How to Make a Cold Shoulder Top: Sewing Guide for Stylish Sleeves & Neckline

How to Make a Cold Shoulder Top: Sewing Guide for Stylish Sleeves & Neckline

Looking to sew a trendy cold shoulder top to add to your summer wardrobe? This easy tutorial will walk you through how to make a cold shoulder top from start to finish, including picking the right stretchy fabric, marking and cutting the bodice and sleeves, sewing the shoulder seams, hemming the edges, and closing up the side seams.

What is a cold shoulder top?

A cold shoulder top is a type of top with cutouts or openings that expose one or both shoulders. This style is considered very versatile as it can be dressed up or down for different occasions.

Cold shoulder tops are often made of lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton, linen or rayon. They have become a hugely popular and trendy style, especially for wearing in the warmer summer months.

There are many potential variations when it comes to cold shoulder tops. The neckline shape, sleeve length, and other embellishments can differ. For example, you may see a cold shoulder top with short flutter sleeves, a v-neckline, and lace trims. Or a sleeveless cold shoulder bodysuit with a round neck.

The defining feature remains the cutout shoulders, but the styling details can vary greatly. This allows you to customize your cold shoulder top to match your personal taste and body type. Ultimately though, the exposed shoulders give these tops a relaxed yet polished summertime vibe. It’s no wonder they have become a go-to summer staple and lead every list of top fashion trends!

How to Make a Cold Shoulder Top (No-Sew)

How to make a cold shoulder top relies on manipulating fabric through strategic tying, knotting or cutting to form the signature shoulder cutouts. Requiring just basic supplies like stretchy material and scissors, this beginner-friendly approach is quick, easy, and budget-friendly by upcycling old garments or scrap fabric into trendy new tossed-off-the-shoulder styles.

Making your own no-sew cold shoulder top is easy with just a few supplies:

  • Lycra fabric
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these simple steps to create the no-sew cold shoulder top:

  1. Cut your lycra fabric to the desired length for your top. A crop length of 18.5 inches works well.
  2. On the fabric, mark measurements from the top corner for the neck hole and armholes. Refer to specific measurements based on your size and preference.
  3. Connect the marks to cut out a curved neckline and round armholes on each side. Cut slowly and carefully.
  4. Try on the cold shoulder top to ensure the holes and length are positioned correctly.
  5. Your lightweight and stretchy no-sew top is ready to wear!

Styling Ideas

This easy DIY lends itself to creative styling:

  • Pair with a no-sew flared skirt or skinny jeans
  • Belt it to define your waist
  • Layer under an open kimono or blazer
  • Dress up with heels or down with flats

Have fun mixing and matching this versatile piece!

How to Make a Cold Shoulder Top (Sewn)

How to make a cold shoulder top (sewn) requires basic sewing skills but offers full customization of design elements like sleeve style, neckline, and embellishments through the wide variety of patterns available. Even beginner sewers can start with simple starter patterns to craft flattering cold shoulder tops and progressively build skills by trying more intricate styles.

Follow these steps to sew your own cold shoulder top:

Supplies Needed

  • Stretch knit fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Basic t-shirt


  1. Use a t-shirt as a pattern for cutting out the fabric
  2. Sew the shoulder and side seams with a zigzag stitch
  3. Create the cold shoulder sleeve pattern
  4. Attach the sleeves, leaving the shoulders exposed
  5. Hem the armholes and raw edges

Customization Options

Once you have the basics down, get creative with your own variations:

  • Play with different sleeve lengths
  • Make a plunging neckline or high mock neck
  • Add embellishments like shoulder ties or ruffles
  • Try extended shoulder cutouts
  • Experiment with fun fabrics and prints

Have fun designing your own signature cold shoulder top! Let your personality shine through.

How to Make a Cold Shoulder Top From a T-Shirt (DIY No Sew Top)

How to make a cold shoulder top simply starts by upcycling a basic t-shirt with no-sew techniques like cutting strategic U-necklines and then adding DIY fabric bows, knots, or fringe for embellishment. This easy, beginner-friendly craft requires minimal materials and allows for creative cutting variations to give new life to old tees.

Transform an old tee into a trendy DIY no-sew top with these tips:

Supplies Needed

  • Old t-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue


  1. Cut U-shaped shoulder seams about 3 inches from the collar
  2. Cut the excess fabric into strips
  3. Roll and glue the strips to create bow shapes
  4. Attach the bows over the shoulder seams
  5. Allow time for the fabric glue to dry

Easy Upcycled Top

And just like that, you have revived an unused tee into a cute new addition to your summer rotation! This fast and fun approach puts old clothes to good use. Experiment with different tees, or try adding knots, braids or pom poms over the open shoulders for extra flair.


Hopefully, this guide offered helpful step-by-step instructions on how to make your own chic cold shoulder top with no-sew fabric manipulation, basic sewing skills, or easy t-shirt upcycling. The exposed, summer-ready shoulders transform simple materials into on-trend styles full of creative potential. Now that you know some techniques, make it uniquely yours by playing with details like necklines, lengths, and embellishments!


1. What is the point of cold shoulder tops?

Cold shoulder tops have openings at the shoulders to show off that area. They’re made to look trendy and stylish, yet they still cover up most of your upper body.

2. Are cold shoulders out of fashion?

Cold shoulder tops are still in style, especially for warm weather. They’re popular among travelers for their playful and relaxed holiday feel. You can find some great cold shoulder tops for women in stores now.

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