DIY: Banana Republic Braided Neck Tee Shirt

You still have until tomorrow, July 22 to enter my first blogiversary giveaway! Get your entries in!

Have you guys heard of Pinterest? Pinterest is a virtual “pinboard” that allows you to visually bookmark images from all over the internet. You can sort your images onto separate pinboards to share them with friends and other pinners. It’s really fun and has been a great way for me to organize photos for fashion and home inspiration, as well as links to all the fabulous DIY tutorials I find and want to file away for a rainy day. If you wanna check out Pinterest, you can view my boards.

A few weeks ago I came across this image on Pinterest:

“Banana Republic Braided Top DIY”

Image: via Danielle on Pinterest

I love adding new projects to my DIY pinboard so I followed the link, which led me to a blog post entitled “Banana Republic Braided Top DIY… but Fail.” Whoever pinned the photo left out the fail part – this was no tutorial, it was a FAIL-torial! So, feeling a little cocky about my t-shirt remaking skills, I quickly re-pinned the photo with the caption “I bet I could figure out how to recreate this!” What can I say, I’m kind of a jerk sometimes.

Since this was the only photo I had of the shirt, I went to the Banana Republic site to try to find the top for sale. No dice, it must’ve been a few years old. So I turned on my expert Google skills (seriously, you ever need help Googling something, ask me) and found another pic on another blog.


It was another tutorial, but again, not ideal. It involved a lot of sewing and I am lazy, so I again bet that I could find a better way. Now I’m gonna show you how to do it!

Step 1: Find a shirt you’ve clearly never worn, made obvious by the fact that the tag is still attached. Make sure it’s really wrinkly. Bonus points if it has dog hair on it.

Step 2: Cut vertical slits all around the neck. Mine were about 2 inches long and a little less than an inch apart, but they don’t need to be perfect. You should make the first slit about half as long as the rest, since the weaving technique will cause it to open up into a hole. It’s okay if you don’t, though, you can just sew it up like I did.

Here’s a few pics to show you the scale of the slits I made. They definitely weren’t perfect, but they don’t have to be!

Step 3: Here comes the technical part. Take loop #2 and push it under loop #1, then pull it through in the direction of the remaining loops. It’s not hard, but if you do it wrong, just smooth your shirt out and start over.

Step 4: Continue by pushing loop #3 through loop #2 and so on. If you ever made a potholder out of loops when you were a kid, this is the exact same thing. You did it when you were a six-year-old at summer camp, you can do it now!

Step 5: Keep going and you’ll see your braid start to form. If you don’t, undo it and start over, no big deal, I’m not judging.

When you get to the end, you’ll need to sew a few stitches to attach the last loop to the shoulder of the shirt. I also had to put a few stitches at the beginning of my braid where the hole opened up, but I told you about that already, so yours should turn out even better than mine!

At this point, you could add a second row of slits and do a second braid like on the Banana Republic shirt, but my shirt had already become pretty low-cut so I didn’t. If you want a two-braid shirt, I recommend you start with a higher-cut shirt. Or if you don’t have a problem sharing your boobies with the world, go for it, girl! Like I said, I’m not here to judge!

Step 6: Wait til your boyfriend gets home from work and pose like a doofus in the yard. Make sure your shirt is still wrinkly.

Order the boyfriend to take close-ups.

Get mad at the boyfriend for taking boob shots.

That’s how you can make your very own Banana Republic-ish shirt! Let me know if you use my tutorial, I’d love to see how your shirt turns out!

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78 Responses to DIY: Banana Republic Braided Neck Tee Shirt

  1. Layla says:

    This is super awesome! I don’t have a sewing machine, so I can do most DIY’s I see on Pinterest, but this I can do!

  2. Lori says:

    Wow, where did you get your intelligence and DIY-itivity? ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Morgan says:

    I’m following you on Pinterest now! Thanks for doing this tutorial! I have wanted to do it for sometime now, but was too lazy to try and figure it out myself!

  4. Kelly says:

    That is really cute! I totally want to try it!

  5. Keelonce says:

    You and Evey are Google queens.

