Introduction: How to Turn a T-shirt Into a Girl's Skirt

My 6 year old daughter LOVES skirts. She has worn them about 98% of the time since she was 2 and informed me that "princesses do NOT wear jeans", accompanied by that face that means, "what kind of moron parent are you?". Princesses are experts at this face, even 2 year old princesses.

This shirt came to me through freecycle - if you don't know about freecycle, check it out at . The shirt's not my size or style, and was two seconds from the outgoing freecycle pile. But the princess loved the glitter & bling and claimed the shirt. However, she's a girl's size 6, not a women's 18/20, so the shirt needed some adjustment.

This idea would work for an adult sized skirt also, just get a shirt that fits over your hips. Or make panels from a couple of different shirts....

Step 1: Gather Supplies & Equipment

Adult sized t-shirt

Pins - normally, I'd use straight pins, but I used safety pins here because I was pinning onto a 6 year old - a species not known its ability to stand still

Marking tool - not shown - I snagged a washable marker from a school backpack, use whatever you have, no special fabric marker required

Straight edge for marking, optional - I used the side of a note pad, you could actually use a ruler if you were inclined to get up and get one from the other room - or you could just mark freehand

Cutting tool - I used a rotary cutter & cutting mat with ruler. You could use scissors. I don't think a box cutter would work well....

Sewing machine & thread OR hand sewing needle & thread

Cost: ummm, zero... got the shirt for free, and already have the sewing machine & supplies

Time: about 20 minutes, most of which was spent pulling out & setting up sewing machine & tools

Step 2: Fit & Mark

Turn the shirt inside out & put the neck of the shirt around the child's waist. Pin the sides to fit if necessary. This shirt was a women's cut with a scoop neckline, so it had to be taken in some. I did a men's t-shirt a while back & the neckline was the perfect waist size.

I pinned loosely because I like to pin on the cutting line, then sew about 1/2" inside my mark. You can choose to pin exactly, then cut outside your marks. Use whatever works best for you.

Here, I pinned an equal amount from each side, which leaves the design centered on the front. You could put the design on the side if you wanted.

Take the shirt off the princess & release her back to her kingdom.

From the pinned neckline, draw a cutting line to the hem of the shirt. Here I drew two lines - the outer line would give a full skirt, the inside line would give a straighter skirt. I drew the outside line, then changed my mind and went for a slimmer line. Remember that it's easier to start with a full skirt and trim it later than to go too slim and add fullness. It's that whole measure twice, cut once theory.....

You could make a pattern for this, but I just eyeball it for one side, then fold in half to cut both sides the same.

Step 3: Cut

With the cutting line on top, fold the shirt in half, matching the shoulder & side seams. Pin if desired, keeping pins off cutting line.

Cut along line, either using scissors or rotary cutter & mat. I used a rotary cutter for most of the shirt, then used scissors to cut across seams where the cutter was getting stuck.

Use appropriate safety measures. Do not run with scissors. Use a cutting mat with your rotary cutter. Cut away from your body with the rotary cutter. Watch your fingers!!

Remove pins & unfold. Keep layers stacked. Match bottom hem & pin sides. If you have more sewing experience, you can skip the pins. If this applies to you, you know who you are....

Because of the scoop neck of this shirt, the shoulder (soon to be waist) seams DO NOT match. This is OK. The back of the shirt is longer, just fold it down a bit at the shoulder seam to match the front. Pin in place.

Step 4: Sew

Sew each side together. Either hand sew or use your sewing machine or serger. Use matching thread or contrasting.

I used a sewing machine with about a 1/2" seam.

I sewed with right sides together (shirt inside out), but you could put the seam on the outside for a different look.

Step 5: Wear

Turn right side out. Let princess wear her new skirt.

Step 6: Variations on a Theme

This is another freecycle shirt that we did this morning. Took about 10 minutes - again, most of the time spent pulling out sewing machine & threading it.

This was a men's XL, and the logo was printed about 4 inches off center. When I folded the shirt in "half", I centered the logo on the fold, so the parts are not even. The uneven parts are cut off, leaving a centered logo.

I also cut this shirt very full, to keep the large logo intact. This one is a bit longer, but the princess says it's "old-fashioned" and she likes it long...
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