How to Make a Belted Skirt from a Men's Dress Shirt

comments (19) April 9th, 2009     

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Christine_Haynes Christine Haynes, member
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Your new skirt made from a mens dress shirt!
The original shirt, direct from the thrift store.
Step 1. With the shirt folded in half lengthwise, cut straight across from under the armpit to the buttons. This bottom piece is your skirt.
Step 4. Lay one waistband piece face up, then lay the two belt pieces on top of it on each of the two short ends, about 1 inch from the bottom. Lay the other waistband piece on top of the first one, matching sides. Pin the two short ends together, including the belt pieces. Stitch each side.
Step 5. Baste the top of the skirt. Pin the waistband to the skirt, right sides facing and with the belt pieces toward the front of the skirt. Stitch together, leaving a 1-inch opening in the seam when connecting the waistband to the skirt.
Step 6. Pin a large safety pin to the elastic and feed into the waistband casing. Once youve gone all the way around, pull the pin out the hole and overlap the two ends of elastic about 1/2 inch. Zigzag-stitch them together and release into the waistband. Stitch the hole closed in the skirt.
Step 7. Press the seams, slip on the skirt, tie the belt pieces in front, and youre on your way!
Your new skirt made from a mens dress shirt!

Your new skirt made from a men's dress shirt!

Photo: Christine Haynes

I love being green, but I also want to look chic and modern. So when I make garments from thrift-store finds, the last thing I want my new fashion to look like is recycled. Items you see a ton of in thrift stores are men's dress shirts. I've made projects with these in the past, and they have always turned out fantastic. You might remember the little black dress I created on the cover of CraftStylish magazine.

Much like that item, I started with a men's dress shirt. But for this skirt, I thought a straight hem at the bottom would be best, which is most commonly found in men's short-sleeved shirts. My find even had cute 2-inch vents at each side and was made of a very soft linen. So when you're scouring the racks, if you want yours to look like mine, skip those with a shirttail hem and pick up one with a straight bottom. Also, your skirt will be from the armpit of the shirt to the hem, so make sure that's long enough for you.

What you'll need:

  • One men's dress shirt with a straight hem, wide enough to be gathered at your waist, long enough from the armpit to the hem for the skirt
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Pins
  • 1/2-inch elastic about 30 inches long
  • Large safety pin

1. Lay your shirt down, folded in half lengthwise. Following a ruler, cut straight across the shirt, from under the armpit to the buttons. This bottom piece is your skirt.

2. Using other pieces from the shirt, cut two waistband pieces, about 5 inches tall by the width of your hips. Cutting from the rest of the shirt, cut pieces to combine together to make two belt straps. These pieces should be 5 inches tall by as wide as you can get.

3. Combine the belt pieces to form two strips that are roughly 24 inches long by 5 inches tall. Press the seams flat where they were connected. Fold one strip in half with right sides together and sew, forming a long tube. Stitch one end closed and repeat on the other strip. Turn the tubes right side out and press flat.

4. Lay out one waistband piece face up. Lay the two belt pieces on top of the waistband piece, on each of the two short ends, about an inch from the bottom. Lay the other waistband piece on top of the first one, matching sides. Pin the two short ends together, including the belt pieces. Stitch each side, capturing the belt in the side seam. Fold the waistband in half, wrong sides together, and press flat.

5. Baste the top of the skirt and gather to fit the width of the waistband. Pin the waistband to the skirt, right sides facing and with the belt pieces toward the front of the skirt, with the raw edge of the waistband lining up with the top raw edge of the skirt. Stitch together, being careful not to sew the belt pieces into the seam. Leave a 1-inch opening in the seam when connecting the waistband to the skirt.

6. Cut a piece of 1/2-inch elastic to a comfortable width for your waist, plus 1 inch for overlapping. Pin a large safety pin to the elastic and feed into the waistband casing. Once you've gone all the way around, pull the pin out the hole and overlap the two ends of elastic about 1/2 inch. Zigzag-stitch them together and release into the waistband. Stitch the hole closed in the skirt.

7. Press all your seams crisp, and slip on the skirt. Tie the belt pieces in front and go!

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posted in: fabric, wearable, chic, vintage, green, fashion, skirt, shirt, recycled

Comments (19)

sbtstone writes: Did anyone ever post the missing steps? I would love to make this, but cannot follow the directions for the waist band.
Posted: 10:23 am on September 12th
sbtstone writes: Did anyone ever post the missing steps? I would love to make this, but cannot follow the directions for the waist band.
Posted: 10:23 am on September 12th
Awnya writes: Absolutely love it! Although I don't understand step 4 at all. Do the straps go through the waist band or they just hang out externally? What does she mean by the short ends? Would really appreciate it if someone explained it as I would LOVE to finish what I've started!
Posted: 7:58 pm on January 5th
sophiecai writes: great....just love all the restyle idea....expecting more....thanks
Posted: 11:05 am on February 15th
samsstuff writes: So cute! Thanks for posting.
Posted: 11:11 pm on December 16th
BzeGirl writes: This is so cute and very simple to make. I will have to try it! Thanks so much for sharing... Love it!
Posted: 12:31 pm on July 16th
hannahlea writes: I really LOVE this skirt! It's so cute! I have wanted to begin sewing for a long time now, and I think this sounds like it may be simple enough to try at my level. =)
Posted: 4:16 pm on June 7th
eveh writes: I will be making this but I am using two shirts that go well together and making it longer. The old legs aren't what they use to be. LOL...I suppose you could also use three and make a really long skirt, maybe add a little bit of eyelet on the bottom. I love long skirts with a T in Summer.
Posted: 5:26 pm on May 30th
allisonson88 writes: I made a skirt like this and LOVE it! I got so many compliments when I wore it, and I loved being able to say I had made it from a man's dress shirt that I scored for $0.99 at a thrift store! I will definitely be making more!!
Posted: 9:30 pm on April 28th
cherokeelady1967 writes: YOu have some steps to your prject missing. The steps that are misisng are steps 2 and 3. Please post them so that I can use the idea to make my own skirts.
Posted: 9:31 am on April 25th
cakedec writes: Oh I just realized that these are 2 separate pictures! now I get it,I shall try a child's one first, little girls will love this.
Posted: 5:38 pm on April 11th
cakedec writes: I LOVE this idea, but I am kind of new at sewing, & I do not understand step 4 -sorry, have you a way to explain it for "dummy's"? thank you Christine.
Posted: 5:31 pm on April 11th
studiorouge writes: Me likey. Very cool!
Posted: 11:50 am on April 11th
Sweet_Dee writes: LOVE!
Posted: 7:06 pm on April 10th
zetamama writes: I want to make one for summer. So cute!
Posted: 11:20 am on April 10th
scrappytime writes: I can't wait to try this! What a great idea!
Posted: 6:06 pm on April 9th
craftydame writes: it turned out super cute! i love making skirts out of shirts, it's too bad the bigger sized shirts are so hard to find!

just watch how thin the shirt is, unless you just want it as a beach cover up or something! i used to add a thin layer of cotton or broadcloth to my skirts, just add it to the top seam. super easy and a bit less revealing!
Posted: 11:04 am on April 9th
Sister_Diane writes: This is wonderful! I love how simple the construction is, and the skirt is really cute!
Posted: 8:56 am on April 9th
theemptynest writes: OMG...you are so creative, I love this idea and that skirt is so cute. Will be making some of my own very soon. Thanks for the inspiration!
Posted: 7:40 am on April 9th
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