Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Earth Day Blog Hop: Shirts Into Skirts

When I first started sewing, I was into baby blankets and accessories, so upcycling didn't cross my mind much. Buying new fabrics was too much fun!

Fast forward a few years and a few kids later. Buying new fabrics is still fun - but upcycling has become almost a necessity, to keep me from filling up landfills with discarded clothing and keep my kids in play clothes that I don't mind so much if they destroy them. (Like most toddlers/preschoolers, they can be hard on their clothing!)

Just measure the length you want the skirt to be (plus the waistband - elastic size + 1/4" or so).
Custom fit elastic by wrapping it gently around child's waist, then subtract 2 inches.
One of the best upcycles is cutting up old t-shirts to make little skirts for my girls. It's really instant gratification sewing - using the existing hem on the t-shirt makes it twice as fast as any other skirt, and all you have to do is make a casing, pop in some elastic, and you're done! I can vary the length of the skirt by how much of the t-shirt I cut off, and the tops are great for saving for shirt sleeves, doll clothes, or knit scraps for stuffing pillows or stuffed toys!

I like to use a long zigzag for my knits when I sew. The tape shows how wide I'm
measuring the waistband for 3/4" elastic.
With a pair of Summer Shorties (free pattern alert!) or some simple leggings, these quick and simple skirts are perfect for any weather or activity!

Sew a channel from the right side, using your fingers to
find the edge of the fabric.
Make sure your elastic doesn't twist in the channel! Layer it
one side over the other so it will lie flat!

Sewing an "x box" is the best way to make sure your elastic never pops apart
in the waistband! Use a slightly longer straight stitch, and make sure you backstitch the ends!
Check out all the stops on the Earth Day Blog hop round up:
April 19: Seam of My Pants
April 20: EYMM - Create 3.5


  1. Its amazing the volume of clothes kids get through, anything to reduce landfill, save the wallet and have some fun:)

    1. Isn't it!? I love being able to use MY old things too, instead of getting rid of them! I don't wear out my clothes quite as fast, but I get tired of them!

  2. Great idea to turn shirts into skirts! I've been using the bottom half of shirts to add to bodices to make dresses but I never thought to use them as standalone skirts. This was a total "duh!" moment for me! ;)

    1. Haha! I haven't used them for dresses yet, but I've thought about it a ton! Should get on that ;)

  3. I love making simple skirts for my daughter this way! So quick and easy! :) Lisa

    1. Aren't they? Nothing like a sewing project you can do in 30 minutes or less when you need a pick-me-up!

  4. Upcycle/recycle projects are really my favorite projects! I have endless t-shirts and other clothing in my fabric closet waiting to be turned into something new. Great tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing at my craft party on Thursday! Would love to see your newest posts this week, which starts at 7pm EST.