Introduction: DIY Upcycled Skirt From 2 Men's Shirts - No Waste Tutorial by Upmade

About: Hi, my name is Ilona. I love to make things out of materials that are seemingly garbage. I joined instructables to share my ideas and techniques for reusing and transforming our waste into something more usefu…

People often give me materials that they think could be reused, and I'm always happy to accept them because it makes me eternally grateful that they thought twice before throwing them "away."

I was given 6 men's shirts (size M) one day. Used, but still in great condition. I wasn't in a hurry to get to them because they could still be donated and reused in their original form. I didn't, however, have a place to store them at the time, so they kept floating around the workshop, being moved from one place to another. One day I sat beside them, analyzed their qualities for a bit, and then something just clicked. I thought to button two shirts together to make a big skirt. I chose 2 shirts that combined well together and hurriedly buttoned them together as I ran to the mirror to try it on.

I had a good laugh when I saw the result because I actually really liked it and it took shape in less than 1 minute!

I dared to wear it out the next day and someone pointed out that the group next to us was admiring my skirt. I was definitely surprised, but also inspired to say that maybe one day I'll make a tutorial for it. So, here we are...

Let me know what you think! Would you rock it? Do you have any ideas for how to take it up a notch?

Step 1: Materials

+2 short sleeve men's shirts (see next step for how to select size and other details)


+matching thread


+shoelace or other material for tying, which preferably comes to a point like a shoelace (will not be visible)

Step 2: Choosing the Shirts

For reference, I used Medium size shirts and have a small waist.

We want the collars of the two shirts combined to wrap around our waist, so the easiest way to to know what size you need is to try it on. Because the basic shape of the skirt can be achieved in less than 1 minute, there's nothing to stop someone from trying this at their local thrift shop if they can't find the ideal combination at home.

Some tips for choosing the shirts:

+Choose similar fabrics. Some fabrics might be more droopy, silky, etc than others. If you have different fabric weights for example, one side might hang down heavier than the other and not really match the look of the other side. If that's not what you're going for, select similar or a combination that you feel works well together.

+Choose similar shapes so that both sides of the skirt are nicely balanced.

+Choose colors and patterns that you like - maybe something that can match a top from your closet that needs a partner in crime.

+Button the shirts as shown to see if their lengths match. In this case, they don't, but that doesn't bother me because that part wasn't visible when I tried it on.

Step 3: Trying It On

+Button down the skirt from both sides.

+Slip it on and see if it fits.

+The collars should be lifted up. The ends will overlap, so you get to choose which color you want on top

+Bring the collar ends together to hug your waist comfortably and clip or pin together to get a better idea of how it will look

+Turn the sleeves inwards as shown

I don't have a photo of this, but you can also try wearing the skirt with the buttoned down parts to the sides, so that you have one color in the back and the other in the front.

This step actually takes just a few minutes and as seen in the photos, the skirt has already taken it's shape. All that's left is sewing a few stitches to reinforce the details.

Step 4: This Might Happen...

In this example, the buttons of one shirt aren't spaced the same as the button holes of the one we're connecting it to. So instead of laying flat, it comes up into a bit of a bulge that I'm not very fond of. Fortunately this only shows on one side, and only between these two particular buttons.

I folded the excess material as shown, pinned in place and sewed a couple of stitches to make it official.

Step 5: Sewing 1st Side

Having my collars pinned together, I chose a matching thread and sewed together as neatly as possible.

Step 6: 2nd Side

Instead of sewing together like we did for the 1st side, we want this side to have a button so we can actually put on and take off the skirt.

+Now that the first side is sewn in place, try the skirt on again to see how the collar ends come together on the other side. It will not come off you if it's pinned together, but you can mark with a pencil crayon or take a picture so that you can pin it after taking it off.

+In my case, I need to sew a button on the red shirt so I can use the button hole from the navy color shirt. I will make sure that the button I use is also from the navy color shirt, and specifically the one meant for that button hole. I can fold the collar down the way it's meant to sit and see which button the buttonhole lines up with. Cut it off.

+Prepare your needle and thread.

+To find where to sew the button, align the collars as they should come together.

+Drive the needle through the middle of the button hole as shown.

+Pin the collar with the button hole to the side so you can sew on the button.

+Cut all the extra buttons off. They can be used as a decorative detail elsewhere on the skirt or use for another project.

Step 7: Turning Sleeves Into Pockets

Here we need to turn the skirt inside out so we can give those sleeves the final touch that will turn them into pockets.

The cuts only need to be big enough to drive the shoelace (or material of choice) through the fabric channel that is already there. Shoelace works perfectly because it has a solid tip that is easy to feel under the fabric as I'm pulling it through.

Once out through the other side, hold one end (not the one with the pointed tip if you want to reuse it) and pull the other end until the sleeve is all scrunched together tightly.

Tie a double knot to hold in place.

Cut ends at least 1 inch from the knot to prevent the knot from coming undone.

Repeat for the other 3 sleeves.

I used about half of a shoelace for all 4 sleeves.

Step 8: Wear It Out!

We essentially created the base of a skirt from 2 shirts in no time! This is my basic version, but there is no doubt in my mind that one can come up with all sorts of different ways to tweak the design or style it.

I think next time I'll wear my skirt, it will be to the garden, so I can use the giant pockets to cultivate the fruit of the land!

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!

Unusual Uses Challenge

Runner Up in the
Unusual Uses Challenge

Reuse Contest

Runner Up in the
Reuse Contest