Clothing Remade: Sew a Child’s Skirt from an Adult T-Shirt

Turn an old tee into a child's skirt with this simple tshirt to skirt tutorial!

Back in the fall, I posted my tutorial for sewing a girl’s skirt from an adult sweater. And don’t forget the sweater sleeve leggings!

Turn an old tee into a child's skirt with this simple t-shirt to skirt tutorial!
Turn an old tee into a child’s skirt with this simple t-shirt to skirt tutorial!

Well, now that we’re into the heat of summer, all of my daughter’s cute sweater skirts are tucked away, but she’s still as skirt-crazy as ever.

And that’s why I took a day off of craft fair prep this week to sew her up a dozen or so T-shirt skirts. Overkill? Not when you see how easy they are to make.

It’s a super-cinch to make a cute, comfy, and sturdy child’s skirt from any old adult T-shirt. They’re perfect for this warm weather, and that stretchy knit cotton is a great material to put on an active child.

Here’s how to transform your own awesome old or thrifted shirts into awesome clothing for the next generation:

T-Shirt to Skirt Tutorial

You will need:

  • Awesome adult T-shirt. A short-sleeve graphic T-shirt is fine, but women’s long-sleeve T-shirts are really perfect for this project–they come in pretty colors and patterns and a variety of fits that only add to the interest of the finished skirt.
  • Cutting implements. A self-healing cutting mat and rotary cutter will do.
  • Measurements. You’ll need your child’s waist measurement, and her measurement of waist to where you’d like the bottom hem of her skirt to fall
  • A way to thread elastic. Including 1/2″ wide elastic and safety pin or bodkin
  • Sewing machine with a stretch needle, capable of doing a zig-zag stitch


1. Iron your shirt well, using a hot iron to straighten all seams (T-shirts cut on the bias can get really wonky, but a hot iron will futz them back into shape), then lay the shirt out flat on your self-healing cutting mat.

2. From the bottom hem of the shirt, which will be the bottom hem of the skirt, measure up the length measurement plus one inch. If you run into the sleeves before you’ve measured up far enough, then your shirt is too short to make this skirt. If you don’t run into the sleeves, then you’re golden.

3. Cut the shirt straight across at the top of that length measurement.

4. Turn down the top raw edge of the skirt  1.25″ to the inside- you can iron this or just eyeball it.

5. Using your zig-zag stitch, sew the raw edge down all the way around the skirt to make a casing for the elastic. Don’t forget to leave an opening to insert the elastic!

6. At the very top of the casing, sew another zig-zag stitch all the way around the skirt. This makes for a neater waistband, and will help keep the elastic from twisting inside the casing.

7. Cut a length of elastic that equals your child’s waist measurement, and pin a safety pin to one end.

8. Use the safety pin to thread the elastic all the way through the casing, then sew the elastic together. This means that the elastic is now slightly smaller than your child’s waist measurement- that’s how you keep a skirt on a skinny little noodle kid.

9. Sew the casing shut, turn the skirt right side out, and admire your handiwork.

Now go make eleven more!

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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