DIY Adjustable Collar and Cuffs

​This is a quick and simple project you can make from an old blouse.  I purchased this one from my local Goodwill.  The collar is created from the entire bottom hem of the blouse and the cuffs are from the sleeves.  The collar is adjustable with a hidden drawstring which can be drawn up to wear as a short collar for high neckline styles and let out to wear with lower necklines such as scoop or v-neck tops. What’s nice about using an old blouse is the rolled hems are already finished.  I don’t own a serger, so my ordinary sewing machine could not duplicate what a serger can do.

You can coordinate these pieces with any of your tops or sweaters.  These are the perfect pieces to polish up that plain old sweater or top that needs a little jazzing up.


Long Sleeve Blouse (choose one with a soft and fluid drape)

Embroidery Floss

1/4″ Elastic

2 small beads or rubber earring backs


Lets start making the collar.  Cut approximately 4″ off the bottom of the blouse.  Press raw edges.  Sew raw edges together with a straight double seam.  Turn collar right side out and press seam.


Place collar around your neck or dressform to check the work and make sure it’s to your liking.  This is how it will appear as a long collar.  I thought it looked interesting having a double layered look.


Sew a set of snaps on the corners of the collar.


Now were going to add the hidden drawstring.  Turn collar inside out.  Start hand sewing some embroidery floss directly on the back of the collar within the seam.  I sewed in approximately 10″ of floss.  Leave long tails on both ends because you will need to feed your beads or rubber earring backs through the end of the floss tails.


Since I had no beads, I used rubber earring backs which I had on hand.  Feed them through and tie the ends with a knot. Cut the floss near the knot.


To shorten the collar, simply pull on both ends of the floss keeping the beads or earring backs in place.  Only pull on the floss, then adjust the gathers in the back.   It will stay in place unless pulled on.  To let it out just pull out the gathers to wear it with lower necklines.

Here are both collar looks. A long collar on a scoop neck tee and a short collar on a high collar sweater.


Lets start the sleeves.  Cut both sleeves off the blouse.  Make sure to cut the entire sleeve,  we are going to use it all.


Slip your arm through the sleeve.  Measure across the sleeve to see how wide you need it. For my arm,  I cut it approximately 5″ wide across.


Mark your edge and sew a straight double seam using 1/2″ seam allowance. Cut excess fabric off.


Sew the top edge using a zig zag stitch to allow a little stretch.  Leave enough room to feed your elastic through the casing.


Sew the edge of the elastic, snip the ends and zig zag stitch to close the casing.  Repeat with the other sleeve.

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Here’s a little slide show for viewing the different looks once more.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! This project was one of the easier ones to tackle and it was fun in the process. Thanks for reading!



11 thoughts on “DIY Adjustable Collar and Cuffs

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