T-shirt Skirt




About: I am a self-taught folk artist working in many mediums, primarily kiln fired clay beads.

This is a skirt that you customize for yourself. You can make the panels out of old t-shirts, old lace or you can buy all the materials if you want. It's fun to be resourceful and recycle. You can get really creative with the panels and do a theme...like Harley Davidson T-shirts. It doesn't have to be hemmed and you can make it as long as you want. The waistband is made from an old t-shirt of your own so you know it fits. This would be a great maternity skirt. This is a great sewing project for learning how to sew because there is little cost and it allows you to be really creative.

I am listing one of these skirts in my Etsy store.

Step 1: Choosing a T-shirt for the Waistband.

Take an old T-shirt, preferably one that is fitted and fits you well, but you don't wear anymore.

Step 2: Cutting the T-shirt for the Waistband.

Cut the bottom hem and top of shirt off.

Step 3: Making Sure the Waistband Fits.

Fold it to make a waistband. This is where you can adjust the waistband. We had to take in the waistband because it was loose, but if you choose well you shouldn't have to do that. Sew the raw ends together if you want so the fabric is doubled and secure.

You don't have to fold the waistband, but it makes it more durable. If it's for a maternity skirt or if you prefer bunching it for style you can leave it a single layer. If you leave it a single layer you can use i as a dress or a top.

Step 4: Important Step!! Measure Where You Want Waistband to End!

Measure where you want the waistband to end. This is important for style but is especially important if you are using mixed fabrics like we did. Cotton eyelet has no stretch, so the hips are the biggest circumference requiring little need for stretch. My daughter chose where on her hips she wanted the waistband to end. She measured 35.5". We rounded it up to 36" to compensate for error. Divide by six because you will need six panels to make this skirt.

If you are larger you should divide by a larger number. For instance a friend was 45" so we divided by 9. It looks better even though it's a little more work.

It doesn't matter how many panels there are.

If you are alternating colors for each panel the number you divide by has to be an even number.

Step 5: Measurement for the Top of the Panel Pattern.

This is where we start making our pattern for the panel. We start at the top of the pattern for the panel. We added 0.5" to our measurement of 6" for the seam allowance needed for each panel. Now the top of each panel will measure 6.5". Mark each end of the 6.5" with a line on the top of a large sheet of paper.

Step 6: Matching Your Marks.

Fold paper in half so the marks at the top where you measured match then fold the paper in half. Make sure the marks are equal distance from the fold line. In our case the measurement would be 3.25" from the fold line to the mark on each side of the paper.

Step 7: What Length Do You Want the Skirt?

Measure the length you want the skirt from the bottom of where the waistband sits.

Step 8: Mark the Length on Your Pattern.

Add 2" for error to the length you have chosen, unless you are using a fabric with a finished hem like eyelet, then only add 1" to the length for error.

Step 9: How Wide Do You Want Your Skirt to Flare?

My daughter wanted a wide skirt. From the top(where we measured 6.5"), measure along the fold line the length you want the skirt to be and make a mark. At the bottom of the folded paper where you made the mark for length, measure away from the fold half the width you want the panel to be. In our case it was 7" from the paper fold, making the bottom width of each panel 14". Cut excess paper off the bottom of panel then draw a line at the open side of your paper from the top marks to the bottom marks.

Step 10: Cleaning Up the Panel Pattern.

and cut excess paper off on open side.

Step 11: Wedge Shaped Pattern.

You should end up with a wedge shaped pattern. Here is the finished pattern for our skirt panel. 6.5" at top, 14" at the bottom, and 19" in length.

Step 12: Cutting the Fabric.

Now cut out the amount of panels you need and sew them together, in our case it was six. You can leave the seams out. You can double the fabric like we did. You can use old T-shirts to make the panels. It's customized by you. If you want the bottom to look ragged then sew your panels from the top seam. With the eyelet we sewed from the bottom.

This is a great skirt pattern for recycling fabric...every panel can be different if the fabric weight is the same (don't use corduroy and chiffon together...the seams will tear).

Step 13: Completing the Skirt.

My daughter wanted eyelet with a pink underskirt. If you use eyelet there is a right side to the fabric and it needs to be sewn from the bottom of the skirt on each panel so the eyelet edges align. We did have to take in the waistband. Then pin the skirt body and waistband together and tuck in places so the waistband fits. Fitting the waistband is more of a problem when using two skirt fabrics together. I tack it together then let my daughter try it on. If she likes the way it looks I sew it securely.



