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Repurposing: Shirt into Skirt with Yoga Style Waistband

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I am always looking for ways to use up and re-purpose those old shirts in the closet.
But this time, I saw some knit shirts at Old Navy in the Women’s section that were about $2 on clearance.  (Buy the biggest sizes they have to get the most fabric.) The fabric was a nice and light knit and they came in a variety of colors and prints……….making the perfect fabric for a little springy/summery skirt.
$2 plus a little adjusting? Perfect.
So keep that in mind while browsing the racks at the store.  Sometimes it’s hard to find a great knit at the fabric store for cheap…….so look at those discounted clothes on the clothing racks.
And because the bottom seam was already there……all I needed to do was put in a waistband.
And what is more comfy than a Yoga style waist band? Nothing.
The tall waistband is folded over for a comfy fit.
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It’s the perfect little skirt for spinning,
and enjoying the nice weather.
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Wear it with or without leggings (especially if your little girl insists on a skirt each day)……any time of year.
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Would you like to make your own?

As noted above, I bought this shirt for $2 on the clearance rack at Old Navy.
But dig through those closets and see what you already have on hand.
Depending on what size you’re making, cut the bottom section of the shirt off.  This will be the main section of the skirt.  And remember, the bottom hem of the shirt will be the new bottom hem of the skirt……so don’t cut it off.
My little girl wears about a 4T in skirts, so I measured 9 inches up from the bottom of the shirt and cut it off.
Then, if you have enough fabric left on the shirt cut out a piece that’s big enough for the yoga band.  Mine came from the back of the shirt.  (If not, use some fabric from a different shirt or some knit fabric from your scrap pile.)  My waist band piece was 20 inches wide x 9 inches tall……..but if I had more fabric, I would have made it about 20 x 11 inches.  Just to give the waistband more height.  Because I love an even taller/adjustable waist band.
Then fold this piece in half lengthwise and sew with a 1/2 inch seam allowance along the two shorter ends, creating a tube.  (I used a serger but if you’re using a sewing machine, use a zig-zag stitch or a knit freindly stitch.  Need help with knits?  Click here for more info.)
Then turn your tube right side out and fold the tube down inside itself in half, keeping the right side of the fabric on the outside.
Then gather up the top raw edge of the bottom section of the skirt.  Make your basting stitch about 1/2 inch from the top.  (Need help with gathering?  Click here.)  Gather in the skirt so that it’s the same width as your band that you just folded in half.
Fold the band down over the top of the gathered section and pin this section evenly in place.  Don’t stretch it as you’re pinning.
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Make sure you are pinning the raw edge of the skirt with the 2 raw edges of the folded band.  The actual fold of the band is at the other end of the band……….shown in the upper left side of the image below.
Now, serge or zig-zag those layers together (3 layers in all), using a 1/2 inch seam allowance…….all the way around the skirt.  If your basting stitch happens to be showing, pull on those threads to remove them.
Then iron/steam that seam flat……along with the upper fold of the band.  (And if you had just a bit of stretching while sewing the layers together in the last step, steaming will help shrink it back down a bit.  But if it was over-stretched, you may have to pick it out and try again.  Or if it just keeps stretching out and the waist band is too big……….make your band a bit smaller and then adjust the gathering as well.  That should take care of it.)
And that is it.
Very few steps…….with lovely results.
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Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner 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 my 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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  1. Julie says:


  2. Alison (@Secondhand Fancy) says:

    Thank you for this! I’m a total beginner sewer and even some of the “simple” tutorials I’ve found are over my head…this one wasn’t – your instructions couldn’t be more clear, & the pictures & links were great too. I made my girls a couple of these in an hour! Next I’m going to try one for me :)

  3. Sheri says:

    ?? if you don’t stretch the knit as you sew, how do you keep your thread from breaking when it is finished and the knit stretches?

  4. Alexis says:

    Thank you. This inspired a lovely twist: a tie-dyed shirt provided the skirt, and the solid dark blue provided the waist, which also got a couple decorative buttons. Even made a matching hat out the remnants.

