Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Black and white stripe upcycle: Shirt into skirt!

Thank goodness, I've been able to do a little sewing recently.  This summer has been so busy with the wedding and honeymoon and all that it's been awkward to find time!  Plus, it's so dern HOT in the upstairs sewing room/office when I get home from work that I basically only have weekend mornings to sew.

Which is why I'm so happy I had time to do this quickie little project over the weekend!  It literally took less than an hour.  Ready??

It's no secret that I love stripes.  You'll notice my "cute clothes" pinboard is full of them, and I've been wearing and refashioning striped tees and sweaters for some time now!  But my obsession has been growing stronger recently.

On my last trip to Goodwill Outlet, or "the bins," I bought this sort of hilarious shirt from the Boy Meets World-era, because of its fabulous stripes--for $1.39/lb.  Most things are worth $1.39/lb; great price for raw materials, anyway!

I knew I wanted to turn it into something else, but what?!  It's a much heavier cotton than tees are made of now, heavier than a basic Hanes tee and 100% cotton.  Sturdy enough for quite a few project ideas.  Bag?  Skirt?  Tank?  I love me some stripes, in many forms--I went to Pinterest for inspiration.

If I ever feel brave, I could have made some modifications to turn it into a tee like this one:

But when I tried the shirt on I wasn't quite feeling it.  So I looked around at skirts!  (I have been looooving the fashion blogs recently.  Wish I had the energy to pose for pictures of myself in cute outfits all the time!)
Anne M Cramer

Bold, sorta classic, and FUN!  The shirt's purpose was set.  Thanks, fashion blogs + online stores!

Want to see a tutorial for how I turned this tee into a skirt?

  •  I removed the pocket and (rustic '90's) button.

  •  I cut off the sleeves just to the inside of the shoulder seam, to save the maximum amount of usable fabric just in case.

  • Then, so I could try it on as a skirt to try it out for length, I cut off the longest possible length it could be, just below one of the stripes below the neck.

  • I tried it on.  No pics of this.  Basically I was wearing a shirt with no arms or shoulder seam!  It was an awkwardly long length, so I marked a good place for a scant 1/2" seam below the waistband and cut off some more from the top.

  • Then I picked the twill tape off the split at the hem.  One of the sides was tearing up the side seam anyway.

  • I just sewed the side seam closed on both sides....

  • I don't have a serger, but to keep the seam allowance together I zigzagged along the edge.

  • I did the same thing at the top, which, after I'd cut it down after trying it on, had a sort of awkward angle.  I sewed a straight line from the slimmest part of the skirt up to the top, and then zigzagged along the new edge.  Then I cut off the excess seam allowance.

  • Next, I marked the center front and back with little triangular notches, and gathered along the top edge...

  • And got my elastic waistband ready by sewing it up the center back, right sides together.

  • Same as you would any simple elastic-waist gathered skirt, position your gathers pretty evenly around, matching your center front, back and sides.
  • Key point: I recommend using a ballpoint needle for sewing on knits or elastic, but the real key here for me is the zigzag stitch.   I zigzagged along the whole thing!  In black thread, of course.  That way, when I stretch the elastic waistband over my hips, the seam can stretch along with it.

And here it is!

I feel so trendy in it! ;)  I love when I can mix black and white with tan, since I feel so unnatural in lots of black.  I paired it with a fave tomato red tank and a vintage camel belt.

Inspired by the real fashion blogs out there that I admire... had some fun posing!

I wore it an hour or so after I made it to another birthday celebration we did with friends.  Mmm, fresh Thai cabbage wraps...

Instant gratification sewing is THE BEST.  Less than an hour plus one super cheap shirt = trendy me!


  1. Anonymous9/13/2011

    Cute skirt. Love the idea of upcycling (vs. recycling) a T-shirt.

  2. Oh my goodness, I love this skirt! I follow you on pintrest and I'm always re-pinning your pins because, like you - I love stripes!!! This is such a brilliant refashion and I love the way you styled it too - gorgeous necklace and top.

    And those thai wraps look delish!

  3. super cute!!!!


  4. I have been jonesing for a striped skirt but I haven't found any fabric that I like. You just gave me an excellent idea!

  5. Anonymous9/13/2011

    Wow, that turned out fantastic! You'd never be able to tell that it was a shirt! Great job!! :)

  6. LOVELY, I think the transformation is fantastic. I was wondering why you zigzaged? I never serge my jersey for the sake of ease.

  7. This is awesome! I need to go find some striped material, pronto.

  8. I love these types of repurposing ideas ! your skirt turned out great !

  9. That skirt is so cute and I love the entire outfit. You are so talented and creative!!!

  10. wooow. so easy so cute..

  11. I would love the recipe for those thai cabbage wraps- they looked delicious!

  12. So cute! It looks amazing--and I love the "fashion spread" shots!

  13. You make it look SO EASY! I need to make one myself. And you look super stylish, I think you should totally do more fashion pictures of yourself :)

  14. It's adorable!! I want one.

    P.S. You're so pretty!

  15. Thanks for this post. I tried making one of the elastic waist skirts before, but after gathering and sewing to the wide elastic, it wouldn't stretch enough to put on!! Because of this post, I realized why :) Thanks for the suggestion of using zig-zag stitch to attach it, might actually try it again. I love how easy and cute they look, hopefully it will work this time.

  16. This is fabulous! SO trendy and cute. :)

  17. This is a great tutorial, thanks! I like the way it looks on you, especially paired with the red.

  18. Thanks, everyone!! Aaaw, so many nice compliments =)

    It was a super fun project, glad you like all the pics!

  19. gorgeous upcycle!!


  20. It looks really cute! I've been looking at those striped skirts, too. I may have to make one this fall...

  21. Anonymous9/15/2011

    Great refashion! Your entire outfit looks so fashionable.

  22. Anonymous9/15/2011

    This looks so fab! I think I'd look like a box wearing a skirt like that, so until I'm brave enough to try I'll just admire it on you :)

  23. Such a fun and lovely idea!!! Love!!



  24. lovely results!! very cute and looks so comfy :) was it originally a man or woman's shirt?? thanks for the how-to!!

  25. that came out so well! You look gorgeous in it, and I would never guess that started out as a top, haha.

    Chic on the Cheap

  26. I am looking for a skirt just like that! Maybe I can find a T-shirt instead and make one. I love it.

  27. Thanks!!

    @Carla, it was definitely a woman's shirt. Meant to fit loosely, though!

    @Kelsey, I think H&M had some skirts kinda like this not too long ago...

  28. As someone also obsessed with stripes, I love this skirt! Thanks for the tutorial, one I'd like to try!

  29. I have included your awesome tutorial in a tutorial round up on my blog today. Enjoy and have a great day!
    Saturday Link List: the February tutorials edition

  30. wow! so creative! good idea~




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