Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tutorial: Stripey Skirt from a Tee

Up until about three months ago, one of the last things I thought I'd be posting is a tutorial for a girl's skirt.  Before that, I really had no one to sew a skirt for... except myself, of course.  Then, surprisingly, my previously anti-princess, anti-skirt, and anti-dress daughter decided she's okay with certain types of skirts and dresses.  Still, no ruffles, bows, or anything too frilly -- and I'm just fine with that.  It started when she said she might want a jean skirt like the one I was wearing.  Then, when my mother-in-law took her shopping for a few new fall outfits, she not only picked out two dresses, but came home wearing one.  I took this as an opportunity, and quickly stitched up a (not-too-girly) skirt from an old t-shirt of mine that I'd been saving.  And she likes it!  She's still anti-princess, though.  Thank goodness, or I think all this change would be too much for me!

So, without further ado, here are the easy peasy instructions for sewing your own girl's skirt from a tee.

Adult size t-shirt  (I used a women's size large)
3/4" wide non-roll elastic
Matching thread

1.  Decide on the length you want the skirt to be -- from waist to hem -- and add about 1-1/2".

2.  Lay your t-shirt out flat, straightening the side seams and aligning the bottom hem.  The bottom hem will be the hem of your skirt, and you'll keep the side seams intact, too.  Mark the length from the bottom hem, and cut straight across.  I used a quilting ruler, rotary cutter and a mat, but scissors would work fine, too.

3.  You'll end up with a tube, like this.

4.  Turn the tube of fabric inside out, and, at the top (cut edge), fold 1/2" to the wrong side, and pin.  The stripes on my shirt just happened to be 1/2", so I just used them as a guide.  Stitch about 1/4" from the folded edge, stretching the knit fabric ever so slightly as you go.

5.  Turn the same edge another 1" to the wrong side, and pin.  This time stitch just to the left of your first line of stitching (see photo above).  Start near the center of the back of the skirt, stopping about 1-1/2" before the point where you started, in order to leave an opening for the elastic.

6.  Cut a length of elastic 1" longer than the desired waist size (or several inches longer, if you'd like to wait to try it on the recipient before you commit, as I did).  Using a safety pin, feed the elastic through the casing.  Making sure the elastic is not twisted, overlap the ends 1/2" and stitch closed.  (Or -- if you're not quite sure of the waist size -- try the skirt on it's recipient, pin the elastic, stitch closed, and then trim.)

7.  Sew the opening in the casing closed, being careful not to catch the elastic in the stitching.  Then distribute the fabric evenly around the waistband.

8.  If desired, stitch the elastic in place along each side seam to secure.

9.  And that's it! You've upcycled an old t-shirt into a fun new skirt!

I was happy to have such an eager model for my skirt!  Doesn't she look like she's having fun?  

If you decide to make a skirt from this tutorial, I'd love to hear about it -- and even see photos!

Happy stitching!


  1. This is great! Totally making me want to go to the nearest thrift store and pick up some fun t-shirts so I can make a few of these for my daughter.

  2. I've got to try this for me and for Pen, but I'd probably need a men's shirt to fit me. Awesome, Thanks!

  3. I did make a skirt for myself. Here is my blog post about it:

  4. I just found a bleach spot on the sleeve of a teal t-shirt of mine, so I came digging for this post so I can make a skirt for Ms. L.