Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stash Bash- How to Make a T-shirt Skirt

I've always had a bit of an obsession with t-shirts.  I love the feel of jersey knit, and when I was little I took some of my parents old t-shirts and cut and safety pinned myself a dress from them.  Then there is of course the fact that inevitably we end up with a ton of t-shirts a lot of them free.  So what to do with those t-shirts or what to do with a t-shirt that's wearing out?  Why not make a skirt.

Here's what you need:  3 t-shirts of contrasting colors or 2 of the same color and 1 different (you can also modify this to be only two shirts if you prefer a shorter skirt)
1/2 inch elastic (enough to go around your waist)
sewing thread
safety pin
straight pins
sewing machine that has a stitch function for stretch fabrics

1)  Take 3 old t-shirts (or ones you don't need/want) and cut under the arm pits.  You want to make sure that the shirts you choose are either the size you normally wear or larger.  Otherwise the shirts will be too small.  Also make sure that all the shirts are the same size.  The t-shirts should not be girl-cut.  They should be unisex otherwise you won't get enough stretch to them.

This is a t-shirt of Hubby's.  The collar was getting holes in it and it had a couple of small holes at the bottom which I cut off.  Hubby and I wear the same t-shirt size (did I mention that he's scrawny and I'm curvacious).  The other shirts I used, one had horrible arm pit stains but otherwise was in good shape; the other one was wearing out at the collar considerably.

2) After you have cut off the bottom part of the t-shirts, pin them together with straight pins.  Note: you do not need to cut the side or end seams if you don't want to.  You can hide the bottom seam when you sew and the sewing back up the side seams are more trouble then it's worth.

To pin turn the now cuffs inside out and pin around so that the outsides are together and the material looks puckered.  Make sure you line up the side-seams, otherwise your shirt with have seams every which way.  There's no need to pin at the bottom if you kept the bottom seam.

For the top, pin a one inch or more (depending on how fancy a stretch stitch you want to use) seam.  Make sure you leave enough space for the elastic and a small opening to insert it in.

Please ignore the bottom pinning.  I screwed that part up.  The top parts are what it should look like.

When you pin you should decide how long the skirt should be.  You can either measure it out or eye ball it.  I left the top part longer to allow for the elastic seam.  To figure out how long I wanted it, I simply used a skirt that I normally wear and put them side-by-side.  That way my skirt doesn't drag the ground.

4) Begin sewing.  You may want to use your scrap fabric (the top of the tees) and try out a few stretch fabric stitches.  Most owners manuals for machines let you know what is a stretch knit stitch.  If you don't have a manual, a good zig-zag stitch works too.  You do not want to use a straight stitch because it won't hold the fabric together well and it won't give, which you want with this skirt (and is the beauty of jersey knit).

Make sure that while you sew you don't do what I did, which was to forget to leave an opening for the elastic.  If you forget (or mess up a bit of sewing), a good seam ripper comes in handy or a small pair of sewing scissors.  Also when sewing the top where the elastic will be, sew as close to the edge as possible to allow the elastic to come through.  Sewing in the middle of the seam defeats the purpose.
Said opening.

5) Now take your elastic and put it around your waist.  Where it overlaps allow a 1/4 inch extra before clipping.  (you can also measure yourself with measuring tape, but you don't really need to).  Take one end of your elastic and put a safety pin through it.  Using that end, thread your elastic through the opening that you created.

Once it's gone all the way around the skirt, pull it back through the opening.  Take both ends and sew a straight stitch at your 1/4 inch mark.  You may want to back stitch over it or sew it twice for good measure.

Tuck the elastic back through the opening and close the opening using your stretch stitch setting.  Make sure that you do not sew over the elastic.  The elastic should move freely through your seam.

6) Turn it right side out.  Try it on and make sure that the elastic isn't too loose or too tight (better to be on the too loose side. way easier to fix).  And wallah!  You've now made a skirt using three t-shirts.

The beauty of this skirt is that you do not need to have a split because jersey knit gives and stretches as you move.  That's why you need a stretch stitch.  Plus it's so simple to make and uses very little supplies that a kid could do it too.

So link up to Crunchy Catholic Momma's Stash Bash (which is taking crafting supplies you have on hand and making something with them).  Incidentally I didn't buy anything to make this skirt.  I just used what I already had available.


  1. Lovely! I have a pile of T-shirts set aside for exactly this purpose...the pile has been there since June! Maybe I should follow your lead and get to it :) Thanks for sharing.

  2. I have a pile of tshirts waiting to turn into a braided rug but this might be the trick for one of my girls. Great tutorial! Thanks for joining me.


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