Repurposed T Shirts – Cutting Out Tips

In a previous post, I shared a few ideas of how you can use t shirts to make OTHER THINGS, upcyclling, repurposing or recycling are a few common 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 husband’s and I’s cool knit 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.
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 24 years old)
This jumpsuit, I made 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.  You can usually pick up an inexpensive pattern on Craftsy or just Google and you will be surprised at how many free patterns there are out there for little kids.

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 a great 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 that has some Lycra or Spandex in it.  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.

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

Cut off the hem using a rotary cutter or scissors.


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

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

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



This is a shirt that I used to make a skirt with.

Line up the side seams with the fold in front.

Place the pattern piece on fold where indicated.

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

Added a little trim and look what a cute skirt this made.
This simple pattern can be found in my Crafty shop or Etsy.

TIP: If the shirt has a turtle neck, cut it off, this is great fabric for cuffs.

Fabric from long sleeves also make good cuffs.

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  • DeanNovember 12, 2015 - 1:09 pm

    My daughter loves this stuff. Great tutorial. I know she will appreciate this! ThanksReplyCancel

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