    Thanks for the idea.

  5. Phoebe says:

    I have been trying this all week. I finally accomplished it on some moisture wicking athletic fabric, and it worked perfectly! I’m glad I finally got it right, because I love this idea and I love this skirt (I made it for an adult by the way)

  6. Tip says:

    Hey, thanks so much for sharing your creativity. I did it!!

  7. Lauren says:

    I absolutely love this! I have so many t-shirts lying around that I could do something like this with…or make a fun trip to the thrift store to pick out some stripes!

  8. Deise Brandão says:

    Hello Ashley

    Happened to be strolling through the internet and found this wonderful site.
    I loved his work and like you, I love to customize clothes for my children.
    I live in Brazil and was looking for exactly what I found here.
    A big hug for you and your family

  9. Allison says:

    Did you dye the shirt blue? In the first few pictures it looks like the lighter stripes are cream, but it’s very blue in the rest of the pictures. If you did dye it, that’s brilliant! lol I can’t look at fabric and picture it as anything but how it comes to me. I really hope that I can develop that when I get a little more experience, because I am just starting out and I’ve made 3 of your projects already and tried others, but yours are the only one’s I’ve been successful at.

  10. Emily @ Make It Happen Mama says:

    I mentioned this article on my blog today! Thanks for such an awesome tutorial :-)

  11. Gina says:

    Cute skirt – not shirt as I mentioned earlier.

  12. Gina says:

    Thanks for this tutorial! I know it was a posted a long time ago, but I have been saving it for when I got a sewing machine, and that was today! I just made a cute shirt for my little 4T and can’t wait for her to wake up from a nap and try it on. Thanks for all the advice – i love your blog!

  13. Claire @ knappyknickers says:

    Brilliant! So simple and a great way to get bargain stretch fabric, which believe me is hard to find. I’ll be trawling through those sale bins/racks from now on. Thanks for the idea. And a gorgeous skirt too – think my daughter will be getting a new skirt soon!

  14. saffiertje says:

    My girls love the skirt I made from this tutorial!!!!

  15. Nursemom says:

    Great Tip: I got a turtleneck shirt from Old Navy clearance rack today for 75 cents. I used the neck part of the shirt for the waistband so it was already made. I just had to cut off the bottom of the shirt, gather it, and sew it together. So simple.

  16. amycornwell says:

    This is genius! I'm making this for sure (maybe for ME)!

  17. Ashley says:

    gfm – Awesome. I love that you gave it a try and then it worked. Love that feeling! :)

  18. gfm says:

    want to say thank you for the tutorial. I bought myself a tshirt few weeks back got home tried it on and it was too small.. i was thinking well i could just put it in an opshop bag and then i remembered this tutorial. I did sacrifice another old tshirt for the waist band as i needed more length for my tall girl. I am ever so proud of myself for actually making my beautiful girl a skirt as normally im a straight stitch sewer and i managed to work with knits!!

    Thank you so much.

  19. jeanne says:

    I bought the same shirt on sale at old navy for a dollar so look for deals and be open minded it doesnt have to cost alot at the dollar store…thanks for the idea

  20. Anonymous says:

    I bought the shirt at old navy on sale for a dollar… it doesnt have to be from the fabric store…..or cost alot ….look for deals …thanks for the ideas

  21. Valary-Mac says:

    I love it! Especially the yoga waist band, they are my favorite of all time and so comfortable.

  22. The Fuller Family says:

    Very cute! I have a daughter that wears a size 6. I don't have tons of sewing experience, so I'm curious how I should size your projects for her. I don't get along with that stuff called "math", so I'm doubtful I could work it all out for myself! :)
    Any chance you can do a tutorial on how to decide the measurements for older/younger children? Or maybe you can point me to the right place if you've already done so.
    Thanks for the great ideas!!

  23. Crafty Mommy says:

    You won't believe what I did! I made this skirt and did a really good job on it– just one thing– I forgot to turn the sides together, so when I finished the projects I had the band on right and the skirt was wrong side out!!! Oh well, I will run some fabric or ribbon down that ugly seam and call it a racing strip!!! LOL

  24. Small Fry and Co. says:

    I love everything about this and want to make 5 or 15 of them.

