Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pick Your DIY: Cross Back Shirt

A few weeks ago, I mentioned a Pick Your DIY promo that I was doing with some other fab bloggers. Tomorrow, I'll be posting all of their amazing creations (seriously, they're awesome.), but today it's time to post mine!
My most popular contribution was this cross back chiffon shirt from SOCIAL BUTTERFLY HOUSE which is no longer available.
This shirt was the bane of my existence.
I thought it was going to be a super easy project, but just in case I bought two shirts, one to practice on and one for the final piece.
Um. Good thing. I made *so many* mistakes on the first AND second shirts! What I thought would be crazy easy turned out to be a little more difficult- mostly because I hate to slow down. Measure twice and cut once is NOT my motto. The good news is that you can learn from my mistakes and have a great finished product! Also, my first attempt got turned into a beach cover up, so that's not too bad either :) I'll post it Monday.
I started with this shirt, which I got from Goodwill brand new with tags still attached! You don't need something oversized, just flowing. This was about one size too big, which wasn't awful but did put a damper on the shoulders. 
If necessary, remove your collar. This shirt had a really pretty, structured collar and I cut it off, right along the seam, and saved it for another project.
Next, fold your shirt in half lengthwise by the shoulder seams. Don't just fold it in half, otherwise you'll cut out your front side during the next step.
Cut a V shape from, with the point at the bottom and the V at your shoulders. You can get as close to your shoulders as you dare, depending on how much skin you want showing. My V was about 13 inches, it's a good idea to measure on your back to see where you want the lowest point to hit. 
Open your shirt back up and this is what your back should look like.
Pin your hem all around. You have two options. For a more professional look, fold over once, pin and iron. Then fold a second time and pin. If you don't really mind short cuts, just fold once and pin. The former option hides the fray and makes it look really nice. 
Here it is hemmed! At this point you should iron. I didn't iron the stinking shirt until the end of the project. Also, I put a small tack at the point of the V to keep it in place. If yours turns out to be too U-ish and it bugs you, you can fold it into a point and tack as well. 
Next you'll work on the cross. There are a few different options here, you can use the fabric from your V cut out OR you can use ribbons, lace, contrasting material... whatever you want. If you use material as opposed to lace or ribbons, you'll need to create tubes.
The big problem here was the venting on the back of the shirt. I made the tubes kind of ugly, but I just made sure to put the ugly side facing in :) Start by cutting your fabric in half. Then fold each piece in half with the right sides facing inward and the wrong sides facing out and pin. Sew a straight line down and then flip the tubes right side out by pushing the fabric back through one of the two open ends. Iron them down so they're flat straps.
Here's where I really messed up. Attaching the straps is going to be very personal. What I recommend is tacking them in place and trying the shirt on before you sew them down. I had to remove them 3 or 4 times because I was too confident that I would like the placement. The shorter the strips, the more closed and tight your back will be, this creates a cleaner line that won't shift around as much when you move. Also, think about where you want them to start- you can start them way down by the bottom of the V or higher up on the back like the original pin + my version.
Using a mannequin would be easiest, unless you can get a friend to help you. 
Either way, with the shirt inside out, pin your straps in place, remembering that they should be on an angle like in the photos above. Use a temporary tack (which you can see in the bottom pick) in addition to pins to hold the straps in place while you sew them down. You can also use a no-sew adhesive. 
Once the straps are permanently in place, cut off the extra tails and you're good to go!
Voila! I originally took pictures of it outside. They turned out really well- but the shirt was a wrinkled mess!! I couldn't handle it, and literally stopped writing this blog halfway through to iron and rephotograph it. 
Here they are side by side! I wanted to wear it, but didn't have appropriate under garments. I tried low back, but to no avail. How would you do it? 
That's all for today! Check back tomorrow to see all of the other amazing creations. There are shoes, dresses, purses... everything! All the best, and as always, thanks for reading! 


  1. Really cute! I like the idea of using lace or ribbons for the cross! I'd probably just wear the shirt with a contrasting tank or cami underneath, for a little more interest and a little less skin showing!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! Ribbons and lace are much easier- and easier can be better in this crazy busy world! Good thinking with the contrasting tank idea :)

  2. I think this turned out really well despite all the problems (and if I was going to write a tutorial about some of my DIYs I think the problem side vs the "went well" side would be much longer!). I think this back looks really interesting and I would wear a tank under it as well :)

    1. haha! It seems good to share my mistakes, hopefully then others don't make them as well!

  3. It came out REALLY pretty! you made it works, and there's no learning without mistakes! I would also like to see the beach coverup, you're the expert in these!
    xox, d.

    1. Thank you, Donatella! There was a lovely sigh of relief when it was over :)

  4. You've been very brave picking a color different from black and deciding to use the fabric of the shirt! The result is really adorable!
    This shirt is unique and perfect for the coming spring!
    I want to make one too!! :D

    For the bra I think you can use one with transparent straps like this one:
    or wear a backless silicone bra like this one :

    1. Thank you! But you know what- the practice shirt was black! Haha! :) :)
      Good call with the bra! I think the backless silicone would be the best choice, as long as one isn't too blessed ;)

  5. very cute DIY!! I hate that about backless tops, that you cant wear a normal bra! I have this amazing front closure strapless bra from Victorias Secret that I like to wear.

  6. Cute shirt! Just one suggestion, instead of tacking the straps down before trying it on, you could use safety pins, much quicker. That way you can adjust it while trying it on as well.

  7. Oh my word! Brilliant!! Thanks for the tip!

  8. Nice! I guess you could wear a bandeau bra or a cami inside.


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