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DIY Tube Top from Old Lady Top

'80s Vested Romper Refashion
Gingham House Dress to Fit & Flare Sundress Refashion

Ugh. Titling this post was just painful.

I hate to sound like I’m making fun of anyone, but I couldn’t think of another way to describe this top.

DIY Tube Top from Old Lady Top 7

Please note, I’m not saying older folks don’t dress well. Many of my favorite fashion influencers are 60+. I myself dream of making the transition to a fabulous old lady DIY fashion influencer one day.

But I can’t even say this is just an ’80s shirt, as companies STILL make this style. So, Old Lady Top it is. It’s sort of like the term “Karen”. We all know people by the name of Karen who we love (who possess none of the traits that this moniker implies), but we also know what the word is referring to.

It’s all very problematic.

Anywho…Let’s cease the semantics and get to the Refashion!

Old lady top close up
Still Meh.

It’s unflattering. I hate the cut, collar, and sleeves.

But, I do like that pale green, and the floral print actually is kind of pretty if you can picture it outside of the context of this shirt.

Luckily, I had a plan! I would turn this top into a DIY Tube Top (It’s in the title, so I don’t really feel like I’m spoiling anything here)!

I made a few chops!

Cutting sides and top off shirt
Drawn & Quartered!

I measured myself to make sure my top would fit me, taking side seam allowances into account, before cutting anything.

I put the right sides together and pinned my new side seams.

You can see how I’m flipping it so the bottom elastic band will be the top elastic to hold it in place!

pinning side seams

Then, I stitched down each side.

sewing side seams

Now for the bottom hem!

I folded the new bottom part of my top under twice and pinned it.

pinning bottom hem
Just a lil hem.

Then I ran it through my machine!

sewing down hem
Almost done!

With just a few easy steps, my new DIY Tube Top was born!

DIY Tube Top from Old Lady Top After close up
Humidity hair don’t care.
DIY Tube Top from Old Lady Top After
Such a pretty sunny day!

I think it turned out really well, and my new top was comfy and cool for a hot SC day!

The elastic at the top held it in place just fine. 🙂

If this refashion seems familiar, it’s probably because you’re remembering this similar tube top refashion I did a looooong time ago!

DIY Tube Top from Old Lady Top After looking down
Huh…look at that.


refashionista DIY Tube Top from Old Lady Top Before and After
'80s Vested Romper Refashion
Gingham House Dress to Fit & Flare Sundress Refashion

44 thoughts on “DIY Tube Top from Old Lady Top”

  1. Oh, I can so relate to that. I don’t have any of these tops to chop, but what a GREAT idea. I like the reworked model SO much better.

  2. I think a nicer term for this original shirt would be a golfer type shirt. The collar being necessary requirement for the game of golf. I like that you used the bottom for the top! I always hate those shirts that have the shirring on the bottom, so now there is a use for them! Thanks!

  3. I am always so amazed at your creativity and vision! How anyone could look at that top and see beauty is a testament to your genius!!!

  4. Okay, this is one of your most impressive refashions, in my opinion! I did NOT think there was any hope for that shirt at all!

  5. Once I passed age 60 I started getting a lot of catalogs of “clothes I would never wear”. One catalog in particular, Blair, sells a lot of tops very like this one, with matching skorts and pedal pushers, perhaps for the senior golf set. So in my lexicon, the original top would be “a Blair”.

  6. How about “retiree top”? Couldn’t believe you made something cute out of it, they are actually anti-fashion items. Nice work!

  7. You bought back some.memories with this top. This is the kind of my tops my mother n law wore. I couldn’t stand the high neck in the summer, your style is so much cuter.

  8. My matronly bosom does not lend itself to boob tubes but I also don’t wear the ‘old lady’ kind of top which, admittedly, rather fits matronly bosoms. I am so envious of you girls (of whatever age) who are small-breasted and can boob tubes, spaghetti strap tops, etc.

  9. In 1981 I first heard the term LOL at work when the receptionist would call out, “I’ve got an LOL on the line.” I asked and was told LOL meant “Little Old Lady” to the receptionist. And I’ll bet she was wearing a top just like that one. Very cute refashion!