  25. Simply Sara says:

    oh my goodness!!! I am going to make my daughter and my niece one of these!!

  26. Anonymous says:

    following your blog for a while now… Love it! you are quite an inspiration.
    And last but not least… congrats on your new lil one. she is beautiful =)

  27. Valerie@Occasionally Crafty says:

    I just made one- from a dollar store shirt! They actually had some with that nice soft knit in some solid colors- I got a vibrant turquoise mens XL.

    Thanks for the easy tutorial- you are totally helping me improve my sewing skills!

  28. Joy says:

    goodness you just have some of the cutest and easiest ideas! thanks i will have to go on the hunt for a cute cheap shirt

  29. craftedbymama says:

    Thanks again for the great tutorial. It came at the perfect time. Just finished one for my oldest who is 12years

    Congratulations on your little bundle of joy


  30. Kristina says:

    Again, filing away for when I have a girl!

    Ashley, I know this is bad timing because you just had your baby, but I'm planning on getting pregnant again soon and have been contemplating making regular pants into maternity pants. I was thinking that doing something like this, attaching a tall, stretchy waistband with some thick elastic in it to the (cut-off?) top of regular jeans or pants might work. But I'm not good at figuring things out like you are. Would you like to figure it out for me? :) Anyway, if you have any advice, I would sure appreciate it!

    And thank you for the post about maternity bands, I'm excited about making some soon! AND CONGRATULATIONS on your sweet baby!

  31. Charmaine says:

    Thank you for this. My 11 year old daughter was looking for something to sew and made this out of an old long pjs. It was easy and explained it all great for her.

  32. Jennifer says:

    so cute!!! I have made a few myself!! So easy.

  33. Leslie says:

    AWESOME. Saw this yesterday and whipped it up this morning! too easy and cute- although next time I'll make my waist band smaller- it has more stretch to it than I though it would!

  34. Beth P says:

    Could this work for the women that loved this Skirt by using a Man's t-shirt? or even bigger girls using 1x or 2x? Beth

  35. [Lovely by M] Michelle says:

    Hi Hayley,

    I just saw your comment on my blog and answered it on my blog…but I also wanted to come on over to your space…and I've been here before! I know that I followed a link to a link to a link one time and visited your blog. You really do share some great things. In fact, I want this skirt, this very skirt in my size!

  36. Amy says:

    Thanks for another lovely tutorial!

  37. Ashley says:

    The leggings were from Old Navy…..and the shoes are puddle jumpers shoes. They were hand-me-downs from a friend…..and we love them!

  38. Rhadonda says:

    Yes to infinity, please to infinity. Would love to be in the know!

  39. tracyp says:

    I just made two of these yesterday in about 2hrs!!! ( would have been faster had I read the directions better!) Thanks so, so much Ashley!

  40. kate says:

    that is the cutest skirt…so twirly and pretty!

  41. Liza Henderson says:

    oh my!!! I'm off to clean out my closets!!!

  42. Molly & Bea & T., Tra-Lee says:

    I love the pink shoes — where did you get these?

  43. K2 says:

    So cute! I cannot believe that it was a shirt before. Simply marvelous!

  44. Pam says:

    This is fabulous and so simple! I never would have thought to do this. I off to raid my closet and plan to make some of these for my granddaughter. Thanks so much for the tutorial and most of all for the idea.

  45. Cole's Corner says:

    Cute skirt… but I really, really want to know where you got those adorable light yellow leggings!

  46. Marcilla says:

    Such a great idea! My girlie needs a few more springy skirts and this is definitely going on my "to sew" list.

  47. Jennifer says:

    love it!!!! will have to go thru my tub of clothes and give this one a go!!!

  48. greta @ topography says:

    Really lovely, well done!

  49. Patti says:

    Too cute! I wish I had little girls. :(

  50. Jenny says:

    I love this! I'm kind of obsessed with finding new things to make with old t-shirts and this is perfect!

