Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Making: Shirt Skirt Tutorial

There are many things you can do to remake a men's shirt. When I first thought of this idea I had the notion that all I had to do was cut the shirt at the arms, make a casing and thread the elastic through. It was not that simple because of the overlap at the buttons. A problem with my plan! 
Check out the tutorial below to see just how I solved it.

1. Start with a men's XL shirt and a few supplies. Choose a shirt with a hemline that you like.

Other supplies you need:

Sewing machine (will make things faster but you could stitch this by hand)
Thread to match
Cutting mat & rotary cutter (helpful but not required)
Fabric marker
Two buttons
Section of 1 inch Buttonhole elastic to fit (here they sell it as Maternity Elastic)
Embellishments (optional)

Preping the shirt:

2. Press the shirt and lay it out flat. Most have darts in the back. Don't worry too much about that... we will take care of extra fabric caused by those later. Just even up the hemline and cut the shirt straight across at the arms.

Save the top half of the shirt for other projects... more on those later.

3. Unbutton the shirt and lay it out flat. The extra fabric from the darts will create a curve in the back of what will eventually become the waistline. Cut straight across to remove the curve.

Making the casing with buttonholes:

4. To make the casing at the waist use your iron to press down the top of your casing (the raw edge you just cut) 1/4 inch across the whole length of the waistline.

5. Fold again 1 1/2 inches. Iron and pin. At this point you should have the whole casing pinned.

6. Measure in 4 inches from the edge and mark that point with a pin. Do this on both sides of the casing. This is where your buttonholes are going to be made.

7. At that 4 inch point use a fabric marker to mark your buttonholes. To acommidate the 1 inch elastic make the buttonholes approx. 1 inch.

8. Unpin the section of casing near the buttonhole marks... you don't want to make buttonholes through your entire casing.

9. Make your buttonholes. One at each end of the casing.

Note: In order to make my first shirt skirt I had to teach myself how to make buttonholes. I am still learning but don't let this step worry you if you have not made a buttonhole. Just take that scrap of fabric you cut away in step 3 and practice using your sewing machine instruction manual for guidance. You can do it. 

10. Measure 1/2 inch from the buttonhole and sew your button.

11. Edge stitch along the bottom of the casing all the way around.

12. Button up the skirt and using a spare button (I used the one you saw on the casing up there in step 5) sew the top of the casing together.

13. Prep the elastic by folding over the ends and sewing to secure. Staring at one of the buttonholes thread the buttonhole elasic through the casing and attach at the buttons. By attaching a safetypin to the end of the elastic it should thread through easily. Remove the safetypin after threading.

Adjust to fit.

All finished!


If you want to add embellishemnts to make it extra fun that will just add to the charm of this cute little skirt.

I also added a few buttons to the bottom to keep things together. In the past I have also sewn up the front of the skirt alongside the buttons.

I watched the clock and even with taking pictures for documentation this little green skirt was sewn up in two hours. I later added the button snowflakes to make it festive... can't you just see this with a red sweater and holiday leggings. Fun!

I still consider myself quite the novice so if I can do it you can too.

If you have a bit more experience behind the sewing machine and see any way I could make this easier... or have any other sewing tips I would love to hear from you! Always looking to learn more!

Please let me know if you make one of these cute little skirts. Leave a link in the comments so we can see what you have done with this simple idea.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! It was fun to put together. She loves her shirt skirts!

  2. Brilliant!! I will try this one too.

    1. Let me know when you do. It really is easy and would be super great for your growing little gals.