  6. Meg says:

    Wow I can’t believe you figured that out just like that Kira! very impressive and it looks great!

  7. Jessica Lynn says:

    Kudos to you! I’ve seen that pin floating around and always brushed it off, because I don’t sew. Love what you did and your step-by-step tutorial! I had to laugh at your boob shotsโ€”my husband does the exact same thing.

  8. joanne says:

    very clever of you kir!! love the outcome and your funny tutorial…oh, and YOU too!

  9. franjessica says:

    This is genius!!! I cannot wait to get home and make my own. I am an idiot and totally didn’t get it until you mention the potholder loops thing. I had my own potholder kit when I was a young one and used it often. I ALWAYS feel like a doofus when I pose for blog pictures however unlike you, I end up looking like a doofus as well. Also the fabulous teal color looks great on you.

  10. greg says:

    i could care less about the shirt, but your photo captions are hilarious.

  11. Chance says:

    I could have never figured that out! You’re so clever ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Katherine says:

    WHAT? This is awesome!! I actually have the light gray top from Banana and love it so much. Who knew it was so simple to recreate!

    (found your blog via oh hello friend, by the way, and I love it!)

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  15. Joyze girl says:

    LOVE your sense of humor!

  16. Kearsten says:

    I made a fleece blanket for my son at the end of summer sort of like this….it is trimmed in a braid type edging. It was made by cutting full slits and cutting a hole half way down the inch wide frays. I then used a crochet hook to pull each through…it was easier to do it that way than what was suggested!
    I will be definitely be trying this out on a shirt soon.

  17. Toni says:

    What a great serendipitous find…I received two beautiful t-tops for my birthday, but the neck just isn’t right and this will be a great way to bring it in a bit and decorate it at the same time.

  18. Sandy Gallimore says:

    For starters, I love how you have a ton of comments from NOBODY who actually attempted your methods! But that just makes me the lucky first, or at least first on here to let you know I thought your instructions were super easy to follow, not to mention successful! I practiced on an old tee that I wouldn’t care if I messed it up and actually may have given it a new purpose in life!! I also have to agree with everyone else though, your tutorial was very entertaining and clever! ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks!

  19. Bjavier says:

    Love this, and what a perfect time for me to stumbleupon it! Thanks!

  20. hersunday says:

    So cute! I love it.

  21. Lorena says:

    thank for the tutorial !!! the final result is great and itยดs looks so simple to do

  22. Christine says:

    Love it!!! I will be trying this out soon!

  23. RaShell says:

    That is just amazing! I love this and can’t wait to make it! Awesome!

  24. This is really cool and easy! Thanks for sharing!

  25. Andrea says:

    Very, very nice! Need to hit the closet and find a shirt to try this!

  26. Belle says:

    This is so awesome! I made one today and plan to do MANY more. Thank you for showing us how ๐Ÿ™‚

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  28. Emilee says:

    For sure doing this! Thanks for the tutorial. (:

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  30. Linda Irvine says:

    Will it fray if I cut off the neck band before doing the slits? I have a t that is so high necked that I feel like it chokes me. It also has a rather wide neck band unlike the one you used.
    Also, I think by looking at the gray shirt that they didn’t make a second row of slits but used every other loop for the first row and the remaining loops for the second row. That MIGHT mean it won’t open the neckline up any more than what you did but I’m not sure.

  31. Jenny says:

    this is so cool XD

  32. Heather says:

    Thanks so much for this, I love trying new things with fabric. I used an oversized t-shirt and did a row at the neck and the waist, turned out pretty good.

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  34. Bobette says:

    This is called daisy chaining. It’s used to control ropes/wires a lot of the time. Isn’t it cool!?!?!?!?!?!?

  35. Alvy says:

    You are brilliant. this is awesome. I cant wait to try it!

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  37. Lynsey says:

    I’m gonna try this as soon as possibly! Your tutorial cracked me up!

  38. Very cute! I have a few t-shirts I’m a bit bored of – definitely trying this when I have a minute! x

  39. Leigh says:

    I was so excited to have some free time to make this craft. I guess I got a little over zealous and instead of making the braid on the front of the shirt, shoulder to shoulder- I did the whole front and back of the shirt. It in turn made the shirt entirely too tiny, The braid came out perfectly though- and I plan on giving it to the little girl I babysit. At least I know for next time! Thanks for the tutorial and the awesome captions!

