How To: Make a T-Shirt Skirt

t-shirt skirt
You know we love de-contructing t-shirts around here at Crafting a Green World. We’ve made items for babies, adorable skirt for girls and we recommended coolΒ memorable ways to repurpose them. But how about making clothes for adults? That’s easy peasy!

How to make a skirt with a t-shirt

Making a skirt with a t-shirt is just as easy as making the girl’s skirt if you use the elastic waist method. But if you use a larger shirt for the adult size, the waist band would bunch up since there’s more fabric at the waist. So, I wanted to use the “shirring” method for my skirt so that doesn’t happen. If you don’t know how to shir (PDF), you really should try it. It’s so easy and can be very useful for many of your sewing crafts.

Let’s upcycle an adult t-shirt into a skirt!

1. Men’s T-Shirt – XL or 2XL My hip is 36″.Β  For this skirt, I used Men’s Large T-Shirt that was 54″ around the chest – measure the width of the shirt and multiply by two – but I had to wiggle a bit to get into the skirt which is fine since I wanted a slimmer fit. But the safe rule is to have the shirt’s width measurement to be twice your hip’s measurement, like XL or even 2XL. The shirts will be longer so your skirt will be longer too.
2. Thread
3. Elastic Thread
4. 3 Bobbins with elastic thread already wound by hand.
5. Scissors

Before you start, practice shirring using the scrap fabric from the t-shirt as every fabric and sewing machine is different. Adjust the tension and width of the stitching to find out how tight or loose your stitching has to be for the shirt you’ll be using. It’s better to test it before you finish your skirt, only to find out it’s too tight around the waist.

To begin, spread out your t-shirt on a flat surface. Don’t worry about any wrinkles, you can iron it after you are finished. If you are using a t-shirt from a Goodwill store, try to use a solid color shirt that is the longest and the largest. My favorite is using up my husband’sΒ old t-shirts.

Next, cut across the shirt below the armpit. If the shirt has a pocket, like this one, just cut through it and take off the leftover portion afterwards. It will be hidden when you shir the waist, so don’t worry about it.

Naturally, the bottom hem will be the bottom hem of the skirt. The top raw edge will the waist. You don’t have to finish the raw edge. Start shirring your first row, 1/8″ from the raw edge, using the presser foot as a guide. Start from one of the sides and shir all the way around, finishing the row on the opposite side. Gently stretch the fabric and pull the fabric flat when you are sewing but don’t stretch out the fabric. When you have shirred one complete row, tie the two ends of the elastics together twice so that elastic threads don’t unravel.

Continue to shir, starting a new row, 1/4″ apart. It might not look like it’s gathering initially but keep going. After about 4 or 5 rows, you’ll see the rows starting to gather.

When you finish a row, go to the opposite end and start a new row. This way, the knots are not all on one side. Since this was a short skirt, I only shirred eight rows for this skirt but you can shir as many rows as you like, depending on the size and the length of the shirt. Just know that you’ll lose about 2″ on the length.

Ta Dah!! You made a skirt! Wasn’t that easy? You can either wear it over like the photo above or under the shirt like the first photo. Either way, you now have an uber soft, easy skirt all summer long!!

This skirt can be a quick cover up after you worked out at the gym and don’t want to parade around town in gym shorts en route to your home. Or if you make a longer skirt, you can use it as a beach cover up. Actually, even if it’s short, it can be used a beach cover up!

2 thoughts on “How To: Make a T-Shirt Skirt”

  1. This intuition about the vintage of I Love New York t-shirts is correct. The origin of the design was in 1977: the Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Commerce, William S. Doyle, knew that New York had incredible potential to attract tourists. At the same time, he was aware that many tourists didn’t bother to visit the city — some were worried about crime, or annoyed by high prices, but most simply never thought to go there. He needed a slogan that would not convince people that it was a good city to visit — he needed a slogan that would take the millions of people who were already convinced, and catalyze their decision to make the trip.

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