Saturday, March 8, 2014

T-Shirt Skirt Tutorial

With a newly 3-year old daughter who loves skirts and dresses, I'm always looking for cute and easy ways to add to her wardrobe.  Enter the t-shirt skirt: cheap, minimal sewing, and lots of potential for customizing with applique, bows, buttons, trim-- you get the idea!  It's also a great way to upcycle/recycle old clothing.  So raid your closet or the local thrift store for old t-shirts, check out the tutorial below, and then share your creations with us in the I Sew, You Sew Flickr group!

Step 1:  Choose a shirt that is large enough for your skirt.  Iron your t-shirt and lay it flat on your cutting table.  Line up the bottom of the shirt so that the hem is straight.

Step 2: Measure how long you would like your skirt to be.  I used a size 4T skirt fits my daughter to estimate the size.  Since this is a simple gathered-waist skirt, I don't worry about the width-- if the shirt is wider it will be more gathered, and if it is narrower it will produce a straighter, less-gathered skirt.

Once you know how long you would like the skirt to be, add an additional 1.5 inches to account for the waistband.  Mark where you want your line to be, and cut.

Step 3: Press under 1/2 inches along the top of the skirt, and then fold and press an additional inch.  Pin in place.

Step 4: Starting in the center back, stitch along the inside edge of the waistband, leaving approximately a 2 inch opening to thread the elastic.

Step 5 (optional): Add your applique, trim, bows, or other decoration to the skirt.  This step can also be completed after the elastic has been added, but it may be easier to add these extras before the skirt is gathered.

Step 6: Cut your elastic.  I usually use 3/4 inch non-roll elastic.  A good rule of thumb is to cut your elastic one inch shorter than your child's waist measurement.  Using a safety pin or a bodkin, thread the elastic through the opening in the waistband, pulling it through the skirt.  Using a zig-zag stitch sew the ends of the elastic together with an 1/2 inch seam.

Step 7:  Stretch the waistband and the elastic so that the opening lays flat, and then stitch the opening closed along the inside fold, matching the other stitching.

And you're all done!  No hemming the bottom, no sewing the sides--  that's about as easy at it gets!

We'd love to see what you're creating, so if you have a t-shirt skirt you'd like to share, add it to our Flickr pool, which can be found here.

Happy Sewing!


  1. That is so cute,and so simple. Gonna go find the stuff to make a couple.

    1. Donna, I hope you share your skirts on our flickr page! We love to see what other people are making, it inspires us!

  2. I love this! I've made these for years, but I've never added the applique like you did! The fabric choices work together nicely. This is being featured at this week's link party! Love it!