Refashion an Old Shirt Into a Ruffle Hem Skirt

Jess Dang
by Jess Dang
6 Materials
3 Hours

Let me show you how to transform an ordinary shirt into an amazing ruffle hem skirt. This upcycle is fun, easy, and a great way to refashion your old clothes. All you need is an oversized shirt that is wider than your hips and you can begin this DIY.

Tools and materials:

  • Shirt
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
Remove the pocket

Remove the pocket

The first step to this upcycle is removing the pocket from your old shirt.

DIY ruffle hem skirt

Cut out the skirt 

Next, draw a horizontal line along the bottom of the shirt. 

Draw another line

I drew 35 cm (13.8 inches) up from the line and drew another horizontal line at this point. 

Cut across

I grabbed my scissors and cut along the line I had just drawn. Make sure to trim the sides of the shirt straight so that you have ½ your hip measurement plus 3 cm (1.2 inches) for seam allowance. 

Make a ruffle hem skirt

Sew the side seams 

Next, I placed the front and back pieces of my skirt, right sides together and pinned along the side seams. 

Sew the side seams

I then sewed along my pinned lines, putting the skirt together. I also overlocked to ensure the fabric would hold. 

Cut the sleeves

Create the ruffle hem 

Next, I cut off the sleeves of the shirt and removed the cuffs. I also cut open the seam of the sleeve so that I could make the ruffle hem for the skirt. 

Cut straight

I cut a straight line at the top and bottom of the open sleeve, to straighten it out. 

How to make a ruffle hem skirt

Still using my scissors, I cut the sleeve into 2 rectangles. I cut the second rectangle so that the buttons were removed. I repeated the same on my second sleeve.  

Sew a circle

I connected all four rectangular pieces to create one big fabric circle. I made sure to overlock again after sewing. 

Fold over twice

On one side of the fabric, I folded the edge over twice and sewed the folds in place. 

Overlock the other side

I overlocked the other side of the circle piece to ensure the fabric wouldn’t fray. 

Sew a loose seam

On the side I had just overlocked, I sewed a very loose seam all the way around and left the thread out when I was finished. 

Gather the fabric

I pulled the thread to gather the piece and create the ruffles for my new skirt. I made sure that once I had finished gathering, the ruffles had the same width as the width of the skirt. 

Sew on the ruffle hem

Next, it was time to connect the ruffles to the skirt. I used pins to fit the two pieces together and then sewed them in place. 

Mark at the top

Create darts 

Once the ruffles had been sewed on to my skirt, I moved back to the top part and marked 4 cm (1.6 inches) inward at the top. I made a second mark 20 cm (7.9 inches) downward from the top.

Draw darts

I then drew a slanted line to connect these two points. I repeated the same for the other side of the skirt. 

Sew along the marked lines

I moved back to my sewing machine to sew along the slanted lines. 

Try on the skirt

I tried on my new skirt and played around to see how I could make it fit me perfectly. I decided I would make two darts at the back of the skirt. It’s important to mark the places you are going to sew. 

Make darts at the back

To create the darts at the back of the skirt, I found the center point of the marks I had made and drew a 25 cm (9.8 inches) long line from it. I connected the outer marks to the bottom of the centerline, making two inward-facing triangles. 

Fold and sew the darts

I folded and pinned the darts in place and then moved back to my sewing machine to sew them. 

Use the extra fabric

Make the waistband 

Next, I moved on to the waistband of the skirt. I used the leftover fabric of the shirt and marked 10 cm (3.9 inches) from the bottom. 

Make a rectangle

I drew a 24 cm (9.4 inches) line between the two points and marked from just below the button a ¼ of my waist size plus 1 cm (0.4 inches) for seam allowance which was 17 cm (6.7 inches). 

Ruffle hem mini skirt

I grabbed my scissors and cut along my markings to get the fabric needed for the waistband. 

Press the waistband

I sewed the two pieces together to make my waistband and then used the iron to press down a small fold on both ends of the waistband. I then folded the waistband in half, lengthwise, and pressed. 

Pin on the waistband

To attach the waistband to the skirt, I placed it over the top so that the fold of the waistband lay directly over the top of the skirt. I pinned and sewed it into place. 

Add a button

All that was left to do was sew on a button and buttonhole to the waistband of the skirt. 

Pencil skirt ruffle hem

This ruffle hem skirt turned out perfectly! What other shirt upcycle ideas do you have? Let me know in the comments below! 

Suggested materials:
  • Shirt
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk
See all materials

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Join the conversation
3 of 11 comments
  • Grandmasue10 Grandmasue10 on May 02, 2021

    I am a stickler for naming things right. That is a Gingham checked shirt. The whole project is great, though, and I may just use a plaid shirt or gingham shirt to make my own.

    • Beth Booth Beth Booth on Apr 29, 2022

      The way you mentioned naming things right I thought she named it wrong but she just said an old shirt.

  • Doreen Kennedy Doreen Kennedy on May 31, 2021

    Very cute skirt.