Embellishment: Crochet Trim


Greetings, Refashioners! Long time no see. I have a few posts to share that I’m finally getting around to, starting with several on the theme of embellishment. This one is from earlier this year.

I was heading out on a holiday-season holiday to a hot place, but digging out my summer wardrobe in winter felt a bit strange. To spruce it up a bit, I wanted to add an off-the-shoulder top of the type that was really fashionable this summer. You know the ones. They were everywhere! This is a very straightforward idea that I’ve been thinking about for a while. If you’ve got an old summer shirt in your wardrobe that could do with a bit of TLC, this could be just the ticket.

I started with an old shirt belonging to Mr CSC (with his permission, of course!).


I cut the shirt into sections as you can see in the picture below. I cut the sleeves from the body, leaving the flat felled portion on the shirt. I also cut across the chest below the yoke.


I dissected the sleeves, removing the cuffs.


I wanted two rectangles from each, as big as possible. Here’s what I ended up with (I had to unpick the placket to get the most material out of it).


I finished the top edge of the body, sewing the button plackets together along the top edge. The button placket will become the centre back of the new top.

I didn’t finish the armholes as they were fairly secure and won’t be seen in the final blouse. I know, I’m lazy! I could have removed the remains of the seam and zig zagged it or something.


From the sleeve-rectangles, I made a tube, again finishing the edges with a zig zag stitch. I made sure to make it symmetrical.


I pinned the right side of the tube to the right side of the shirt and sewed it on.

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Here’s how it looks flipped over to the right side.

I folded down the top edge of the ‘sleeves’ by the same amount to make a small hem at the top edge.


Then I added the elastic. I cut a long-ish piece, after measuring it around my shoulders to get the right length. You’ll want to stretch it a bit while you do this, especially if (like mine) your shirt material is relatively heavy, or it won’t stay up when worn.

On the body section, I sewed a seam about a centimetre from the top edge to make a channel and fed the elastic through. Then I joined the two ends of the elastic. I pinned opposite ends of the loop to the outermost shoulder points and then pinned it at the junction of the ‘sleeve’ and the body, allowing a reasonable amount of stretch (so there was more material than elastic). The elastic runs inside the folded over hem. To finish it, I zig zagged over while stretching it, and I think it looks about right.


To finish the free edge of the ruffle I made a crochet trim (crochet being my new obsession).

This one is from “Edgings” Book 182, published by Clark’s Mercerised Crochet Cotton in 1942, my favourite crochet book amongst a small cache I found in a charity shop a few years back. I’ve only just begun to work through these and I sense there are many more gems in it.


Here’s my trim, a bit wonky but I am a beginner. And a gentle press worked wonders.


It was easy enough to pin on and hand sew it over the zig zagged hem edge.


Here’s how it looks on! It was a very windy day off the coast of Barbuda, but you get the idea. And it stayed ‘up’ despite the breeze.


A little blurred (I think my photographer may have been slightly drunk).


The colour of the water against the pale sand was inspiring.


I do feel a little like a pillowcase in it, but it’s great for avoiding tan lines…




  1. vintage51

    Reblogged this on vintagethrifter51.com and commented:
    Your top came out so great!! I love that you crocheted the lace trim yourself, you did an amazing job. I don’t think it looks like a pillow case, I think it is a lovely fresh summer top with that beautiful detail of the lace. Well done! Cheers, Michele

  2. Fadanista

    You are such an inspiration, although I am a little past this look! I am also learning to crochet and have been collecting vintage books, but my efforts have been very “iffy”!

    • charityshopchic

      Haha, thanks Sue, you are too kind! I must say it took me a few hours to get the hang of it. I have found that using finer yarns and smaller hooks gives me the ‘lace’ look I want.

  3. TaraLee780

    I love this one! I never would have believed such a pretty blouse could be made from an old button down! The crochet embellishment is just icing on the cake. So pretty!

  4. macstabby

    That is so clever. I wish I could wear strapless tops, but I’ve yet to find strapless bra that does try to sit around my bellybutton.

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Eimear, thanks for commenting. I found that a smaller hook and finer yarns gave me the ‘lace’ look I wanted – though the process isn’t exactly easy on the eyes.

  5. JJ

    Very cute! Just last week I cut the puffy sleeves off of the blouse of a white square dancing costume, resulting in the sister to your top! Great minds! :o)

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