t-shirt makeover

the starting point
Recently in a bag of hand-me-downs I spotted a ladies top whose fabric I really liked but the style of which did not appeal to any of the girls in the family. That set me to wondering how I could remake the shirt into something that someone would enjoy. The fabric was soft and stretchy and reminded me a lot of the maxi skirts I’ve been wearing a lot lately. So I decided to remake the shirt into a skirt for my youngest daughter.

I began by laying out the top as smoothly as possible on my cutting board and cutting off both sleeves right where they attached to the body of the top. It might be a good idea to turn the garment inside out before beginning to cut, but that idea didn’t occur to me til later.Step 1: Cut off the sleeves



Next I cut off the neckline of the shirt in a straight line just below the lowest point of the neckline.  I also trimmed away the sides of the top in a (kinda) straight line, angled just a little inward toward the top, which was now going to be the waist of my skirt.  I left the bottom of the shirt alone, as that was going to be the bottom edge of my skirt.  (Yay- the hemming was already done!)

Step 2: Trim away the top and sides

Next I turned the skirt inside out and sewed up the side seams of the skirt, doing my best to make a smooth transition from the existing stitching to the new stitching where I’d trimmed away fabric.

Step 3: Sew the side seams

Next I sewed the ‘tunnel’ at the top of the skirt into which I could thread elastic for a waistband. I happened to have elastic that was about 3/4 inch thick, so I folded over about 1-1/4 inches of fabric, tucking about a 1/4 inch under again before sewing, so that no raw edges would be exposed on the waistband.

Step 4: Sew the waistband

Once I’d sewn my waistband, leaving a 1-inch opening into which to thread my elastic, I put a safety pin into the end of my elastic and threaded it through the ‘tunnel’ of the waistband.  Once that was done, all that was left was to sew the two ends of the elastic together!  Here’s the final product.

Completed skirtMy sweet little model


And here it is on my little girl.  It ended up being too short to be a true maxi skirt for her, but it’s still really cute, I think.  I think I’ll keep an eye out for a large-sized striped shirt so that I can try this technique again and make another one that is actually long enough to be a maxi skirt for her one of these days.

This project was a lot of fun and took me only half an hour. I was amazed at how fast it came together. Have you ever remade a garment into something else?  How did it go?


how to turn a shirt into a skirt


  1. fantastic! makes me want to take my sewing machine out from hiding!

  2. Cute!!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    That’s adorable! I’ve turned shorts and jeans into skirts before. My favorite was taking a pair of (to my eyes, very unattractive) cotton elastic-waisted pink plaid shorts and turning them into a short skirt with a ruffle along the bottom. I kept the elastic waist and just cut out the insides of the legs, trimmed to even out the bottom, sewed up the sides to make the skirt the size I wanted, and added the ruffle from the excess fabric. Worked like a charm. I made it in my own size because the shorts had been a fairly large adult size to begin with. I was afraid the skirt would be too girly, but I have a fairly whimsical clothing style, and paired with a plain top, the pink plaid and ruffle adds a fun element to my outfit.

  4. Contiually making old wool sweaters into hats, mittens and scarfs; use old sheets as liners for shower curtains and/or window curtain liners; old blankets as backing when making quilts; jeans into rugs; turn worn-out comfortors into pillow cases or tablecloths, runners, placemats or napkins; and repurpose light-weight clothing into neck or head scarfs, and headbands. Hardly ever have any clothes for thrift stores. We love to see what we can turn some bit of material into especially a loved print.
    Love the idea of t-shirt into a skirt and looks adorable on your daughter.
    Nothing to do with repurposing clothing but recently discovered how to restitch mocassins so we are able to keep forever and even found a cobbler that will sell me the soles to prolong their lives. Fun!

  5. I LOVE it!! I’m no seamstress, but I’ve made a no-sew tank top out of a t-shirt and I’ve made headbands out of t-shirts and stockings.

  6. thriftymomma says:

    She is adorable. I think you’ll have a hard time finding a shirt that will be long enough. She looks like she’s getting quite tall. You might try repurposing a ladies skirt or dress instead.

  7. I made a little drawstring backpack for my 2 yr old out of the cloth bag a set of sheets came in and a crochet “rope”. It is little, but so is she so it works well.

  8. I love it! She looks comfortable and cute. I recently upcycled a unflattering shirt for myself. You can see the before and after here: http://risingeden.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/sunset-cafe-saturday-summer-at-last/

  9. Rébecca says:

    Do you know this website : http://refashionista.net/ ? I just came accross it and thought you might enjoy the ideas.


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