Make your own (fake) crop top

I'm a firm believer in wearing just about anything that makes you feel good, but if you feel like you can't (or don't want to) pull off a crop top for whatever reason, or you just want something a little different, today I'll be teaching you how to transform a regular top pattern into one for a tuck-in crop top. I've made a couple of these fake crop tops (or "tuck-in blouse with look of short overblouse" as the original pattern described them), and I loveeee them. They're so easy to wear and offer good coverage while looking cool and, as my mom said, "neat and tidy."

Last year I happened to stumble across McCall's 4933 (available on etsy here!!) and noticed that it was not a crop top, as it seemed, but a faker posing as a crop top. I couldn't find it in my size so I did some sleuthing and the back of the pattern envelope shows that it is basically just an extra long top with a big tuck in it--I can do that! You can too! Hop on down below the cut for the full tutorial!

This tutorial should work for any woven, pullover style top--so, your Scout tee, Wiksten or Tiny Pocket tank, etc. We're going to be straightening out the side seams seams, so as long as the shoulders and bust fit you well, anything below the bust won't matter that much. You'll notice that the original pattern (McCall's 4933, I mean) has side-seam bust darts in the front and NO darts in the back, so, pretty boxy.

You can fudge this a little bit though, If you have a favorite pattern you're dying to convert. For example, I'll be using Simplicity 3480, a vintage pattern. My pattern originally had a zipper, but I I can slip it on and off without undoing the zip so it also works. Mine also had some small shaping darts in the back, which I'm just leaving off.

Step 1: Get your pattern of choice and lay it on top of your tracing paper (I usually align the CF with the edge of the paper so there's one less thing to trace). Trace your pattern from the CF neckline around to the bottom of the armscye (if you have no side dart) or the bottom of the dart (if there is one). I marked my stopping point with that little arrow.

Step 2: Align your ruler with the CF of your fabric and measure the distance between the CF and the stopping point of your tracing (either bottom of armscye or bottom of dart). Mark the other side of your ruler at the same distance (or slide your ruler down and measure and mark the same distance). Mine is 14".

Step 3: Draw a line between the two dots and keep going--this is the new edge of your pattern piece. I did say it would be boxy!!

NOTE: You can be done pattern-making now--just make the line you've just drawn about a million times longer than you think it should be and then once you have constructed your suuuuper long top, pin your tuck into place and sew it down. Your faux crop top is complete!

Step 4: Transfer the seam line of the original pattern onto my new pattern piece at CF. Ignore that mark on the original pattern piece--that's from the original owner, not me!

Step 5: Draw a line perpendicular to CF originating at the mark you just made. That will be the final length of your "crop top,"  next we'll be drawing in the tuck.

Step 6: I want my tuck to be 2" deep; I think that is aesthetically pleasing and also functional. You may want your tuck to be deeper depending on your top, keep proportion in mind. Measure up 2" from the bottom of your top, and then down the same distance. Sorry if this is a bit unclear--you will be bringing the bottom line up to meet the top line, making the middle line your faux hem, like this:

See? I hope that makes sense! I am not a pattern designer, and this is why. Ugh.

Step 7: Measure down from tuck--I have a hard time thinking about this but I think you actually want to measure down from the bottom, not where I have the top of my tuck as shown. You want about a foot, so that you get a secure tuck! Think about how much fabric you want to be able to tuck into your waistband--not just a few inches, probably. Measure straight across the bottom. When you sew your shirt, you can just serge/zig-zag/pink this edge if you want--it won't ever be seen (this top would look pretty weird untucked).

Step 8: Finally, do the same on the back! My pattern looks weird because it is supposed to have a button placket which I've never done. It also has a waist dart, which I'm omitting. I would just trace straight down the side of that zip from the bottom armscye. Match up the sides of your new pattern pieces and transfer the tuck markings from the front to the back.

As for sewing, you'll just sew up your pattern as directed, but it will be super long--then add the tuck by folding the bottom of your shirt into the top (hem through neckline, wrong sides together), pressing at the faux hem, and topstitching around in a big loop along the bottom and top lines of your tuck markings.

And you're done!

Well, actually, post it on instagram and tag me (@helloalliej) because I want to see your creations. Then you're done.

Additional options...

retain the CB seam and add a short zipper if you have a jewel neckline

alter a boxy button-down pattern (archer, anyone?) into a popover, 
then use this tutorial to lengthen and tuck it into a faux crop top

add a peter pan collar and a keyhole/slit at the front or back neckline


ps: rock it, girl. you look great. 

allie J.

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  1. Love this tutorial! Will use the beatrix tee pattern by made by Rae to try this out soon. Thanks.

    1. Ooh I think that one will be perfect! Good luck!

  2. Maybe this should be my Spring Showers project. Since I was thinking of using a cotton sateen, I was thinking I would add a lighter weight fabric to the bottom as the part to tuck in. I had gathered a few ideas.

  3. Oh that would be a good idea! I also thought about making a fully lined version--a cropped length over layer and then a longer interior layer in a lightweight fabric.

  4. This might be just what I am looking for to use up some fabric I've been thinking about for ages, I'm excited, thanks.



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