How to Make a Skirt Out of a Shirt in 7 Simple Steps

Alicia Yanson
by Alicia Yanson
13 Materials
2 Hours

For today’s transformation, I’m going to show you how to make a skirt out of a shirt. I decided to take my grandfather’s shirt and give it a neat upcycle.

Watch how I make this pretty awesome DIY skirt with pockets. I know you’ll love the results! Let’s start.

Tools and materials:

  • Oversized button-up shirt
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Matching thread
  • Pins
  • Seam ripper
  • Chalk
  • Rotary cutter
  • Ruler
  • Iron
  • Elastic
  • Marker
  • Measuring tape
Grandfather's shirt before the DIY

Cutting the shirt with a rotary cutter

1. Cut the shirt

Lay your shirt under a flat surface and cut straight underneath the sleeves. To make sure it’s straight, use a ruler and chalk. 

Seam ripping the pocket

Remove the pocket by seam ripping every 3-5 stitches. 

How to remove a pocket from a shirt

It should come out easily if you pull on it. 

Cutting off the sleeves

Now, cut off the sleeves. These will be used for the pockets and waistband. Also, if you want your skirt to be wider, you can use the extra fabric from the sleeves. 

How to turn a shirt into a skirt

The circumference should be at least 1.5x your waist measurement. 

Cutting the sleeves open

Cut the sleeve open to be able to lay it down flat. 

Tracing around a hand to make pockets

2. Make the pockets

To make the pockets, place your hand down diagonally and trace it around, adding an extra inch all around. 

Cutting out the pockets

Now, cut around. 

DIY pockets for the skirt

Repeat this step three more times to have four pocket pieces. 

Marking the position for the pockets

3. Assemble the pockets

Now, I’m going to show you how to sew pockets into a skirt. Mark two inches below the top and mark the size of the pocket. 

Seam ripping the sides of the skirt

Seam rip the side seam until you get to about one inch below the pocket marking. 

Pinning the pockets to the skirt

Pin the pockets with each pointing to the inside. 

Pinning the pockets to the back of the skirt

Do the same for the back. 

Sewing the pockets in place

Now, sew the pocket down, layer by layer. 

Sewing the pockets

Next, flip the pockets and topstitch them down. Sew as close as possible to the seam to make them lay flat. 

Sewing the side seams

Turn the entire skirt inside out and sew the sides down. 

Pivoting the needle to sew the pockets

Pivot as needed, especially when you get to the start of the pocket’s edge. 

Cutting off the bottom of the shirt

4. Cut and hem the bottom

Cut the bottom of the skirt to the same length. 

Hemming the DIY skirt

Fold the raw edges in twice, and pin all around. 

Sewing the skirt with a straight stitch

Then, sew with a straight stitch. 

Making a waistband for the skirt

5. Make the waistband

For the waistband, use the other sleeve to make a 2-inch-wide rectangle that’s the same width as the skirt and 5 inches long for the back piece.

Plan for the waistband

 I originally had it as 4 inches long, but it would be better to have 1-inch ruffles instead of ½ inch. So, I’d stick to 5 inches in this case. 

Cutting out the rectangles

Cut out all the rectangles, and don’t forget to include seam allowance. 

Pressing the pieces with an iron

Fold all the pieces in half and go over them with an iron. 

Sewing the waistband

Open them up and place the right sides together, then sew the short end. 

Creating one long waistband

Do this for all the pieces; it should give one long fabric loop. 

Attaching the waistband to the skirt

6. Attach the waistband

With the skirt and waistband inside out, place them right sides together and pin the raw edges. 

Sewing the waistband to the skirt

Sew it in about ½ inch. 

How to make a skirt from a shirt

You should have something like this. 

How to sew a waistband onto a skirt

Fold the waistband up and flip the skirt to the right side. Then, fold the waistband in half. 

Sewing the waistband's ruffles

Sew the top part by about ½ an inch. However, if you made the waistband 5 inches tall, sew it in by an inch so the ruffles will be more visible. 

Tucking in the raw edges

Tuck the raw edges in and fold it down enough to hide the stitches on the other side. 

Leaving an opening for the elastic

Do this all around the skirt but leave an opening at the back for the elastic. 

Topstitching the waistband

Topstitch the waistband, and don’t forget to stop when you get to the opening. 

Finished waistband

Here’s the completed waistband. 

Attaching a safety pin to the elastic

7. Insert the elastic

The last thing to do is insert the elastic. Take a safety pin and attach it to one end. 

Threading the elastic through and pinning the ends

Thread it into the loop until it reaches the other side. Try it on and adjust the elastic to fit you. Then, pin the ends and sew to secure. 

Closing the gap in the waistband

Cut the extra elastic off and sew the opening closed with a topstitch. 

How to make a skirt out of a shirt

DIY skirt with pockets

How to make a skirt out of a shirt

We’re done! Here’s the final transformation. This brings us to the end of my tutorial on how to make a skirt out of a shirt. I hope you enjoyed this, and you’ll make this for your next DIY.

Let me know what you think of my lovely DIY skirt with pockets in the comments below. Good luck! 

Suggested materials:
  • Oversized button-up shirt
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Joan Joan on Jul 03, 2022

    Turned out so well. Love the creativity behind the project!

  • Suzanne Suzanne on Aug 21, 2023

    Such a great idea. Appreciate your clear instructions and pictures. Can’t wait to try this!