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The 10-Minute Skirt (re-purposing old shirts into skirts)

My little Elli (who is 7 years old and just started 2nd grade today…..ack!) is a skirt fanatic.  Well, a dress fanatic too.  I know, I’ve told you that here about a trillion times, so no surprise. But while we were out school clothes shopping a few weeks ago, she would pick up a skirt that she wanted to buy, and I would almost choke while looking at the price tag.  Yeah, $15 for a really simple knit or cotton skirt makes me choke.  And that was the price of the cheaper skirts we would see……because some were even closer to $30.  Come on, that’s crazy for a 7 year old who has bean sprout legs and will most likely outgrow the skirt in 6 months!  So, even though there’s a new baby at home and sometimes just buying things (even though I can make it) makes more sense, I just couldn’t buy any of the skirts she picked out.  I bought her shirts, jeans (but she’d only agree on one pair of those…haha!), leggings, shoes, etc.  But the skirts……I told her to hang those back up because I could whip up several of those in no time.


And by “no time”, I mean 8 minutes……because yep, I timed it.  But I rounded up and call this the 10-Minute Skirt!




And now this girl has 4 new skirts for school, that took me 40 minutes to make!  (Well, more like 32 minutes…..but who’s counting?!  Ha.)




And the reason they are so fast to make?  Well, because I grabbed 4 shirts from the thrift store and kept the original hem and side seams and just added a quick waistband.  And for about $2 per shirt…..that’s much cheaper than $15 a skirt!  (Or, make them at no cost by digging in your own closet.  Surely there’s something in there you don’t wear anymore!)




Once I finished the skirts, I showed them to Elli and she shrieked….and then quickly started to decide which one she wanted to wear on the first day of school.  Haha…..pretty cheap thrill at only $2.00!


And this girl wears skirts year round.  When it gets chilly, she adds leggings.  And when it’s snowy, she adds leggings AND boots.  She has it all figured out! :)




There are many ways to make a skirt…..but adding a quick casing to the top for elastic, is by far the fastest AND easiest.  (Both very important things!)  Also, these could easily be made for teens or even grown women…..if you just find a shirt large enough.  Shop around the extra large sizes and even in the men’s section.  It may just be the exact amount of fabric you need!




I think the biggest reason Elli loves skirts/dresses, is that she feels a little more fancy.  And like she can dance and prance her way through the day.  And that, my friends, is reason enough for me to make her piles and piles of skirts!


I sure love this little girl.  And love that she still lets me make her things.  And thinks it’s pretty cool that she has little bits of her wardrobe that are different from all her friends at school. :)


As long as you enjoy wearing skirts sweet Elli, I’ll keep making them by the dozens! :)



Do you have 10 minutes?  Well, let’s whip up a simple skirt!



  • Old Women’s or Men’s Knit Shirt (the bigger/wider the shirt, the fuller the skirt)
  • 1 inch elastic
  • matching thread

 **I used women’s side medium and size large shirts to make these skirts for my 7 year old, and they were just right. (But all shirts measure differently… keep that in mind!)  Also, you could use this concept to make skirts for teens or even grown women…..if you just find a shirt large enough.  Shop around the extra large sizes and even in the men’s section.  It may just be the exact amount of fabric you need to make a simple skirt!  (A good general rule for how big around a skirt should be is 1.5 – 2 times the measurement of the waist.  SO if the waist measures 20 inches, find a shirt that is 30-40 inches around.  However, if all you have is 25 inches around, go for it!  It’ll just be a straighter skirt, and that’s okay!)





Lay the shirt in front of you and make sure the bottom hem along the front and the back are lined up evenly.  You will be using the shirt hem as your new skirt hem.



Determine the length of skirt you want and then add 1 1/2 inches.  Measure up from the bottom of the shirt and cut off at your needed measurement.  (Since I was making these skirts for my tall 7 year old, I just cut the shirts off right below the sleeves of each shirt.)  **If you’re making skirts for a tiny baby girl and the width of the shirt is just too wide, a good general rule for a skirt width is 1.5 – 2 times the size of the waist.  So, if your baby’s waist is 12 inches, a good width for the skirt all the way around (and before inserting the elastic) is 18 – 24 inches.  If your shirt is too wide, cut off the excess from one side and create a new seam along that side.



Turn the skirt inside out and fold down the top raw edge, 1 1/2 inches.  Pin in place.



Create a seam that is 1 1/4 inch from the top folded edge (which would be 1/4 inch from the bottom raw edge).  Leave a 2 inch opening along the back side of the skirt, for the elastic.



Cut a piece of elastic that is the same length as the waist you’re sewing for.  Insert the elastic (using a safety pin at one end) and thread it through the casing you made in the last step.



Make sure the elastic isn’t twisted at all and then overlap the ends by 1 inch and sew the ends in place with a zig-zag stitch.



Maneuver the elastic back into the skirt casing and sew the opening of the skirt closed.



Distribute the elastic into the skirt evenly.  Then, place a steam iron along the waistband of the skirt flattening the gathers along the waistband.  Ironing will help give the skirt a more professional look… don’t skip it! :)



And that’s it.


Enjoy your super speedy new skirts! :)



Don’t stop re-purposing there! Try these re-purposing projects on for size:


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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

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

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