    • DIY Summer Camp Contest

      DIY Summer Camp Contest
    • Barbecue Challenge

      Barbecue Challenge
    • Beauty Tips Contest

      Beauty Tips Contest

    20 Discussions

    I made a comfy 100% cotton nightgown, using a mens XXXL tshirt, altered according to the 'ible "boxy to foxy" for the bodice. This alteration makes the sleeves fit a woman better. I left the sides wide, because I like my nighties to be loose. I then used 2 mens XXXL tshirts to make 6 skirt panels according to this 'ible. I cut the bottom hem off the bodice part, and stretched it a bit to fit the skirt. Sleeps great! Thanks for the project!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Are there any special considerations if you double the fabric to make an underskirt? Did you make panels for the underskirt the same way you did the skirt and if so, did you make them about a half inch longer or just adjust when you attached them to the waistband?

    If I were using a fabric I purchased, would I just hem the bottom after attaching all the panels, and would it look good with a simple straight hem at the bottom or is there anything special to do?

    I'm a total beginner at sewing.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Nancy,
    Sorry it took over a year to reply.
    1)"Are there any special considerations if you double the fabric to make an underskirt?"
    You might have trouble if you used a stretchy fabric for the underskirt, but if you basted the two skirts together before you attach them to to waistband, you would see any problems and be able to fix them. Always try to keep the side people see looking pretty.

    2) "Did you make panels for the underskirt the same way you did the skirt and if so, did you make them about a half inch longer or just adjust when you attached them to the waistband?"
    We made the underskirt exactly the same way. I'm sure we adjusted the skirts before sewing them together to make sure the hems were perfectly aligned. You can baste the skirts together at the top and cut off any excess, then sew them to the waistband.

    3)If I were using a fabric I purchased, would I just hem the bottom after attaching all the panels, and would it look good with a simple straight hem at the bottom or is there anything special to do?
    I would hem the skirt after attaching the panels. I would iron it so you can tease the fabric into place and pin it before sewing. I don't think we hemmed the underskirt. I think we serged it. You want to keep the underskirt lightweight. A thick hem might be noticeable on an underskirt.


    7 years ago on Step 13

    Love this tutorial. I would love to try this with denim. T shirt would be great too.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Gored skirts are so flattering on a lot of different shapes. Ive seen some very interesting ones like having the panels on an angle so it looks like the panels are wrapping around you. hehe looked like alot of work to me untill i was shown how it was made.
    Very Nice project thanks for sharing.


    8 years ago on Step 13

    That is a wonderful idea! Especially pinning it together to be sure it fits.

    On a different note:
    If you daughter is still growing, leave some room to compensate, otherwise, she will out-grow it before she gets to wear it much.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    So cute. I did something similar for maternity wear when I was expecting. It's also very comfortable afterward. Clothes that don't bind are especially important if you end up with a c-section.

    This will also definitely look great on my skinny teenager, though. I love the idea of leaving the t-shirt a single layer so she can scrunch it however she likes. It can be hard to buy clothes for a kid who is so thin and yet tall, as much as the fashion magazines want you to think only thin girls can wear their clothes. Ugh. Something like this is super cute, though.

    Cat Song

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Great skirt! I wish I had known about it when I was pregnant. Looks so comfortable, I'm going to shop in my closet for supplies!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Oh my God! This is so cool. I have a lot of old fabric in bright colors and funny pattern lying around, and I have wondered how I could make them into a nice looking skirt. This is the perfekt way. :) Thanks!

    Thanks so much for this awesome idea, I've recently found out I'm pregnant for the second time, and struggled so much with decent, well-priced maternity clothes the first time. With your idea, I just converted my favourite skirt (which I couldn't fit into since I got pregnant with my first as it had no give) into a maternity skirt I can also wear when not pregnant... the front panel (I made the front t-shirt part come lower than the back as the back looked funny as low as it was once I cut off the top part of the skirt that didn't fit me) is low enough and stretchy enough to see me all the way through to the ninth month of pregnancy in total comfort! But I can also fold down the waistband and wear it while not pregnant! My photo shows the side of the skirt so you can see how far up the back comes and where I've attached the t-shirt. It also has a t-shirt part at the back, it just starts higher. You can even see the start of a “baby bump” at the front! Thanks again! Favourited!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you so much. This is such a great idea. I wish I had known about it for my pregnant daughter in law, since the waistband has some give. Now, I'll just make it for myself. Great idea!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I am so gonna make this.. I am gonna make it shorter though, not too much, just over the knee. very cute!


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructions for folks like me who can sew but can't follow a pattern to save their lives! I love the fact that the waist band is a t-shirt so there is no messing about with zips. I'm going to go try this one!


    12 years ago on Introduction

    i got to make this for my girlfriend p.s nice instructable