Introduction: The Shirt Skirt
The Shirt Skirt is the best skirt you'll ever own! It's shirred waistband allows has plenty of give and allows the wearer to be comfortable at all time. They're perfect for when you're pregnant, they're perfect for after you have the baby. They're perfect if you change size or shape or hate your clothes. They're just simply PERFECT. Comfortable, casual, and cheap.
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I call this The Shirt Skirt for 1 good reason: it's made from a tshirt!!
I prefer to get my shirts from Goodwill. Their tshirts are $2.09. But they tag everything with a colored tag and every week a different color is half price. So I usually seek out shirts that are the weekly color to score them for $1.05!
So, get your super cheap thrifted shirt. The bigger you buy it, the better. It's hard to find them with stripes, so I'm always drawn to those first. If you really want a pattern, check out the polos. They're more expensive, but if you get them half price, they're still in the $2-$3 range. As with anything you get second hand, check it out to make sure it's not faded, full of holes, or stained. I like to wash mine before I begin sewing.
To determine what shirt size you should get, just make sure it will go around you. Most of the shirts I use are at least 24" across (so 48" total diameter). You lose 2-3 inches after you shirr it, so take that into consideration. Like I said, the bigger the better!
So, lay your shirt out flat, and whack it off right under the sleeves. This doesn't need to be perfect. That's the beauty of this skirt. No measuring, no perfection. Wing it–you won't be disappointed!
I like to use thread the same color as my fabric. You don’t notice sewing boo-boos so much if the thread blends in. But if you're gutsy enough, use a contrasting thread! You’ll also need an elastic bobbin so your skirt will shirr.
**There are several places online to find information on shirring. It's an easy skill and one you can master quickly. When you shirr, you only need elastic in your bobbin. Use regular thread on the top. You can find elastic thread in any store that has elastic products. I've purchased it in JoAnn's, Hancock, and Walmart. It will be with other elastic notions, not with thread.
Hand wind your elastic bobbin. You don't need to pull the elastic or have extra slack in it. Just wind it from the spool it comes on, filling your bobbin. Then load it in your machine and sew.
You want to start close to the edge so you don't have a huge ruffly waist band. There’s no need to hem the top band, your knit shirt won't fray. I like my first row of stitching to be 1/8th of an inch from the top of the skirt. So I line my fabric up with the edge of my presser foot and put my needle in the right position.
Now, I break a rule of shirring. Instructions will tell you to leave your threads and tie them. Well, I threw that rule out the window 6 skirts and 2 dresses ago! When I start sewing, I back stitch a few stitches, then sew all the way around the skirt. When I get back to my starting point, I back stitch twice (so back 3-4 stitches, forward 3, back 3, forward 3) then leave my elastic ends about 1/4" long.
There's no need to mark your rows. Just use the edge of your presser foot as your guide as you sew. I like to put my needle in the left position, but my machine doesn't like that lately. Sewing at 1/4" rows with the needle in the middle turns out just fine so that's what I do 95% of the time.
Unlike 100% cotton that doesn't shrink much as you sew, knit shrinks up LOTS. So you need to make sure you pull the shirt flat as you sew. Use medium pressure when you pull. You don't want to work against your machine, so don't pull hard. Do it in small sections to maintain control over where you're sewing.
When you get back to the start, hold the fabric open and flat while you do your back stitching.
Just keep sewing as many rows as you want! I do somewhere in the neighborhood of 12-15, depends on my mood and the length of the skirt. I generally need to use 2-3 elastic bobbins, so you might want to wind several before you start sewing to save yourself the hassle. Check your bobbin between rows to make sure you have enough to get back around. It's okay if you don't, just back stitch a few times with the new one and keep going. It just doesn't look as tidy that way.
And that's it! The best skirt you'll ever own!