How to Tighten a Strapless Top: Sustainability in Sewing

fix strapless top sewing for my sanity

I didn’t want to throw this strapless top away but needed a way to tighten it.

SUSTAINABILITY: For those of us who are fabric junkies, and especially for those who make clothes this can become a real challenge. We are making clothes, buying clothes, altering clothes, donating clothes, and eventually becoming absolute hoarders regarding fabric. This top was one of those items. I bought this strapless denim top on sale Anthropologie for my trip to Greece.

Foolishly, I did not try it on. Hot Mess Express because it was way too big. This strapless tube top needed to be tightened in a heartbeat. It was too late to do anything about it, and as you can see from the tag, it was on sale and a final sale item. Whelp! I got on the plane without the top. It sat in my no-no pile for over a year, and then, as I was making summer tops for this season, it occurred to me that I could “fix” it instead of trashing it or donating it. Incidentally, it’s not just a strapless top; it’s a strapless denim tube top. It’s even more cute than it was before because, right now, denim is everything.

Strapless tops are stylish for any occasion, but finding one that fits well can be challenging. There’s no need to worry if you have a strapless top that’s too big and doesn’t flatter your figure; tighten it like a champ. With a few basic sewing supplies, you can make simple alterations to create a well-fitting top.

To get started, put on the top and assess how much you need to take in for a better fit. Then, turn the top inside out and fold the extra fabric at the side seams towards the center. This will create a streamlined look that accentuates your curves. Secure the fabric with pins, then turn the top right side out and try it on.


To do this kind of “fix,” I removed the understitching first.

Next, I removed almost two inches from each side seam—yep, you read that right—for a total of four inches. This meant I also had to adjust the capped lining on top.

Once the top fit well, I used a straight stitch to secure the alteration. If you need additional support in the bust area, add extra padding to the bust of the top or your bra to tighten the fit of the strapless top. 

Then, I reattached the lining/facing and, of course, the understitching to ensure it didn’t roll.

Lastly, I diligently replaced the beautiful gold denim topstitching.

Other ways to fix this top would have been to add elastic to the back or side seams. Some other sewing hacks include a few parallel darts in strategic spots to create a more fitted top. 


Tightening the strapless top was pretty easy. I’m not the repair-fix-it queen, and I do not enjoy doing long alteration projects for myself or for others. I think the most challenging thing about the repair was making sure the new topstitching looked as interesting on the washed denim as the original garment. I used heavy-weight denim gold thread, and it was perfect.

With these simple steps, you can confidently wear your strapless top and feel great about your appearance after tightening it. Don’t let ill-fitting clothing hold you back from looking your best. With a little effort and some basic sewing know-how, you can create a look that flatters your figure and showcases your personal style.

fix strapless top sewing for my sanity