From Shirt to Skirt

From Shirt to Skirt – Up-Cycle Project

It’s snowing here, but spring is in my heart!


Used-clothing stores carry hosts of men’s T-shirts in mint condition. I’m excited I figured out how to up-cycle one into a darling skirt. I am no seamstress, so I guarantee this is easy and quick! A detail of the finished project:


The first thing I did was cut straight across the shirt, right below its arms:


This gave me a large tube which would become my skirt. A bit of the T-shirt logo is on my tube, but a blouse’ll cover it. Besides, almost the whole logos disappears in the project’s last step.


Lay the tube out flat, face up. Insert layers of newspaper between the tube’s front and back so, when you paint the front, paint doesn’t leak through to the back:


Optional: Before painting a border along the bottom edge of the skirt (the part already hemmed), sketch a design there with an Auto-Fade Pen (it washes out afterwards):


Using Tee Juice, I painted a border of hearts, flowers, and leaves. You might prefer simple geometric shapes (e.g., squares and triangles), or something else. If you paint the back, let the front dry before turning the tube over. Use a white or pale T-shirt so the Tee Juice (TJ) shows well. On white, use any color TJ. On colored fabric, its color may show a bit through the TJ. Choose colors that show well on that fabric. For example, yellow doesn’t show much on gray. And dyeing surprises are inevitable, so go with the flow. E.g., pink on the gray T-shirt I used came up a lovely purple. Once TJ is dry, set it according to Tee Juice instructions. Here’s the finished Tee Juice painting (its hearts show how the pink looks):


Next, pizazz! I accented some lines with Lumiere to make them pop. I also used Lumiere to add details. Applying Lumiere:


After I finished Lumiere application:


The Lumiere colors I personally chose were: Bright Gold; Grape; and Metallic Olive Green. Here is a detail of the finished Lumiere:


Optional: Take the skirt one step further, with glam 4mm Rhinestuds. I chose Sapphire and Red. Experiment by placing Rhinestuds in different places on the skirt. Put just one here and there, or several in a cluster or line. Once you like the way they look, set them using instructions in “Product Description” at, with one difference. For this project, you needn’t lay out your pattern of Rhinestuds on the Mylar; you’ve already placed them, sticky side down on the fabric; just cut strips or squares of Mylar, and put them, sticky side down, over the Rhinestuds, to hold em in place while you iron:


Finally, make a 1” casing for 1/4” to 1/2” elastic at the skirt’s waist. (Remember: When you stitch the casing, leave an inch unstitched as an opening to insert the elastic. After you insert it, close up that inch.) Voila, you can now wear your new skirt!


Helpful hints:
* You have leeway with the T-shirt size. I’m size 12/14, and used a men’s size 5X T-shirt, because that is what I found. A smaller shirt would also work for me.
* I applied Lumiere with a really fine brush: size 0. Some of the work could’ve been done with a bigger brush. If you don’t need fine detailing, you can use an even bigger one.
* My bias is that Rhinestuds fasten most securely on the unpainted parts of the cloth.
* There are a zillion variations, once you know the basic idea. Examples: stencil a border with TJ; paint a dark T-shirt with Neopaque; use a small T-shirt for a child’s skirt; just tie-dye the tube!

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5 Responses to From Shirt to Skirt

  1. Cate says:

    Ahhh. That makes sense. Great. Thanks!

  2. Cate says:

    Can you show the detail of the waist band?
    I know how to make a 1” casing for 1/4” to 1/2” elastic.
    I know how to insert the elastic and to close it up afterwards.
    It’s probably very basic but… What’s the best way to attach that waist band to the skirt.

    Thanks for your help. I love the recycling ideas.

    • Francesca De Grandis says:

      Thanks for asking! I am sorry, I should have made that clearer. You do not need to add a casing, simply turn over the top of the skirt to make the casing. I hope this helps. If not, write me again. I love figuring out up-cycling projects, so am very glad you like my idea, it really encourages me to post more!!

  3. Bonnie Lynne says:

    Dear Francesca,
    Thanks for the instructions and for sharing your inspiration! What a lovely gift to offer especially as being at the computer is not so easy for you these days. And such a joyfilled design – it made me smile! 🙂
    Peace and joy to you today and always.
    Bonnie Lynne

    • Francesca De Grandis says:

      My design made you smile??!! That makes me feel so good. TU sooooo much for telling me and for all your kind words. Blessings to you. Ps, if you make a skirt, let me know how it goes.

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