Monday, July 16, 2012

T-Shirt to Skirt...A Recycle Project

My daughter left for camp today! A whole week 4 hours from home...I won't know what to do with all the silence. And since the girl went away to camp, I decided to let the boy go to theater camp for the week. Monster Madness is the theme! Perfect for a boy!
This is a Christian camp and the dress code is fairly modest. The girls are expected to wear a skirt to chapel every day but they suggested only sending one or two because these are just 10 year olds. Well, I took my friend's advice and hit Goodwill for a few pieces of clothing that I didn't mind if it didn't come back, or if it came back less than clean and joyful smelling. I only found one skirt because my dear 10 year old has been going through a 3 year growth spurt and I have hard time finding things that fit her...that she will wear. At the last minute I was feeling a bit concerned that she only had one skirt so I decided yesterday to try to upcycle her one from items here at the house. My first idea was to cut down one of two dresses I had cleaned from my closet. Both dresses had zippers down the back, however, and I just didn't feel like dealing with that.

What I ended up making is a tshirt skirt. Please excuse my lack of pictures as I didn't think of posting it until the last minute! I initially used an XL tshirt (she is equivalent to an adult small,... maybe a little smaller). I cut it off right under the arm holes.
Next I took a wide piece of elastic (3/4"-1") and measured around her waist making it sure it fit snugly but not tight. I sewed it together at the end to make a waistband. Next I attached the cut end (the top) of the tshirt to the elastic. This is a bit tricky without pictures so let me see if I can explain how I did it.
The fabric is going to be almost double the size of the elastic so you are going to need to do some finagling. This is how I handled it.
1. Press the elastic and set a pin in each of the two ends. This finds the halfway marks. Now open the circle again and press it where the pins line up. Set a pin in each of the two new ends. You have now marked the four quarters of the circle. Do the same with the tshirt.
2. Place the elastic on the inside of the cut part of the tshirt and line up your pins. Pin the fabric to the elastic. You are still going to have an excess of fabric.
****One thing I did not do but could be done to make it look neater is to leave about a 1/4 inch of fabric over the top of the elastic to be tucked over. This will neaten it up and won't leave frayed edges, but this is tshirt fabric so I wasn't too worried about fraying.
3. I created little pleats here and there between the pins to use up some of the fabric. You still want there to be a bit of gapping between the fabric and the elastic. I'll explain why in a minute.

Now I set my machine for stretch material but you don't necessarily have to. I just wanted it sewn together well. While sewing the fabric to the elastic I held it from both sides (front and back of sewing machine) and gave stretched the elastic. I kept the elastic stretched and taut because I wanted to make sure she could she could have plenty of stretching room in the waist if needed.
I know my hand is held differently in the picture but I didn't think about it being wrong until I had finished and looked at the pictures.
After you sew all around the waistline, fold the elastic and fabric down toward the inside of the skirt once. When sewn, this will be your actual waistband.
Prior to this is when I figured out the skirt would not be long enough, so I cut a second tshirt similar to the first. I knew I didn't need it to be as long as the first one so I salvaged 12 inches off the second one.
I flipped this tube inside out and slipped it over the skirt so the newly cut end of the second skirt lined up with the bottom end of the first shirt. Pin and sew the two pieces together. I used a 1/2" seam allowance since I knew I had plenty of fabric.
I wanted to make sure the seam didn't pucker (since I left the bottom of the original shirt uncut, the original finished seam was still there) so I tucked both 1/2" allowances over to the navy side on the back and top stitched them down.

The seam you see on the gray side is just from the original bottom seam of the tshirt. I just didn't sew far enough down.

Not too bad for a quick and easy skirt for camp that will be very comfortable to wear. This would be a great project for colorful or printed tshirts. Or you could add lace, ric-rac, etc. My girl is going through NON girly girl stage so I was not allowed to girl it up.


Sallie said...

A great idea! Thanks for sharing!

Diana and LaDonna said...

Perfect for camp! Good job!


Cindy said...

Brilliant! Well done Mom.