Friday, June 4, 2010

T-shirt Skirt Tutorial

Okay so I want you to come along with me on this journey of a fat man's T-shirt.  We are going to take this $5 Fruit of the Loom Wal-Mart T-shirt in a size 4X, and turn it into the cutest Summer skirt West of the Mississippi. There are about to be a lot of pictures, and this is going to appear to be quite a process, but trust me when I say that this is sooo easy, fun, and the results are worth the few hours you will put into this.  So just so you won't give up on me before we even start I'm going to show you the before and after, then I feel certain you'll stick along for the journey.



Are you in?  I am so in love with this project and am absolutely thrilled with the results.  Believe me when I say I want one in every color.  Okay so here's how you do it.

First you'll need to find a skirt in your closet to use as a pattern.  I used this skirt I bought a couple of summers ago at Kohl's.  It's a jersey knit skirt and has a similar style to what I was going for.

Now take your shirt and fold it in half.  (Okay so if you're a skinny mini (I'm more on the round and squishy side) you may not need to buy the 4X, but just think about it this way, you might as well buy the shirt that has the most fabric on it -more bang for your buck.  So I'd go ahead and order the XXXXL.)  Then place your skirt also folded in half on top of the shirt. Like this.

Place the skirt pretty high up to the neck line of the shirt.  You can put the waist line up high because you're going to create your waistline out of the bottom of this T-shirt, so you won't need to account for the waistline on top.

Now you'll want to cut the bottom of the shirt off.  I was able to get 8 inches, this will be used for the ruffle and the waistline.  If you don't have a rotary cutter and mat you can do the same thing with some fabric scissors.

Once you've cut the bottom off you need to angle another cut along the same line as your pattern skirt, like this.  Then cut along that line as well.

Once you make that angled cut you'll be left with two triangular shaped pieces that will become the front and back of your skirt.  You should also have your 8 inch piece you cut off of the bottom.

Next I took my 8 inch band from the bottom and cut it in half.  The top half I used to make my ruffle and the bottom half with the hem I saved for my waistband.

But don't get rid of those sleeves just yet.  We'll need a 4 inch band off of each one of them to add to the piece for the ruffle.   Basically cut the hem of the arm off, and then cut the part that goes by the arm and shoulder so that you have a 4 inch band, do this to both sleeves.

Cut those bands to make two 4 inch wide strips of fabric.  Now you're going to piece these together with the top half of your band that you cut off of the bottom of your shirt so that you have one long 4 inch wide strip.  This will be used for the ruffle (but save the band with the hem line on it for your waist band).

Before we can make the ruffle you'll want to hem one side of your ruffle strip.  I just folded over a little bit and stitched that down, and folded again and stitched down again to make my hem.  This is a horrible picture, but you get the idea.  You don't have to fold it over twice because the T-shirt fabric won't fray, but I think it just gives it a more finished look if you do.

Now for the ruffle.

Okay so there are a few different ways to make a ruffle.  I think some of you even have fancy presser feet that do all of the work for you.  I don't have one of those, so I'm going to show you this trick that my Mom taught me.  You will need some of this elastic cording.  I got this also at Wal-Mart for $0.97.

Cut a piece of this cording that is the same length as your pieced together ruffle strip.

Secure an end of this to the unhemed side of your ruffle strip by sewing across it.

Then you're going to zig zag over the cord without stitching into it.  Like this.

See how I am stitching across, but not through it with a zig zag stitch.  You just kind of feed this in with your hand, and pull it snug from the other side, do this all along your ruffle strip edge.

Once you've finished it should look like this all across the whole piece.

Now you take the open edge of the elastic cord and pull, and gather your fabric as you go.  This takes a little time, but you'll get the feel of it.  You want your ruffle to be long enough to go around the whole bottom of your skirt so you just have to play with it until you get it long enough.

Now you need to take your front and back piece and put them right sides together, pin, and sew up the edge seams.  That's a lot of pins, I know, but when you're sewing this together you don't want your fabric to move, so better safe than puckered and sorry.

Again, pin the heck out of it.  It's a lot of pins, I know, but it will hold it all in place to assure that you have a nice stitch line.  Make sure you are pinning the right sides together and that your bottom hem will fall inside of your skirt.

Now head back to your sewing machine and sew the ruffle on.  When you get all the way around the bottom of your skirt you'll need to sew the end seams of the ruffle together.  Also make sure you are stitching along the bottom of the elastic cord so that those zig zag stitches don't show on your finished skirt.

Phew.  This is looking very involved, but it's not.  I just like to show each step of the process.  But don't worry, we're almost done.

Next up we're going to make our waistline.  Take the 4 inch band we cut off of the very bottom of the skirt and try it onto your waist.  Figure out how much of it you need to cut off to make it fit snugly, and then cut that off.  Then take your two edges and sew them together to get a waist band.  You're going to then take this waist band and sew it onto the top of your skirt.  Again with the pinning, I know, but trust me that you're going to want to put a lot of pins to hold it in place while you sew.

