Ruffled Skirt Tutorial

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Sewing Bee Fabrics Tutorial
How To Make A Ruffled Skirt From Old Shirts

How to upcycle a shirt into a ruffled skirt

When my husband decided he had finished with 2 matching shirts, I thought it would be wrong not to keep them together, so with a little bit of patterned fabric, this skirt was created.

What you will need:

2 long sleeve shirts ( the body of the shirt needs to easily fit over your hips)
Contrasting fabric (mine was approx. 110cm x 50cm)
Enough wide elastic to comfortably fit around your waist.
A lot of matching thread

Before shirt refashion free tutorial

How to make it:

First, make the under skirt by cuttinng straight across one shirt just underneath the armpits. Then, remove the thickened fabric with the buttons and buttonholes, being sure to stash the buttons for another project! If the shirt is giant compared to your hips, you will probably want to trim the edge more so it fits over your hips with a couple of inches to spare.

Hem the top and bottom.

Hemming edges ruffled skirt free tutorial

Now for the ruffles! You want 4 pieces that are approximately 10cm wide, and the length 1 1/2 times the width of your under skirt from the remaining shirt fabric. You will also want one the same size from your patterned fabric. You will also want one other piece from the patterned material the same width but the length only needs be as long as your under skirt is wide.

Hem top and bottom of each long side on the 5 long strips, but only the bottom needs hemming on the shorter patterned piece.

Shirt refashion tutorial make a ruffled skirt basic parts

Pass each through the ruffler foot on the sewing machine. I used the deepest pleat setting on every 12th stitch with an average stitch length. To make this skirt without a ruffler foot, you can sew a long stitch length then gently pull the tread ends to gather the fabric to the desired amount. Be careful though as pulling too hard can make the thread snap.

Sewing machine ruffler tutorial mid ruffle

Ruffle ready to attach to DIY skirt free shirt refashion

Now here comes the fun part - piecing it all together. Start with the shorter piece. Place it right side facing your main section and sew a seam right along the top.

Ruffled skirt tutorial attaching top section

Flip the patterned piece over and top stitch along the top edge. I used an over-edge sewing machine foot as my guide to sew the top stitch at 1/8th inch distance.

top stitching using overcast foot guide

Now using a temporary fabric marker, draw yourself lines about every 7-8cm. There needs to be a slight overlap of ruffles.

Attaching ruffles to the skirt free DIY tutorial

Line each ruffled strip up with a line and sew in place.

Sewing ruffles onto the skirt make it yourself

Now take a piece of elastic and try it around your waist. Cut to the desired length and line up centrally underneath the top patterned piece.

How to add elastic waistband to ruffled skirt

Pin in place centrally, then gently stretch and pin in place on each side so the ends of the elastic reach the ends of the fabric.

How to add elastic waistband to ruffled skirt 2

Sew the elastic in place top and bottom using a 3 step zigzag stitch while keeping the stretch on the elastic (standard zigzag is less able to move with the elastic).

How to add elastic waistband to ruffled skirt 3

Fold the patterned piece back over and sew a running stitch under the elastic line to form a casing for the elastic. In retrospect, I should also have sewn another line of running stitch to hold the top piece covering the top ruffle seam as this has a tendency of getting folded up on wearing.

Fold the skirt in half with ruffles facing inwards and pin the side seam.

Pinning the side seam ruffled skirt

Trim away any excess down the side then sew your side seam and overstitch the edge to prevent fraying.

Overlocking the edge

Turn it the other way around and look pleased with yourself!

ruffled skirt draft your own pattern shirt refashion

We hope you enjoy our tutorials and love hearing what you think so please leave us a comment or send me an email to

Ruffled skirt upcycled from shirts
Ruffled skirt upcycled from shirts

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