Tutorial: How to make a poncho top

Hi! As I promised, here is the tutorial on how to make a poncho top from just a rectangle fabric! I meant to post this yesterday, but for some reasons, blogger wasn’t letting me post.

I made some diagrams to show how to cut the fabric and where to sew. You can click the image above to enlarge.

Material needed:
1-2 yards or fabric, depending on the length of the top/dress. I recommend fabrics that flows well, and avoid stiff fabrics, such as denim, 100% cotton, linen or wool. I used very light weight polyester fabrics for my top and dress. I recommend light weight poly or rayon blend.
❤ thread
elastic band. This is what you use to cinch the waist part. Cut two elastic bands, in length that’s half of your waist. For instance, if your waist measurement is 28″ around, cut two 14″ elastic bands.

I’m pretty bad at writing instructions – so if you have any questions, please post a comment! I will try to answer as much as I can:)
Hope you enjoy this and please do share some photos if you make one!


  1. Paunnet says:

    Thanks, Chie!

  2. thank you so much chie for sharing your talent:-D

  3. brittany says:

    Oh my gosh, thank you thank you. I'm making it!

    You Are My Favorite

  4. Lovely! Thank you so much for the pattern – I’ll definitely be trying it 🙂

  5. could you explain the folds through out the process? im a bit confused.
    Thank you!

    • hi G, sorry for not understanding your question, but could you explain your question again? im not exactly sure what you are asking..thank u!

  6. Whats with the fold part, i don’t understand

  7. Hi 🙂 I think the question asked by “G” was referring to the draping of the sleeves. I understand your diagram (Great job, by the way) but i had to ask to be sure: are you sewing down two separate pieces of elastic to the front and back of the garment or do the two pieceshave to meet at the sides (underneath each sleeve)?

    • hi mekuo,

      elastic bands are sewn on two separate pieces: both front and back. but leave the sleeve part without elastic band. the sleeves are separated from a bodice with just one simple seam as the diagram shows. so the elastic needs to be sewn between the two sleeve seam lines. hope this makes sense! im not all that great at explaining things..please ask if you have any other questions!!

  8. Hi, I was wondering about the elastic. Should we sew the elastic band on such that they meet at the sleeve lines? To create a full circle?

    • yes! but i used two separate elastic bands, one for front and one for back. i think it’s easier than trying to install one long elastic band.
      one person who tried this tutorial added a belt loop, instead of elastic band. i think it’s a fantastic idea and might be easier than installing an elastic band. just a thought!

  9. that is awesome i will try to make 1… thnx

  10. This looks like such a fun, easy, versatile piece! I’m anxious to try. I was wondering how long of fabric you used for the dress version? Thank you!


  11. I don’t understands the folds either – what are you folding and to where?

    • The fabric is folded in half initially (see fold line at the top in the first & second graphics). Basically, this is how you will wear the shirt when it’s complete. Just imagine your head is coming out in the middle of the top fold.

      Then the fabric is folded in quarters (now the fold is at the top and the side in the third graphic). This allows you to create the neckline with one cut instead of two. If it were still folded in half, you’d have to make a V-shaped cut–cutting twice. By folding it in quarters (left to right), you make only one diagonal cut.

      The last two images have the fold at the top again.

  12. Jessica says:

    This is all to be sewn right-side of the fabric OUT, correct? If you did it traditionally, the fabric would get all bunched up at the sides, and not flowy, right?

    • Hi Jessica, Yes, the side seams (the straight lines) should be sewn with wrong sides of the fabric facing each other, and sewn from the out side. Sorry for the lack of explanation!

  13. Hey, I love this! for the picture that’s shown, how much fabric did you use? thanks xxx

  14. Hi chie! It looks so beautiful! How much fabric would I use for a 10-12 little kid shirt? I love this and really want to make this I’m always doing artsy things so do u no?

    • Hi Lily, the width of the fabric should be your child’s shoulder to shoulder measurement multiplied by 2. The length should be however long the top should be (from top of the shoulder to shirt hem) multiplied by 2. I hope this helps!

  15. Hello!
    Thanks a lot for your teaching.
    Be happy and merry!

  16. Awesome poncho! Thank you very much!

  17. Can you give a quick explanation on how to finish the neckline? Was it done with a facing, bias tape, etc? Thanks!

    • Hi Debbie, sorry the tutorial is not so through. I wrote it a while ago and there are few things that I would do differently. I would cut the shoulder seams apart, instead of on big square, finish the neckline either by bias stripes or facing (if you use sheer fabric like I did, bias strips work better) and sew the shoulder seams together. I hope this makes sense. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  18. When you cut out the neck hole, what were the measurements you used? I’m worried that I’ll cut it out, then realize the neck hole is too big.

  19. Yami_Hanako says:

    Hey! I really love your work, you are an artist!

    So, I’m going to try this poncho top soon, I’m going to do it a little longer because I want it to be a dress.

    I want it to look like 1920’s style so I have been thinking of adding a lace detail like you did with the Minnie t-shirt but I can’t find a lace anywhere, how did you get it? from another t-shirt? do you think it will look good?



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