Repurposed T Shirts – Cutting Out Tips


In a previous post, I shared a few ideas of how you can use repurposed t shirts to make OTHER THINGS, upcycling, repurposing, or recycling are a few standard terms used.

I love to repurpose things and I love to sew.

When my kids were little ones, I made a lot of their clothes using some of my and my husband’s knit shirts.

Here are a few examples:

repurposed t shirts

I made this knit overall jumpsuit from an existing t-shirt, and I used a cool applique patch from another shirt. 

The red shirt was made from an adult t-shirt as well.

repurposed t shirts kolby

This jumpsuit was made from one of my cool rugby shirts. 

I loved the feel of the thick knit and couldn’t part with it, so I made something for my little boy. (now 31 years old)

repurposed t shirts allie

I made this jumpsuit using one of my sweatshirts, and the pocket on the front was from an old kit dress.

Little kids are so fun to sew for! 

Little tops and pants hardly take any fabric, so repurposing is easy and inexpensive.  Just think of all the fun things you can make. 

I have a good selection of fun patterns for babies and children here on my site or just Google and you will be surprised at how many free patterns there are out there for little kids.


repurposed t shirts skirt

I am going to show you how to easily cut out a waistband and little girl skirt using an existing adult t shirt.

If you like going to garage sales or thrift stores, watch for unique colors and prints with good-quality fabric.

Check the labels for the fabric content.  For the skirt waistband, use rib knits or any stretch fabric that has 100% stretch. Recycled shirts with a lot of spandex content work really well.

I have even purchased shirts in clothing stores that are on clearance just for the fabric.

Tip:  Get the largest size. 

The larger the size, the more fabric. 

Knit skirts and dresses are a great deal. 

The long knit dresses and skirts that are popular now are an excellent find for upcycling because they have a log of yardage in fabric. 

Look for the killer deals.  If I see a cute knit skirt or dress on clearance I watch it to hit rock bottom price like 70% off then I snatch it up and add it to my knit box.

For a cute skirt with a yoga-folded waistband, choose a shirt with some Lycra or Spandex. 

This will allow it to stretch like you need for a waistband. 

The fabric should stretch at least twice the size.  So, be sure to check the stretch.

repurposed t shirts
repurposed t shirts before

Open up the shirt or skirt and get the wrinkles out.

repurposed t shirts

Line up the bottom hem and fold the shirt so the side seams are lined up. 

The fold will be the front and back of the shirt.

repurposed t shirts

Cut off the hem using a rotary cutter or scissors.

repurposed t shirts
repurposed t shirts

Place the ruler as close to the seam as possible and at a right angle perpendicular to the hem.

repurposed t shirts cutter

To get the most fabric out of the shirt, place the ruler as high and close to the armpit as possible.  Cut at a right angle perpendicular to the fold.

repurposed t shirts

Use the fabric right away, or fold and place in your stash of knit fabrics.

How to Make Skirt from a Repurposed T Shirt

repurposed t shirts

Use the fabric right away, or fold and place in your stash of knit fabrics.

repurposed t shirts

Line up the side seams with the fold in front.

repurposed t shirts

Place the pattern piece on fold where indicated.

repurposed t shirts

This is what I had left after cutting out a skirt front & back.

repurposed t shirts

I added a little trim, and look what a skirt this made.

This simple pattern can be found here on my site, or in  Etsy.

repurposed t shirts

TIP: If the shirt has a turtle neck, cut it off.

This makes a great fabric for cuffs.

repurposed t shirts

Fabric from long sleeves also makes good cuffs.


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Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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