Wednesday, June 20, 2012

DIY: How to turn a button-up shirt into a skirt

One of the most awesome things about going to Hawaii was my boyfriend's dad's old walk-in closet that was FILLED with the most amazing vintage aloha shirts I've ever seen! But since I don't have that much use for them in my daily wardrobe, I decided to turn this silk one into a skirt!

It's actually pretty easy if you have access to a sewing machine, and doesn't really require being a great seamstress. Read on to find out how to do it!

You're going to need:
  • old men's shirt
  • elastic (1" or 3/4")
  • extra fabric to make strips for the elastic casing
  • sewing supplies (pins, sewing machine, thread, scissors, patience)
Make sure that you can step into the shirt and pull it up to your waist to ensure that it's big enough to work as a skirt.

1. Lay out the shirt and pin it in a horizontal line right above the armpits. This is to make sure that when you cut it across, the layers don't move around and get uneven. Then cut from armpit to armpit.

2.  Cut some strips from a scrap fabric that's around the same weight as your shirt. You can also just use strips from the top part of the shirt that you don't need. My elastic was 1" and I cut the strips 2" wide. In hindsight, I'd cut them 2.5" wide just for a little more wiggle room.

3. Your strips will probably need to be sewn together to be long enough. Sew them together and press the seam, making sure to remember that the strip now has a right and wrong side.

4. Pin the strip to the skirt's top with the right sides facing. Make sure the right side of the strip is facing the skirt, so the seams of the strip will be inside the elastic casing. Pin the two parts of the button placket together so they don't move around while you sew.

5. Sew the strip to the shirt, starting on one side of the skirt and going over the button placket with the shirt buttoned as you do it. Leave the two ends hanging off a few inches unsewn.

6. Fold the skirt with the two unsewn ends of the strips hanging off but lying straight. You want to sew them together to make the strips just the same measurement as the top of the skirt.

To do that, fold the skirt and strips as the picture, then put a pin in the two strips right where the folded edge of the skirt ends.

7. Then sew it up and trim the ends.

8.  Next, press the strip seam flat and finish sewing the strip to the skirt. When you're done, press the skirt/strip seam up and the edge of the strip down.

9.  Then press the whole strip down and sew.

If you're like me, you will probably forget that you need to leave about 3 or 4 inches unsewn so you can insert the elastic. In that case, just pull out your seam ripper and open a spot!

10.  You can use a safety pin attached to one end of the elastic to push it through the casing. When you've got it all the way through, overlap the ends by an inch and sew them securely.

11.  Then you go back and pull it flat and sew over the 3-4 inch hole you left. Almost done!

12.  I also sewed a straight vertical line on each of the sides of my skirt as well as in the center back to keep the elastic from turning around so much.

And then you'll have this!

Photo by Raymond, jaunty stance by me
C&C California t-shirt with dumpling stain, Giordano jacket, Rebecca Minkoff quilted MAC, Aldo Netz shoes, J.Crew watch, self-made skirt and Kinokuniya bag

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