  51. ☼Carolina Artesanías☼ says:

    happy week!
    from Chile

  52. Heather says:

    I love the feel of knits fabric. You just can't go wrong with it when it comes to kids and being comfy! Do you know of any good tutorials/patterns for making leggings?

  53. Ashley says:

    Tami…..ha, I'm with you on being an avid clearance shopper. Atta girl!

    And as for an adult version……I actually made one of those too and will show pics later on this week. Stay tuned!


  54. Beth- the mama bee says:

    I've tried to make myself a similar skirt and I had the hardest time getting the waist band to fit right. I was worried about it being to small… it ended up too big and falling down.

  55. Tami says:

    I'm with one of the previous posters. I live in NC and it gets HOT in the summer. I want a cute knit skirt…where's the adult tutorial ;) As an avid clearance shopper, I love the idea of using the fabric for something else! (And usually the sizes left are XS and XXL-so I'll be looking throught the XXL sizes now!)

  56. Lisa says:

    THis is very cute! I wish my daughter was still small enough for me to be able to make things like this for her. I love your creativity!

  57. Wendy says:

    Me fascina todo lo que haces Ashley! Eres mi ejemplo a seguír! Gracias por los tutoriales! Tu niña es preciosa!

  58. Pink Stitches says:

    Looove this! I'm tempted to make one for myself :)

  59. Teresa says:

    I love it! now I need to go buy some clearance t's!

  60. mrscuddlytiger says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE it! And SO easy!!! Thanks!

  61. Mrs. D says:

    I wish I could figure out how to do this for adults!!

  62. greatjencreations says:

    That turned out crazy cute. I love it! Thanks for sharing.

  63. imagrandma2five says:

    Thank you so much! This is something easy peasy I can make for my twin granddaughters.

  64. Emily says:

    Love that shirt as a skirt! Great tutorial.

  65. Chrystal's Corner says:

    Love this! I have 3 boys but love to make homemade gifts for my niece. Especially love simple projects at little to no cost:)

  66. Inle says:

    I wish I had a girl to make all these cute things for!

  67. Jessica says:

    You are brilliant. I wish I had even basic sewing skills. I have a machine, but can't do more than a straight stich. I may have to get brave and try this.

  68. Danae says:

    Thanks to you, I'm getting a little braver about buying things from the clearance rack. I made my daughter the most adorable sweater dress (as per your tutorial!) from a sweater I got for $2.50 at Target. Now it looks like I need to find some big knit shirts, too…

  69. nila1920 says:

    so cuuute! i love that your tutorials are always so easy! thanx for sharing ashley!

  70. kristymortensen says:

    I love the skirt. I also noticed her cute leggings, did you make those?

  71. dana says:

    Darling Ashely. Love it!
    and cute shoes too

  72. Ashley says:

    What a great idea! Adorable. :)

  73. Ashley says:

    Glad you guys like this one. And I promise…'s a quick and satisfying project.

    And Cortney, I bought those leggings at Old Navy. I usually get her leggings at Old Navy and Target. They seem to have the most colors and styles. Or I have made a few myself. Good luck!

  74. Cortney says:

    where do you get your daughter's leggings?

  75. Vixen says:

    Will definitely be making at least one or two of these with my huge stash! Awesome idea, perfect for the upcoming spring weather!!

  76. Ms. S says:

    That is so cute! I love your tutorials, they are all ways full of photos and very clear directions. Love love love it!

  77. Zepequeña says:



  78. Cerise says:

    So cute! Makes me wish I had a girl to make some of these for!

  79. Saragers says:

    now i just have to have girls. there's only so much fabric i can buy for my 8+ nieces (without my husband getting mad) and my boys always ask me why i'm making so many skirts!! cute skirt…i'm sure i'll be making one for my nieces this summer!!

  80. Michele says:

    You need to stop making everything look so simple! Now I'll have to go through all my old shirts and make skirts galore for my little girls!

    When the hubby comes home I'm blaming you :)


  81. C.Raymont says:

    Wow, this is so simple and so cute! Thanks!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

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

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