You can easily create your own distressed crop top, at home, with supplies you already have. No need to spend a fortune on new summer tees.
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Holy moly, this summer is flying by and it’s practically time for scarves and Hunter boots.
But, I couldn’t let this summer slip away without sharing a favorite fashion DIY, the distressed crop top.
Earlier this year, I wrote a Reverse Tie-Dye with Bleach DIY and it was a huge hit. So, I wanted to be sure to add in another DIY fashion favorite.
If you are like me, you have a lot of old tee shirts in your closet. I’ve worked in the service industry for years and have acquired a large amount of liquor tee shirts. Like, enough that I wouldn’t need to buy shirts for a year.
Any tee shirt will do, but I recommend either using a plain tee or something with the graphic on the chest. You don’t want to be cutting off a large portion of the graphic on your tee.
For supplies, all you need for this DIY distressed crop top is:
- Slightly loose tee
- Box cutter
- Paint Brush
- Rubber gloves (optional)
- Cardboard Box
If you enjoy making your own fashion pieces, I highly recommend getting a good pair of fabric scissors and a cutting mat.
DIY Fashion: Distressed Crop Tee
Step 1: Determine Length and Cut
First, you are going to want to get a rough idea of how long you want your crop top to be. We will be adding a fringe to the bottom portion so keep that in mind as well.
To do this, I like to put the shirt on and mark the spot I want to cut on both sides with a washable marker.
For mine, I like to cut my shirt right about where my pants hit– assuming I’m wearing mid-rise jeans.
This allows enough length to create a fringe. However, you can go shorter if you want more crop.
I like to use a pair of good scissors to make the cut. Lay the shirt out flat and then making small cuts, cut a straight line where you decided the bottom would be.
Step 2: Bleach Splatter
*This step is messy. Either wear clothes you don’t care about or create a clothing shield by cutting arm and head holes in a large garbage bag.
Next, grab your paint brush, bleach, and tee shirt and head to the garage or outside. As I mentioned, this gets a little messy.
You might want to put on a pair of rubber gloves for this part since you will be touching bleach.
Lay your tee shirt out flat. You are going to be splattering bleach, so be sure that there is nothing around that could potentially get ruined.
Now, dip your paint brush into the bleach. Immediately take it out and hold the paintbrush at a 45º angle to the ground above the tee shirt.
Using your index finger, pull the bristles of the brush back towards you and release to splatter the bleach on the tee.
You will likely have to repeat this a few times until you are happy with the amount of splatter.
You can also bring the brush closer to the tee to get larger splatter drops.
When you have finished with one side, flip the tee over and repeat.
Allow the shirt to dry for 15-20 minutes before bringing it back inside to finish the DIY distressed crop top.
Step 3: Cut Fringe
To cut your fringe, you will want to decide how far up you want your fringe to go. Again, the easiest way is to put the shirt on and make a marking on each side of the tee where you want the fringe to extend to.
You can use a washable marker to draw a line all the way across the tee.
After you have made your marks, lay it flat on a hard surface or on top of a flattened cardboard box. If your bleach is still damp, be sure to use the box or another barrier to prevent transfer.
Now, make sure the side seams are lined up. Then grab the shirt so you have the front and back together.
Make a vertical cut up to your marked line. Make each strip of fringe about 1/2″ wide.
When you have reached the other side, open up the two side seam pieces of fringe and cut them right along the seam, otherwise you will end up with thick, unsightly pieces of fringe at your side.
Step 4: Final Distressing
Finally, you are going to add some final distressing to finish up your DIY distressed crop top. You can get creative and do as much or a little as you want with this step.
To create little holes in tee, put a flat piece of cardboard or flattened box inside the shirt. Then, using your box cutter blade, make small horizontal slits in the upper shoulder, middle chest, sleeves, etc. Flip it over and repeat on the back.
You can also add a small triangular cut out below the collar, or use your blade to rough up the collar and add some distressing there.
I chose to cut my sleeves a little shorter and add some distressing there because I wanted a more feminine sleeve cut.
You could take the further steps to reverse tie-dye and add color to your tee with this post on How to Reverse-Tie Dye.
After you’re happy with the look of your tee, be sure to wash and dry it to do get the bleach out. With the fringe, I recommend using a delicates bag so they don’t get tangled or stretched out in the washer.