DIY: Banana Republic Braided Neck Tee Shirt

by Kira @ Her New Leaf on July 21, 2011

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!

Can’t get enough crafts? Visit the Project Gallery for more!

{ 216 comments… read them below or add one }

Candice February 18, 2014 at 8:29 pm

What a great idea! I’m a High School Teacher. Next school year, I’ll be teaching a brand new class, Dec Arts. I am going to add this to my curriculum. Thank you so much for this!


Rebecca February 21, 2014 at 9:12 am

Hi! I’m just starting up my blog, so don’t bother trying to visit my page yet but I love yours! That tutorial is so simple and clear, I’m going to do this right now!



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KiraKira March 6, 2014 at 11:26 pm

This is an awesooooome idea!! <3
Totally trying this out first thing tomorrow. <3 Thanks again!


Pat March 7, 2014 at 3:13 pm

I don’t have a website, but hope to someday. Love yours. The instructions are sooo easy to follow and can’t wait to try it. I have a tank that will work, and I’m sure I can find others tops to try it with.
Thanks a bunch!


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Jessica March 15, 2014 at 9:19 pm

I have to say that I pin a lot of things I want to try but know in my heart I won’t do them. After I cut a boatneck on a t-shirt (per the instructions of another pin) it was just too loose and floppy. I knew immediately how to cinch it up and your tutorial was fantastic. Easy to follow, great results. Thanks!

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Just want to say I loved your tutorial and had lots of fun just reading it. I’m gonna try doing my shirt today!
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Thanks for sharing. Very nice. Love the photos and the captions–boyfriend did good job, even on the boobies shots. :) I may give this a try. I tried something similar a while back, but it didn’t turn out so good.


hannah May 10, 2014 at 3:09 pm

great tutorial, just wish you’d warned how much it was gonna shrink the neckline! (its a lot tighter than i expected)


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Anastasia June 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Great job, this is an awesome tutorial! I tried doing this on my shirt, but it is really bunching up at the shoulders. Do you have any ideas on how to fix this?


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Very cool idea, would of never thought of that. Thank you for the great tutorial, I will have to try that someday.


Bita Arabian June 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Hi Kira, I also tried the Banana Republic DIY…fail from Pinterest. I have made one similar re-do shirt using hand crochet. I am working on a 2nd one that I will post on my blog:, I may use my huge crochet needle, haven’t decided yet…
Kudos to you: I like the clever way you came up with making the braided look at the neckline. Great results! Couple questions – have you made a video tutorial of how to do your clever technique? And have you tried this with a t-shirt that does not have a gathered neckline? How did it turn out?


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