T-shirt to skirt upcycle tutorial. Are you searching for ideas to upcycle your favorite old t-shirt into a skirt? Well here is an easy tutorial that will have you wearing a new skirt in 10 minutes. Upcycling is not only great for the environment but gives you a chance to stretch your creative muscles with a quick and easy sewing project for beginners.
T-Shirt to Skirt Upcycling
Upcycling a t-shirt to skirt will save you money and is great if you are wanting to learn how to sew knits. You don't need much in the way of supplies.
T-SHIRTS -Look for t-shirts that are the same size or larger than your hip measurements. You may even find these in your partner's wardrobe or at the local second-hand shop. Another great source of oversized t-shirts is discount men's stores.
Choosing the perfect t-shirt to skirt
The larger the t-shirt the more gathered it will look. A t-shirt the same width as your hip will create a fitted mini skirt. It is up to you whether you want a loose or tight skirt. Of course, large t-shirts can be taken in at the sides to be made tighter. Make sure that the length of the t-shirt from under the arms to the hem is 1 inch (2.5cm) longer than your desired skirt length. Men's t-shirts are usually longer in length than woman's.
ELASTIC - ¾ inch (2cm) knitted elastic. I like to use the non-twist type so it stays flatter in the casing.
SEWING SUPPLIES - Sewing machine, marking tools, ruler, scissors, pins.
STRETCH SEWING NEEDLE - Specialized needles are important for sewing stretch in order to prevent skipped stitches that may pop when you are wearing the skirt.
THREAD - The thread should match the color, weight and fabric content of your t-shirt to skirt. An all-purpose polyester thread is usually perfect. Make sure you choose a good brand that is smooth and strengthened. (Sewing thread types)
PRESSER FOOT - You can use your regular all-purpose foot, but for difficult fabrics with a lot of stretch, a Teflon sewing foot or walking foot can help get great results.
More Skirt Articles
- Simple Skirt Pattern
- Slip Skirt Pattern
- Baby Skirt Pattern
- Girls Skirt Pattern (with rabbit applique)
- How to Make a Tutu Skirt (for girls)
T-shirt to Skirt - Sewing Instructions
Step 1 - Preparation
If the t-shirt is new, start by washing it in case it shrinks and becomes too tight or short. You don't want to spend lots of time making the perfect t-shirt to skirt, only to have it not fit after the first wash.
Step 2 - Cutting
Determine the length of the skirt you wish to make and add 1 inch. This will give you the length of the t-shirt to cut starting at the hem. You will be limited by the area of the t-shirt up to the underarms. If this is not quite as long as you would like, get creative - add a ruffle to the bottom or lace to lengthen it.
Cut across the t-shirt under the arms or at our desired length plus 1 inch (2.5cm).
Step 3 - Optional for Tight Skirt
If you want a loose skirt, skip to the next step.
Try the skirt on and see if you want it tighter. In order to make it tighter, turn the t-shirt to the wrong side and sew in the side seams.
The best stitch to use is a narrow zig-zag stitch. This enables the side seams to stretch slightly and will prevent the stitches from popping as you move around. On a scrap of the t-shirt, try a width of 1.0 and a length of 2.5. Gently stretch the seam and make sure the stitches don't break. If they remain intact, you are good to go and sew the side seams.
Trim off any excess seam allowance. Because stretch fabric doesn't fray, there is no need to worry about any seam finishes. Read more about how to sew stretch fabric including what are the best stitches, needles and thread.
Step 4 - Casing
The great news is that the hem is already done so all we have to do is the waist casing!
Casing for Loose Skirts
- Turn the skirt to the wrong side and fold the top raw edge over by 1 inch (2.5cm). Stitch around the casing with a narrow zig-zag leaving a 1 inch (2.5cm) gap on one side or at the back. I use a narrow zig-zag of width 1.0 and length 2.5.
- Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and thread it through the casing.
- Overlap the ends by 1 inch and stitch.
- Push the elastic back in and stitch close the gap.
Elastic for Tight Skirts
By stitching the elastic directly to the edge of the skirt, you give a nice smooth silhouette for tight skirts.
- Overlap the ends of the elastic by 1 inch (2.5cm) and stitch. You can try the band on your waist to make sure that it is nice and tight. I like to wear skirts a little lower on my waist so put it at a level you are comfortable with.
- Mark the band in quarters.
- Mark the skirt top in quarters.
- Put the elastic on the wrong side of the skirt and match the quarter marks. The elastic will most likely be smaller than the fabric.
- Stretch the elastic between the marks and sew a wide zig-zag over the edge.
- Fold the elastic down on the inside and stitch around the edge again with a wide zig-zag stitch.
Step 4 - Embellish
Embellish your new t-shirt to skirt with lace, ric-race, pom pom trim, ruching, or using any other techniques you can think of. If you need some more ideas, then read my fabric manipulation article.
T-Shirt to Skirt - In Conclusion
Wasn't that so easy? You can make these skirts for yourself or for your kids! Never throw away a t-shirt again but instead sew a t-shirt to skirt.
Premium Skirt Patterns
Get more premium skirt patterns from my Treasurie pattern shop. These patterns have multi-sizes and detailed instructions to get great results. All sewing patterns from the Treasurie shop are PDF downloads that you can access immediately.
I do a no-sew version...& longer. The hem becomes the waist. I cut the neckline off at the shoulder seam where it meets the sleeve. Then I cut off the sleeves at the seam line... cutting off the seam. The original hem will be the waist This leaves a U-shaped opening on the bottom where the armhole is. I put a small cut in the original hem & use a safety pin to pull a cord through for a tie waist. If the T-shirt is much wider then you want you can cut off the side seams & cut 3/4" horizontal strips on the sides & tie the front & back strips to each other. Alternately, leave the seam, cut the horizontal strips & pull one loop over the next, like crochet sort of, until you get to the end & put a few tiny stitches on the last loop to hold it in place.