Friday, May 22, 2015

Free Tutorial: Madame Fortune Teller Top

I'm back with a free tutorial for my good ol' peasant tee.

A long, long while ago, before Meg's Ragged Edge, when I was just the Naked Doll on Craftster, I came up with a simple tutorial to make tee shirts into peasant tees. It was super easy and I was very proud of myself. I think I made a hundred of those shirts that summer! To this day, people are still re-pinning that tutorial and I smile every time it turns up on my dash.

The original 'tutorial'

I was surprised when someone left a comment on my old blog asking for the tutorial on how to make this shirt. I decided while I was making my Trapeze dress tute for the shop last week I would whip up a super fast-n-dirty tutorial for peasant tees.

Let's get down to it! For this tutorial I used a loose crew neck tee (XL to be precise), some marking chalk, a pair of scissors and pins. Not pictured is a little bit of thin elastic and my sewing machine.

Start by laying your tee shirt flat on your work surface. Start by tracing your desired neckline onto your tee shirt. You can see below how I had to adjust it a few times to get it right.

Next, cut along your chalk lines. There is no real back or front with this tee shirt, unless you're using a graphic tee. So you'll see in the picture below that I used orange chalk to mark the back.

Now, pin down the neckline to your shirt. There is no need to serge the edges because jersey does a really good job of not unraveling. I'm using thin elastic, I think it was 3/8 or 1/4. I didn't look at the package before I started. You need to pin a casing that is large enough for you to get your elastic through.

Once you've stitched the casing down, removing the pins as you go, we're going to thread the elastic through the casing. I hope you didn't forget to leave a little opening in the neckline! My tip for that is to pin one side down flat and then use a safety pin to guide the other end through the casing.

Once you've tugged your elastic through (and no, I'm sorry but I didn't measure the exact length), pin the ends together and stitch them closed. After that, all you have to do is close up the neckline with a straight stitch!

And there you have it! That's how I make my peasant tees. It's great for refashioning tees into something more bohemian, or if you're in a pinch for a costume piece, these come in handy. Add the right bodice and you can be a steampunk, a Renn Faire wench or even something magical.

One of my favorites is a Jack Daniels whiskey top that I made and use for some of my promotional pics.

I just love how these shirts look, and they are so very easy to make. And there you have it! The freebie tutorial for my Fortune Teller Peasant tee.


  1. I love this! I hate a tight neckline on a tee, and this looks like a fabulous remake of a shirt that may look too boxy/dull on its own.

  2. Awesome tutorial, Meghan! Your ideas are so cute and you explain them well. I have a huge stack of not quite right clothes I dream of altering into something funky and cute and better fitting but I suspect that will happen around the time Hell freezes over. xo

    1. I'm still willing to come up there and teach you! That would be the best vacay ever.