Once you've sew on the waist band you're done! That wasn't so bad, right?  I even ironed the skirt so you could see how cute it turns out and you don't have to look at my wrinkled fat man's T-shirt anymore!

Okay so disclosure here: I don't like full body pictures.  Mostly because I don't have the cutest full body.  Remember the round and squishy discussion we had earlier?  Not to mention that my legs haven't seen the sun in 9 months, but I wanted you to somewhat see how cute it looks on.  So I had Dallas snap a photo.

What do you think?  Are you going to try this?  I think you should, and I think I need a few more fat men's T-shirts to project runway-up some more skirts.  Let me know if you give this a try.  Like I said, I didn't invent anything about this, I'm just showing you my take on it. I've seen a lot of skirts in blog land that use T-shirts for waistbands, I just figured I might as well use the whole shirt.  Check out my sister Katie's cute shirt turned skirt here.

P.S. This is the same way I made Hallie's skirt, only instead of using a T-shirt I used fabric.

I'm linking up!

Join us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up party!


mle said...

Oh my goodness! This is sooo stinkin' cute it almost makes me want to sew!! : ) I was just lamenting that I need some new summer clothes and shorts shopping is incredibly depressing. I'm gonna check out some clearance racks for a trial run. thanks for the tips : )

brittanydaw said...

I LOVE IT! Now if I could try and sit and sew it without interruptions...

Sarah said...

so cute nancy! you make it look so easy too.

Curt & Alexandra said...

That is so adorable! I definitely want to try that for myself as well!

The Pennington Point said...

I can't believe it! That is so stinkin cute. Now I am going to have to make some for my girls. Wouldn't they be great for wearing over a swimsuit? Lisa~

Steph said...

I will have a stack of t-shirts to bring when I come. So cute! Now, I just need to learn how to sew!!

the thrifty ba said...

i love that you left the sticker on the shirt the whole time you were crafting! oh, and the skirt is adorable! it reminds me of the one thay have/had at down east that i love!

onehm said...

Nancy! This is awesome!
Thank you for sharing it.

Michelle said...

Great step by step tutorial. This project looks like something my girls could do for some summer fun!

Autumn said...

Nancy, your directions are so good that I might just try this. Scary thought, me sewing, but I do have a sewing machine and I think I just might dig it out. I'll let you know how it goes.

Lynette @ My Craft Discovery said...

This is very very cute. And I will definitely be trying this one out! I can't wait. :)

pam said...

You are so good with T shirts, I should have let you alter the one for Travis yourself! Then it would have been more to his liking. The skirt looks great and I love the color.

Becky said...

Amazing, girl! The things you can do with a fat man's t! Ha. I love it :) Let's make some cute t's into skirts when I'm in town!!

p.s. last time I sewed with mom, I had an a-ha moment: "You can sew anything if you use enough pins." Ain't it the truth!

Velma said...

This is sooooo cute!!!!! I'm new to sewing but I think I have to try it! You made the instructions so easy!!!

Two Beautiful Girls Mommy said...

This is just what I have been looking for! I wanted a nice comfy white skirt for summer and now I can make one! Thank you!!

Trish said...

Hi! I guess I'm your new neighbor. At least that's what my new neighbor, Summer, said when she pointed me to your blog. LOL
I love the blog and LOVE this t-shirt skirt. I'm definitely going to make some for myself and maybe my girls for the summer. Although my girls are a little older than yours and don't always think it's "cool" for me to make their clothes. :P
I look forward to meeting you around the neighborhood sometime.

Maren said...

Hi Nancy, I want to feature this tutorial on our sewing site and link it back to you. Is there anyway I can use your before and after pictures to illustrate it? You can find our blog at:

Thanks, Maren

Maren said...

I finally wrote up the post on your fab skirt. I had to make 3 skirts first and people have asked where I got them. Thank you for doing this sweet tutorial.

You Rock!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nancy - I just completed this skirt in brown and I love how it turned out. Great idea and fabulous directions! I don't have a blog, but if I did I would probably wonder if anyone really made the things I photographed and wrote about. If you ever wonder, the answer is YES! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this.

Daily Craft said...

Great project! I just wanted to let you know that we featured this project on our Facebook page with almost 12,000 fans. We’d love it if you’d use our Featured Blogger button, available at: Our audience loved the project and we look forward to sharing more from you. Please let us know if you have any questions or projects you’d love us to feature! Thanks!

Sarah Beth said...

I just found your blog and am loving this skirt. In fact I have the black and white skirt as well! Looking forward to seeing more tutorials!!

Anonymous said...

This just made me break out my sewing machine. Thanks for a great idea!! Deborah

Erica said...

This is so cute! I like to grab huge t-shirts for $1-2 during clearance season at WalMart. I'm going to have to try this! I've never done a "lettuce edge" but I may have to try it...I think it would be really cute for the bottom of the ruffle!

CT Avon Rep said...

OK this might sound like a stupid question but trying a skirt & ruffle will be new to me - do you leave the cording in or do you take it out before you're done

Unknown said...

I need another skirt on the bottom half. Lol