  40. Jenny says:

    Great tutorial. That’s the first craft tutorial that made me laugh out loud. Congratulations.

  41. Rebecca says:

    Hey, just tried this out! It worked ok, but I think my neckline was too high. I tried a double braid and it looks good!

  42. Meadow says:

    ha! Loved the tutorial, and your total non-judginess.

  43. Theresa says:

    Great way to change up a shirt. Plus I really enjoyed how you added a bit of humor in your directions.

  44. Jill says:

    Love your sense of humor. Thanks for sharing.

  45. Marcia says:

    I’m going to put a fabric flower at the shoulder where I started the project. Another good thing to do with non-girly t’s is to cut off the bottom. You could use what you cut off to create the flower. Great tutorial!!!

  46. Ellen says:

    This worked great for an old but beloved pink shirt I had, but not with an old tank top! Oh well.

  47. That shirt is quite impressive!!! Good job ๐Ÿ™‚ very creative.

  48. Mandy says:

    Thank you for the fabulous tutorial and the giggles..informative and funny!

  49. Joann Balek says:

    I learned to do that from a craft show in arizona. The woman does the sleeves, sometimes you just don’t like the sleeves, try it. It is done the same way. I even did the waist on a big tshirt. looks very nice.

  50. Toni says:

    Very cool – if only I had a tshirt that I wanted to do this with.

  51. Quilter in Motion says:

    Love this look! Years ago I learned to do it on the bottom hem and sleeve hem but no one even though about doing the neckline. Very nice look for the younger set (I’m retired you see). Nice tutorial and lots of humor always is enjoyable. Keep DIYing Kiri

  52. NanGreen says:

    You upgraded the looks of that shirt X10. Congrats.

  53. Veronica says:

    Thanks for the very witty & detailed tutorial. I love this & I’m definitely on the search for a high-cut, wrinkly shirt with extra dog hair so I can try this. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  54. Trish says:

    Live this. Including the instructions about the pictures ๐Ÿ™‚ will definitely be trying this.

  55. Denise K says:

    Wondering how did it hold up in the wash? Thank you

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  57. Usually on these DIY things, I always think that these things are impossible for me to do, but this seems doable! Thank you!

  58. Ann says:

    Did this today. I liked the look of the neckline so much that i did the same braid down both sides under the arms. SUPER cute and oh so easy. If you’re going to do the sides, start with a shirt one size bigger than you normally wear. Thanks for an easy to follow tutorial.

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  60. Debby Lovett says:

    This looks super easy and so cute. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!

  61. I will totally try it this weekend! You’re very creative! ๐Ÿ™‚

  62. deanie says:

    I made one for my Baby Doll today. It turned out cute. I have not read all these comments, so this may be repeating, but I tried using a crochet hook about half way through… it was much easier than doing it with my fingers.

  63. Love this, and I love your funny asides too! I tried this at a recent clothes-swap fundraiser and it turned out great. I’m posting about the event now, and will link back to you for credit and tutorial.

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  65. lukeandtrish says:

    Great DIY!
    The tips you give based on your own learning curve are very helpful.

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  68. audreymccrone says:

    You can get multipacks of men’s tee shirts to do these to, which I am thinking would make it easier to make that second row if braiding, and also to help create a looser flowing top. Awesome sauce! Must, must try this…

  69. Carry says:

    5 years later i stumble upon your post. Funny and easy to do, just perfect! Tried it at once and i love it. Tysm ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ˜˜

  70. Susanne says:

    This is just from shoulder to shoulder correct? It does not go all the way around the back? Thanks.

  71. Zia says:

    I love this! I have tons of tshirts and have been wondering how to change them up for a femininer look..(jk) more feminine look.
    Your sense of humor will keep me coming back to check out more of your blog, I was crackin’ up. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคฃ.
    Can you please tell me if the braiding caused the shirt to rise up a little? If so, by how much do you think?
    Thanks so much.

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