  10. You are so clever, I am confident that in the future you can come up with a better way to describe fashion other than “old lady top.” Ageism is a thing, let’s try harder to be respectful whilst still getting the point across. How about “fashion from another generation,” “very, very retro,” “seen at Block Buster in the 80’s”?

  11. That gives me so many ideas. I could put some kind of straps on that for sundresses. I am having a double mastectomy later this year and need an idea for something simple I can wear, easy on and off, no bra, soft cotton. A rib knit top edge would do it. Thank you for inspiration.

  12. Well, the moniker for this top is apt. The second I saw it I thought, “must be an Alfred Dunner”. My beloved mother, Virginia, used to wear these tops in her late 70s and on to her death at 88 in 2006. She looked so cute in them despite their being “old lady tops”. I’m loving this post as it makes me think of her. But I also love it because you took the truly pretty features of this top – the lovely soft green, the flowers and the stripe – and turned it into an adorable top for you. Brava!

  13. Robyn – same here. I’m 72 and still too young for the original top. Can’t see myself in a tube top though. 🙂

  14. Brilliant transformation!
    I had honestly never heard the “Karen” thing. Looked it up and I was shocked. So not PC.

  15. It’s fantastic. I would add straps because I need to wear a bra. This is inspirational for some old tops I don’t regularly wear anymore.

  16. The result is cute! I might have wanted the border detail up too but I do like it as you made it. I *think * that could be part of an Alfred Dunner set. You *could* call it by its label name. That is also useful for people who look for this style of clothing to refashion. Angelina of Blueprint DIY did some adorable pant to short refashions using similar style label and type of clothes as you did.

  17. from 50 year old, old lady–no offense taking! loll! i recently posted an upcycle of a mu-mu style dress, and so many people liked the BEFORE–and the silhouette was lovely! used it as a pattern to make a Balloon Sleeve Dress, but the fabric print was just not my thing…so i get it…the people making the comments were even older than me ; )

  18. I can see that shirt coming out of a trailer on the way to yell at the kids nextdoor. Good job with the refashion. Very cute!

  19. At a Goodwill I recently bought one of these types of tops. I can’t turn it upside down because it has an adorable applique of flowers in tiny pots. That’s why I bought it. Still don’t know what I can do to be able to wear it, but now I will put some more thought into it. Will not do a tube, don’t like to reveal arms, etc.

    Also old lady, but cringe to think of wearing that unflattering style top that pairs wonderfully with pastel-colored sweat pants. It does make me crave the bingo parlor though. Especially now. B-1, I-2, N-3, G-4, O-5…

  20. I love this so much! Also, I just want to reiterate how much I enjoy the links to the older refashions. Thank you so much for peppering those through your recent posts. I love looking at the ones that I remember from “the first time around” and when they are ones I haven’t seen before (like the 2010 tube top link here) I get even more excited!

    Well done!

  21. HAHAHA! That looks like an A.D. top that my ex-MIL Karen would wear! You made it so cute! I would have to add some straps to hold it up but what a great idea! I am one of your older followers – the big 60 hits at the end of August but I DO NOT consider myself old! It is all in working out, staying active, good nutrition, and being open to lots of fun! I do enjoy your makeovers!

  22. I’m an old lady and your title did not offend!! Super cute tube top. I would never have purchased that top, I’m going to have to re-think my thrift shopping! (Don’t worry, you’ll never see this old lady in a tube top! LOL!)

  23. Brilliant! I’ve seen those sorts of shirts at thrift stores a million times and often loved the prints. I even bought one once arrogantly thinking I could wear it ‘as is’ and still look cool. Ha! There was no end to the (warranted) ridiculing from my husband. Wish I still had that shirt. I would totally try the tube top conversion!

  24. Fab tube top out of a frumpy old garment. Love the colours too. As an old lady myself, i wouldn´t be seen dead in the original, but might consider the tube version. Well done.

  25. Simple and sweet. Alas I’m an old lady and can’t do tube tops. I wouldn’t be caught dead in the before, though!

  26. Wow! Honestly, I would have never thought of that. Great idea, I’m going to have to try this. I enjoy your posts, such great ideas. ☺️


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