Hinterland Hack-a-thon: How to Make a Crop Top

The Cropped Hinterland Top pairs perfectly with high-waisted skirts or pants, as well as over short or long dresses. Make a short sleeved version for warm weather, and a 3/4 sleeve (or lengthen the sleeve if desired) for a great option with high-waisted jeans or pants come cold weather.

Grab your Hinterland Dress pattern

Trace off the pieces needed for this hack:

  • Front Bodice w/ Sleeve
  • Back Bodice w/ Sleeve
  • Cap Sleeve
  • Neck Facing
  • Front Bodice Placket
  • Front Bodice Placket Interfacing

Note that patterns are shown at 1/3 scale.

1. Before you get started, check the fit of the bodice, either by making a quick muslin, or doing your usual adjustments. For example, I’ve made the Hinterland dress before, and I know that I’ll cut a 10, and make a small adjustment to the shoulder area. I would do that adjustment now, before I continue with this tutorial.

2. Top length

Now it’s time to decide how long you’d like your top to be. If you’re going to used the length of the pattern as it is in the regular dress version, mark the ⅝” seam allowance along the bottom on the Front Bodice and Back Bodice, (Figure 2) so you know where the finished edge is. Use little lines to cross off the existing cut line, (Figure 3) or simply cut the pattern to the finished edge marking. Tape some extra paper along the hemline, so you can add your hem allowances.

I recommend a ½’ plus a 1” hem allowance, so you’ll be marking 1 ½” below the finished edge for your new cut line. (Figure 4)

3. Placket length

(Secret tip: if you are using the exact front length of the pattern as drafted, you should be able to just leave the Front Bodice Placket and Front Bodice Placket Interfacing pieces as is! So you can skip to step 4.)

a.) Measure the Front Bodice at the center front, from the top to the line for the finished edge (that’s 1 ½” up from the bottom edge. It will be ⅝” longer than your finished length). Jot this number down. (Figure 5)

b.) For the Front Bodice Placket, add ⅝” to the measurement that you just wrote down, and cut the placket to this length.


Subtract ⅝” from the number that you wrote down in step 3a, and this is the length of your Front Bodice Placket Interfacing.

4. The Cap Sleeve and Neck Facing pieces don’t need any adjusting for this hack. The cut quantities for the pieces remain as written. The button quantity is 4 for the placket version of the dress, so you’ll have to decide if you want to stick with that, or go with 5 for your cropped version (or even 3 if you’re going super cropped!). You can lay them out when you get to the buttonhole stage and decide then.

Lay out your (pre-washed and pressed) fabric, and cut out your pieces. As ever, pay close attention to the grainlines as you’re cutting out. Transfer the notches and bust dart points.

5. Go ahead and follow steps 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 in the Hinterland Dress instructions. Skip steps 4 and 7. Complete step 8, then step 9a.

6. Hem

Turn the raw edge up ½” at the hem towards the wrong side, and press well. Fold under 1” more at the hem, and press well again. Pin in place, then edgestitch along the folded edge.


7. Placket

Refer to step 13 in the Hinterland instructions. Your interfacing piece is going to be placed ⅝” from the top and bottom, and ⅝” from one long edge. You’re attaching the placket in the same manner as the standard Hinterland, until you get to step 13d. Rather than leaving the bottom edge unsewn, you’re going to sew across the top AND bottom edges (like in Figure 41b in the original pattern instructions), to enclose the entire Bodice Front edge in the Facing. The short edges of the placket are both enclosed when you turn the placket right side out. This is why you sewed the hem before the placket! Continue on with step 13e, edgestitching all 4 sides of the placket.

8. Buttonholes

Refer to step 14 in the Hinterland Instructions. You’re going to be following this step, with one exception – you don’t HAVE to have your bottom buttonhole ending at 2 ¼” above the bottom edge. Because you have your finished length already completed, and you’re on the last step (yay!), go ahead and decide now how many buttons you’d like to use, and space them evenly down the front. I recommend 5 buttons, for the sake of visual balance and bust-gaping prevention.

That’s it! Pop on your new Hinterland Cropped Top and do a happy dance!

We have two online courses all about the Hinterland Dress

Fit and Sew Bodices: The Hinterland is perfect for confident beginners to intermediate sewists looking to learn all about fitting a bodice and sewing a Hinterland Dress. This course takes your through every step of fitting and sewing your Hinterland.

The Creative Hinterland is a pattern making course for intermediate to advanced sewists. This course teaches you the skills you need to modify sewing patterns to your liking, bringing a spirit of playfulness to your sewing hobby and your closet. It includes 12 different hacks of the Hinterland Dress.

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  1. Thank you! The hinterland is such a good fit for me with only minor adjustments so hacking tutorials have been awesome. I will have to try this one and see if I can lengthen it a bit more for a summer tank.

  2. I’m going to attempt this hack soon, it looks lovely for the summer! I do have a quick question though, do you have an estimate of how much fabric you need to make this shirt?

    1. Hi Caty! Super question – the short answer is to subtract 56″ from the recommended usage in your view and size.

      Long answer: you know that you won’t be using the skirt, the waist tie, or the full length placket. The skirt pattern piece is 28″ long, and the placket is beside it in most of the layout diagrams. So to determine the fabric requirements, you can refer to the diagrams and the charts for your view and size, and double check that removing the skirt’s length won’t impact any of the pieces that you do need. Then double the skirt pattern piece’s length (since it’s the same piece for frt and bk, that’s where the 56″ comes from), and subtract that from the fabric requirement.

      Hope that helps! Happy sewing 🙂

  3. Hello,
    Can I make sleeveless top this way? The introduction mentions sleeves, but there’s no difference, right?

    1. Hi Anna,
      Yes, you certainly can make the sleeveless top in the same way! The bodice patterns for sleeves and sleeveless are slightly different, for the fit differences that sleeveless patterns require, but you’ll be able to follow the steps above regardless.
      Happy sewing!

      1. Thank you so much! I stumbled across this post again tonight after finishing my first hinterland yesterday, and was just wondering what the “skirt” was when I saw that I left a comment over a year ago asking this. 🤣 thank you again. Gotta look that pattern up!

  4. Hi this is so cute I’ll definitely try it out soon. Would it work without plackets like the dress top just by cutting two of the back piece ? I’ve not tried the dress without buttons yet either.

  5. Hi! I would really like to try this hack, but I don’t quite understand how to lengthen the pattern so the top sits at the right length for how I want to wear it. Do I just add extra paper follow the lines for my size down to the length I wish it to be? Or would it get too narrow at the bottom if I did that? I’m sorry if I’m not using the right lingo, I’m still fairly new to sewing clothes!

    1. Hello! Yes, to add just enough length for a crop top, you can add length at to bottom of the pattern piece, making sure that the waist doesn’t get smaller. If you want to make the top longer than your waist, you’ll need to do a bit more math in order to make sure you have enough ease at the new hem edge. Feel free to send me an email if you need some more detailed help, and happy sewing! 🙂