How to Make a Tube Top Out of a T-Shirt Without Sewing

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You can use scissors to help make a tube top.
Image Credit: Eugenio Marongiu/Cultura/GettyImages

There are countless creative ways to refashion a T-shirt, including many that don't involve any sewing at all. For a DIY tube top, choose a loosely fitting T-shirt and a design featuring ties down both sides. With little more than a ruler, marker and pair of scissors, you can transform a baggy T-shirt into a tight-fitting tube top with a stylish design. The project is quick, easy and fun, and because T-shirt fabric doesn't unravel, you achieve a finished look with no need for a needle and thread.

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DIY Tube Top Tools

No sewing supplies are needed to make a tube top out of a T-shirt, but you do need a pair of sharp scissors, ideally fabric scissors. You also need a ruler and something for marking the shirt, preferably a fabric pencil or disappearing fabric marker, but any washable marker will work. Find a large, flat surface on which to work, such as a table.

Prepare the T-shirt

Start with a baggy T-shirt that's clean and dry. Put on the shirt and stand in front of a full-length mirror.

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Pinch together the two layers of fabric at the sides of the shirt so that it fits tightly around your body. On one side, use the marker to draw a rough vertical line where the front and back layers meet at your sides. The line should mark where the side seam would be if the shirt fit you tightly.

Remove the shirt, transfer it to your work surface and if necessary, iron it to get out any wrinkles. Arrange the shirt so that the seams and hems lie straight.

Mark the Top and Ties

With a ruler and marker, draw a neater straight line along the roughly marked vertical line you drew on one side of the shirt parallel to the shirt's original side seam. Measure and draw an identical vertical line on the other side of the shirt at an equal distance from the original side seam. Now, draw a horizontal line from armpit to armpit across the front of the shirt.

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Starting at the chest-level horizontal line and finishing at the bottom hem, draw a series of horizontal lines connecting the original side seams to the vertical lines. Space these lines 1.5 inches apart. These lines mark the side ties for your DIY tube top.

Cut the Top and Ties

With scissors, cut along the horizontal line you marked from armpit to armpit, cutting through the front and back layers of fabric at the same time. This removes the arms and neckline from the original shirt, leaving you with a rectangular fabric tube.

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Cut away the side seam allowances – the stitched part of the side seams of the original shirt. Cut vertically up the side seams, close to the stitching on the front layer of the shirt, and then again on the back layer of the shirt to cut away the seam allowances. This will leave you with two separate rectangles of fabric, one on top of the other.

Reposition the layers of fabric so the edges are neatly aligned. Next, cut along the horizontal lines marked for the ties, cutting through both layers of fabric at the same time and stopping at the vertical line. This creates a series of matching front and back ties along both sides of the tube top.

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Tie the Tube Top Together

Double-knot together the matching front and back ties along each side of the tube top. You can do this either on or off the body. After trying on the tube top, you might want to make some modifications, such as making the ties longer or shorter. You could also trim a few inches off the top to shorten its length.

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