Monday, June 14, 2010

.easier than pie.

.easier than pie.  A couple weeks ago, I made a skirt for Lydia that literally took about 20 minutes, that was with going to get a drink and putting a fussy toddler down for a nap.  Below is a tutorial that will show you how to make a skirt just like it.  It is made from a recycled t-shirt, men's or woman's will work.  The shirt to skirt tutorial is really so very simple, I hope you have 20 minutes to make one for your own little one. .easier than pie.
*one old shirt
* 3/4" elastic
*waist measurement of your child
*a sewing machine with thread, and 20 minutes. 

If anything doesn't make sense along the way please leave me a comment or shoot me an email & I will try to clarify what I mean.  Pictures are numbered according to the step they correlate with, to get a closer look click on the picture.

Step 1: Pick out your fabric, aka - get an old shirt.  I stepped into my closet and chose a couple shirts that I have not worn in a while..... or ever.  I am sure any size will work, but if it is too big you may need to make it smaller by stitching a side seam.  The shirts I used were both size medium and they worked perfectly.  The material of the first skirt I made was with 100% cotton and it worked beautifully.  The second was made with 55% cotton and 45% Rayon, which also worked great.  I am sure you can use most fabrics.  If you choose to work with a knit, make sure that you have a needle in your machine that will also work with knit.  I have only worked with knits a handful of times, but I know that my machine & a regular universal needle do not really tolerate it (your machine may be different though).  

Step 2: Lay the shirt down on a flat surface and straighten out any wrinkles.  If you want to iron you can but it's not absolutely necessary.
Step 3:  Measure up from bottom hem 11 inches all the way across your shirt.  This makes a longer skirt if you want a shorter version I recommend measuring up 9 or 10 inches. 
If you have a shirt that gets lower in one point, like the middle of many men's dress shirts, pick a spot and measure 11 inches across from there.  *Note: I have a 15 month old who is around 30 inches tall.  Take height into consideration for this step, you may need to make the skirt taller or shorter depending on the size of your child.

Step 4: Cut at the 11 inch mark - all the way across your shirt.  Making a cut that is horizontal to the hem.  The bottom of the shirt is now your skirt and the top can be save for another project or you could use it to jazz up the skirt. If you have a larger shirt this is where you can make it smaller by sewing straight up a side.

Step 5:  Cut a 3/4 inch elastic piece that is 1/2 inch larger than your child's waist measurement.  Lydia was around 17.5 but I want it to fit all summer and fall so I went up a half inch, pretending she is 18 inches, so I cut a piece that was 18.5 inches long.

Step 6: Sew the elastic in a loop.  Overlap ends of the elastic by 1/2 inch and sew securely together.  By overlapping the ends 1/2 inch it creates an elastic band that is slightly smaller then the child's waist. Lydia's band measured 17.5 inches after being sewn.
Step 7: Pin elastic to skirt folding 3/4" of fabric over the elastic (fabric will come to the edge).  The easiest way to do this is to take the overlap piece of elastic (where it is sewn together) and place it in the *back of skirt.  Do the same all the way around the skirt, I find that it is easiest when I put the back in first, then front, then sides, pinning in all the way around last.  This way I know the elastic is in place evenly.  I place 8 pins in to hold the elastic, making sure they are all evenly spaced.
*If my original shirt has seams on both sides, the back of original shirt is the back of the skirt and I mark it with either a pin or fabric marker.  If my original shirt has only one hem then that is the new back, unless there are graphics. You will have to decide what works best for you on each shirt, as they all differ.
Step 8: Sew elastic in place.  This is the hardest part!  Sew around elastic in its entirety, back stitching at beginning and end to secure.  I use a zig-zag stitch all the way around, keeping the elastic lined up with the left side of my presser foot. It works best if you use your left hand to help pull the fabric and elastic through, and your right hand to stretch and make sure fabric is aligned.  Go slow so that your fabric is lined up right, you won't want to re-due this step. *Do not worry so much what the the top of this looks like because it will be covered up in the next couple of steps.
sorry about the darkness of the second photo

Step 9: Fold the elastic band over again, pinning in place like in step 7, and sew around again (using zig-zag stitching and back stitching at beginning and end), you will need to stretch it and keep the fabric in place during this step, just like step 8.

Step 10: Trim your thread & admire what you made.  Like I said, easier then making pie.
If you do make this I would love to see pictures of your sweeties in them.  I would also like to know if something didn't sound right or if you found and even easier way to modify this skirt.
Lydia enjoying her skirt, even on a cold summer day.


Anonymous said...

I have really been enjoying seeing how so many people are taking unused/unwanted clothing and turning them into usable things. The skirt turned out so cute. Well, of course, your cute little missy makes the skirt even cuter!

Marina Serafeimidou said...

very nice tutorial...thanks !!!manny kisses and regards from Athens Greece!!!

Jen Ell's Revenge said...

I think I may have to do this in big girl size!

janimal said...

She looks completely adorable!
I recently posted turning a TShirt into a skirt for my toddler also. I make the waistband a little differently. I sew the waistband first and THEN thread the elastic through using a safety pin. That technique is described well in the Lazy Days pattern on the Oliver and S website. Might be easier than your method??