How To Crop A Shirt: How To Guide & 4 Cutting Tips!

Crop tops are having a real trending moment right now. They’re sleek, super flattering, and a great way to stay cool this summer.

If you want to give your wardrobe a bit of a refresh without spending a single penny, cutting off the bottom of an existing shirt in your closet is a great place to start. 

Altering old clothes and tee shirts may seem a little intimidating, but don’t worry – it doesn’t involve busting out your sewing kit. All your need is a pair of good scissors and a little bit of patience. 

Don’t want to cut into your clothing? We have you covered there, too!

How To Cut A Crop Top (Step By Step DIY Guide)

Before you take the scissor to your favorite shirt, I recommend experimenting on an old t-shirt that you don’t care about (such as your go-to painting t-shirt) and using that shirt as your template. 

To crop a women’s shirt, lay it on a flat surface, front of the shirt up, and use a sharp pair of scissors to snip off the bottom.

At first, I recommend cutting off a little bit at a time, trying it on to see where it lands, and making minor adjustments. You can always cut off more as needed, but you can’t replace cut fabric!

Stainless Steel Sewing Fabric Scissors
Stainless Steel Sewing Fabric Scissors


Once you have found the perfect length that you are comfortable with, use this shirt as a template. Lay your desired t-shirt on a flat surface, and lay your template on top.

When you cut, leave about an inch to a half-inch exposed in case you need to make slight alterations or contend with frayed edges (more on that later!). 

Just like that – you have a crop t-shirt! 

How to Add A Drawstring

A cinched DIY crop top is super flattering and more challenging to make at home. To add a drawstring, you first must start with an existing crop top with a bottom hem.

Place two lines on the hem where you want your drawstring to land, and add your grommets. Grommets are simple metal loops that hold the holes open and can be found at your local craft store (don’t worry – they aren’t expensive!). 

120 Sets Grommet Eyelets Tool Kit
120 Sets Grommet Eyelets Tool Kit


Next, pick a string that you want to run through your hem. You can use anything from shoestrings to elastic cables. Place a safety pin at the line’s base and slowly work it through the hem to the other side.

It’s a little time-consuming, but the final product is well worth it!

4 Cutting Hacks

1. Square Your Seams

When you lay your t-shirt down on a flat surface before cutting, make sure that all of the seams are lined evenly. The side seams should be even, and shoulder seams need to be stacked on top of each other.

If your seams aren’t lined up, your top will be uneven. 

2. Use Good Scissors

Frayed/raw edges are often the result of dull scissors. Using sharp scissors is critical if you want a clean edge that won’t fray. A rotary cutter is your best line of defense against fraying for an ideal cut.

If you don’t want to invest in a rotary cutter, make sure you grab a very sharp pair of scissors. The sharper the blade, the less likely the fabric will fray. 

3. Err On The Side Of Caution

If you cut your shirt too short, there isn’t much you can do to fix it. Before cutting your shirt, try it on first to get a general idea of where you want your cut to be.

When you decide on your cut, leave an inch or two of extra fabric at the bottom, and then try it on again. It may look perfect on the table, but it will fit differently once you try it on. 

4. Prevent Fraying

The worse thing that can happen to a new crop tee is fabric fraying. To prevent fraying, you must use sharp fabric scissors or a rotary cutter. Even with the right tools, fraying can still happen.

The best way to fight the fray is to pick up an affordable Dritz Fray Check Liquid bottle to treat the edges. 

How To Make A Crop Top Without Cutting It

Are you feeling apprehensive about taking a pair of scissors to your coveted t-shirt collection? No worries – there are a few ways to transform that baggy t into something more flattering without a single cut. 

You will only need a stretchy sports bra and a few hair ties for this look. 

1. Rolled Top. This look is super simple and only requires a sports bra. Take the bottom of your t-shirt and roll it up a few times, and then tuck it under your sports bra. This will offer an even crop, allowing you to make minor adjustments if you want it to fit tighter or loosely. 

crop top without scissors

2. Front Knot. A front knot is excellent if you want your top to fit loosely in the back and tight in the front for a more figure-flattering look.

Gather the extra fabric before you, and roll it into a tube. You can opt to tuck it under the front of your sports bra or cinch it with a hair tie for more security.

ways to tie a tee

3. Side Knots. The front knot is easy, but it often creates an uneven shape with more volume in the back that you may not like.

A side knot is an excellent option for a more even and secure fit. Gather the extra fabric on the sides, and secure them with two hair ties like you are making pigtails.

Once secured, cinch them under your sports bra, and you are ready to go!