How to Fringe a Shirt

Two Parts:Making The Fringe ShirtDecorating The Fringe Shirt

Fringing a shirt is an easy and fun way to produce a totally new look from shirts you already have in your wardrobe. There are several ways to decorate a fringed shirt, and you can experiment with different decoration methods to create a unique look all your own.

Part 1
Making The Fringe Shirt

  1. Image titled Fringe a Shirt Step 1
    Gather your materials. To create your fringe shirt you will need a few materials:
    • A t-shirt (men’s t-shirt provide a looser fit, women’s t-shirts provide a tighter fit)[1]
    • Scissors (fabric scissors work best)
    • Ruler
    • Chalk or pencil
    • Decorative beads[2] (optional)
  2. Image titled Fringe a Shirt Step 2
    Mark where the fringe will start. Put on the t-shirt. Stand in front of a mirror and use the chalk to make a provisional line across the front of your shirt where you want the fringe to start.[3]
    • Keep in mind that depending on how high you cut the fringe, you may be exposing your stomach. Some people like this look, while others prefer for the fringe to start around the waist of their pants or shorts.
  3. Image titled Fringe a Shirt Step 3
    Measure the chalk line. Lay the shirt down on a flat surface such as the floor or a table. Measure the distance from each armpit of the shirt to each end of your drawn chalk line.[4] This will help determine if your line is straight and even on both sides.
    • If the two measurements are different in length, measure again and mark the place needed to make the chalk line straight and even. Then lay your ruler across the shirt and redraw the horizontal chalk line, connecting the two even measurements.
    • For example, if the chalk line to the left side armpit measures 7 inches, and the chalk line to the right side armpit measures 5 inches, determine which length you rather have. Measure and mark the corresponding length on the side of the shirt you’re adjusting.
    • Once both ends of the chalk line are equidistant from the armpits, connect the two markings to even out your chalk line.[5] This line will be where you stop cutting the strips of fringe.
  4. Image titled Fringe a Shirt Step 4
    Mark your fringe lines. Lay your ruler on the drawn chalk line and use your chalk to mark ½ inch intervals where your strips will be cut.[6] Once you finish marking the top of the shirt, lay your ruler on the bottom of the shirt and again, mark out ½ inch intervals where you are going to cut your fringe strips. Then, lay your ruler vertically on the shirt, and connect the ½ inch marks.[7] This will give a clear line on which to cut your fringe.
    • You could also free cut your strips without marking lines to cut along, but cutting along measured lines will make your shirt look less sloppy.[8]
    • If you plan to thread beads onto the fringe, thinner strips will allow the beads to slide onto the fringe strips more easily.
  5. Image titled Fringe a Shirt Step 5
    Cut your shirt. Cut the bottom hem off of your shirt, right above the top stitching. Use your scissors to cut along the vertical ½ lines you measured for your fringe. You can cut both sides of the shirt at once.[9] Just be sure that both the front and back of the shirt are spread out and flat when you start cutting. Stop cutting once you get to the top chalk line.
    • The first and last strip you cut will be on the sides of the shirt. That means that the side strips will actually be an inch thick since it’s a ½ inch on the front of the shirt connected to ½ inch on the back of the shirt. Cut these thicker 1 inch strips in half down the middle, to make them the same as the rest of your fringe strips.[10]
  6. Image titled Fringe a Shirt Step 6
    Stretch out the strips. When all the fringe strips are cut, use one hand to hold the t-shirt down and in place. Use your other hand to tug on the bottom of the strips, to curl in the cut sides and make the strips look more like fringe.[11]
    • You can leave your shirt as it is for a basic fringe top, or you can further embellish your shirt even more unique look.

Part 2
Decorating The Fringe Shirt

  1. Image titled Fringe a Shirt Step 7
    Knot the fringe. Take two neighboring fringe strips, and knot them about an inch down from where the strips begin.[12] Do this for all the strips on your shirt.
    • You can leave your shirt like this with small knots going around your shirt, or you can add another layer of knots to give your shirt a crisscross knotted look.[13]
  2. Image titled Fringe a Shirt Step 8
    Crisscross knot the shirt. Once you have small knots going all the way around your shirt, knot together a right strip from one knot, with a left strip from an adjacent knot, and knot those two strips together about an inch down from the original knots.[14]
    • Keep knotting together outside strips from adjacent knot pairs, to create a crisscross effect in your shirt.[15]
  3. Image titled Fringe a Shirt Step 9
    Stagger the fringe. Stagger the fringe by simply cutting some of the fringe strips to make them shorter than others.[16] You can try cutting every other strip shorter, only the strips in the back of the shirt, or random strips.
  4. Image titled Fringe a Shirt Step 10
    Bead the fringe. Slide decorative beads onto the strips of fringe. You can add as many beads as you want, but most fringe looks best with about 1-3 beads on a strip.[17] Once you’re finished sliding beads onto a strip, make a small knot at the bottom of the strip to keep the beads in place.
    • You can add beads to a plain fringed shirt, a shirt with crisscross knots, and staggered fringe shirts. It’s all about personal preference. Experiment to see which look you like best.


  • If you'd like thinner or thicker strips, go for it. If you're cutting very thin strips, it's recommended that you cut the t-shirt into thirds first, then cut those thirds into much smaller strips. This makes handling the t-shirt much easier than trying to cut tiny strips across the whole t-shirt at once.
  • To really personalize the t-shirt, consider tie-dyeing, fabric painting or embroidering it as well as creating the fringe.
  • Fringe shirts make a great market stall or fundraising sales item for school fairs.
  • Practice on a thrift store shirt the first time if you're worried about not getting it right. Once you're confident, you can proceed to a t-shirt that you really want to look fantastic!

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Categories: Sewing Clothes