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Ombre Fringe Skirt (made from old Tshirts)

Yes, we’ve been home renovating.  And painting (did you see yesterday’s Picking Paint post??).  And ripping up floors so that we can lay down new ones.  Whew.


But I’ve also been unpacking bit by bit.  And as I was unpacking my sewing stuff the other day, I pulled out a wad of thrift store Tshirts that I bought for some random project (who knows how long ago or what I originally was planning)…….and immediately had this idea to make a fun little skirt for Elli.  I know, I know…..this blog should sometimes be called Make a Skirt & Love It.  Ha.  (Because yes, there are tons of skirts here on the blog.)  But skirts are so fun.  Are pretty quick to make.  And are so rewarding.  Plus, you can either make them for little girls, or for yourself (well, if you’re a female reading this).



Anyway, I chopped up those old Tshirts that I pulled from a box the other day, and turned them into this:





See?  You never would’ve known, huh?  I love that trick. :)



***And REMEMBER……..the good news with knit, is that you don’t have to do any hemming.  All of those little strips have raw edges but won’t fray.  And if the strips get pulled on, the worse thing that will happen is that the edges will curl just a bit.  And if it stretches out the strip a bit, just snip off the end so that it’s the same length as the other strips in its row. And it shouldn’t continue to pull after that.  Easy as that.  (And I think I’m going to hang dry this skirt……..just to avoid too much fringe pulling.)


When it’s hanging straight, it just looks like lots of fringe layers.




But don’t worry, there’s a skirt under there to keep things covered up.




Because once the skirt starts moving……those little fringes start bouncing all around.  And you can see the graduated ombre color effect.




Elli was thrilled.  She shook and shook and SHOOK those little hips.




Let’s just say……..she loves it!




And when I was making some adjustments on my camera……I caught her testing it out with some full-out twirls.  And good news……it passed her test! :)




I could just eat this little lady right up!  She is so easy to please when a skirt finally finishes up.




And to think…….this fabric used to be a few abandoned (and less beautiful) old Tshirts from the Thrift Store. 


Ahhhhh…..much better!



Would you like to make a Fringe Skirt too?



To get started, grab some old knit Tshirts.  I purchased mine at the thrift store and found some graduated colors that I thought would work nicely together.  But give that closet of yours a look before buying anything extra.  You may have just what you need in your own “give away” pile.



Now, decide on the size you’d like to make.  For Elli, her waist is 21 inches and I wanted the skirt to be 12 inches long.  I decided that the under skirt would be 1 inch shorter and would let the fringe hang over solo for one inch.  If you’d like something similar, I wrote up some calculations that should help you. 


There are 6 pieces of fabric that you’ll need: (If you can’t read the words, click on the image and it should expand.)

***Remember, this is what worked well for Elli and she’s a girl’s size 6.  These calculations should also work for adult sizes……but the spacing of the rows of fringe may need to be adjusted for smaller sizes.



So, since Elli’s waist is 21 inches, I multiplied that by 1.25, which is 26.25……but I just rounded to 26.  So, the width I needed was 26 inches. 


The height calculation may seem funny but I wanted to explain HOW I came up with the calculation.  You need to subtract 1 inch because I wanted the Main Skirt to be 1 inch shorter than the fringe… that the fringe would hang a little longer.  And you add 1.5 inches for the waistband casing.  (Also, I used the hem of the shirt as the hem of the Main Skirt but if you aren’t using a shirt and want a hem, you’ll need to add that dimension as well.  Or just leave it raw and un-hemmed.  Either way.)  So, since I wanted Elli’s skirt to be 12 inches long in the end, after making the calculations, I knew I needed the height of this Main Skirt section to be 12.5 inches.


So, her main section fabric piece needed to be 12.5 x 26 inches.



***QUICK HINT: If you cut the shirt pieces from left to right, you will have less issues with your strips stretching and pulling.  Generally, knit shirts stretch more from left to right (vs. up and down).  So, if you cut these sections from left to right, once the fringes are cut and if they happened to get pulled, they are less likely to stretch out.  (However, some shirts stretch equally left to right vs. up and down.  But they can still be used.  Just be aware of pulling.  But a pulled fringe look would still be really cute if you just trim them if they get pulled on.)



For Strips 1-5, I cut each strip from left to right on the shirt but didn’t have enough shirt to make one continuous strip that was long enough for the dimensions that I needed.  So I just cut enough pieces that would create one large piece that was big enough for the measurements I needed…….but didn’t bother piecing them together.  You’ll understand better a few steps down below, but just know, each strip doesn’t have to be one continuous strip…..since they’re going to be cut into fringe anyway.



Here’s all of my fabric pieces, ready to go:  (Don’t let the dimensions fool you…..they folded over so that I could fit them in the picture.)



So first, grab the Main Skirt section and fold it in half lengthwise (with right sides together) and match up the two shorter ends and sew them together.  Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance and either use a double needle (which I love using on knits…….and here’s more info on the double needle) or sew a zig-zag stitch.  Either of those stitches will allow for more stretch.  Then, fold over the top edge 1/5 inches and sew all the way around, about an inch from the top folded edge (so that your 1 inch elastic can fit inside).  But be sure to leave a 2 inch opening somewhere along the casing (mine’s on the back, you can’t see it), so that you can thread your elastic inside later on.



Now, because I’m not completely unpacked from our move……I don’t know where my chalk or fabric pens are.  But, to make things easier, turn your skirt right side out and make some chalk lines along the fabric so you can see where to sew down the strips to the Main Skirt section.


From the top edge, measure down 1.5 inches and make your first chalk line, all the way around.  This is where you’ll line up the top edge of your “Strip 1”.  Then measure down 1.5 inches from the top line and make another chalk line all the way around.  Repeat and measure down 1.5 inches between each line……until you have all 5 lines marked.  (You may have to make some adjustments to these measurements if you’re making a different sized skirt……but this is what worked really well for the skirt I made.)



Now, begin with the very bottom of the skirt and line “Strip 5” up with the bottom chalk line.  Then, pin in place.  (And there are my imaginary chalk lines that I wish I would have had……but I just used a ruler to measure every few inches while I was sewing, which took more time.)



If your strips are in different pieces, just overlap your next piece a bit, and continue sewing.  Also, I used the double needle because I like the clean look of it (and it stretches) but the zig-zag stitch would work nicely too.  Either one works but you’ll need to choose one over the straight stitch.  Because you need something that stretches a bit.  (Again, here’s more about the double needle.)



Continue with each Strip, until all are sewn in place.



If you lift up, you can see the other attached Strips under there.




If you look on the inside… can see all the rows of stitching.


Now, find the opening to your casing……



…….and then thread in a piece of elastic that is the same measurement as your subject’s waist.  Then, remove the pin, overlap the two ends by an inch, and sew the elastic ends together.  The fold the casing opening in place and sew it closed, trying to not sew through the elastic.



Now, it’s time to cut. 


Start with the very bottom row and fold the other rows up and out of the way as you’re cutting.  I cut each strip about 1/2 inch wide……but that varied as I went around.



Continue on, one row at a time, until all your fringe is cut.





And all ready to wear.  :)



Hope that was as fun for you as it was for me.  Now, go and make a few more. :)





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Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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