not require a whole load of expensive materials, a degree in sewing and a state of the art sewing machine. I am so proud of you, if I had a daughter I hope she would have your skills of invention, thrift and generosity .

  • Sharon

    I found your blog on “Pinterest” and fell in love with this top.
    I wanted to make some right away. Searched thru my stash and found several 5xl white t shirts I bought years ago. I think they would work well for this top. I’m going to give it a whirl.
    Thanks’ again for the blog and idea.

    • Hi Sharon and thank you.

  • Matilde

    You’re so great, this top is a must have! Love your calmed classy style.
    Best wishes from Madrid, Spain

  • Absolutely love this. Pulling out my machine as I am totally inspired. Going to NYC in two weeks….must make this in white and black.

  • Shirley

    Thanks for the laughs and tutorial.I’ll be following you…keep up the inspiration and good work! Such a pretty girl.

  • Jennah Sameeha

    This is simply and classy. I will be trying this today. I may not include the vee though.

  • Jennah Sameeha

    This is simple and classy. I will be trying this today. I may not include the vee though.

  • Sue V.

    I must try this. I think my daughter might like one, too.


    Absolutely adorable on you. Can’t wait to make one for myself. Great job.

  • Samara

    WOW. LOVE IT. That came out so fab in the end, i think I said “Wow” out loud.
    In white it is so striking..loving that fabric! Can I ask what it is/ where you got it?

  • Karen H.

    I love this! I just came across this on pinterest. Can not wait to try this. Yours looks great!

  • Nice! Easier and prettier than a caftan top. Also, a great way to highlight a beautiful piece a fabric. I’ll certainly make a few.

  • kate davies

    Wow! I found this via VeraVenus’s Pinterest pages and I am very impressed. It looks just great on – I was surprised the vintage skirt came out such a bright white that looks fabulous on you with our dramatic look and gorgeous hair. I had envisaged this blouse in a supple silk but you show how it is even more striking with a crisper fabric. And the square slit for the neckline is lovely too. Great work, and thank you for sharing. My website is fabrickated.com



  • amber kusuma

    awesome!! Thx for share..

  • I love this, going to try this weekend!

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