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Wiser Living

Finding a natural solution

A Green Home: Repurposed Clothing: Skirt into Shirt

Jaci KennisonJaclyn Kennison is a freelance writer living and playing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She owns and manages an art gallery and event venue between fits of shopping and redecorating. 

The other day I stood in front of my closet, like I always do, fitting different pieces together until I was satisfied with the image in the mirror. As I twisted front and back, critiquing the different elements, I noticed—to my utter dismay—that I had stained my skirt. Not only did this require another round of outfit auditions, but it also forced me to trash one of my favorite pieces of clothing.

Unable to toss it in the compost pile, I thought about it on the way to work. There had to be some way I could re-make the garment into something I could continue to use. My first thought was to cut the bottom off and make it into a bag. The thing is, it was such a great skirt, I wanted to wear it.

Halfway to the office I remembered the piece had a drawstring waist. A few quick snips and some stitching and I could turn it into a halter top. I was thrilled at the idea. If you are facing a similar situation, I would encourage you to give the following suggestion a try. While this idea is tailored toward a skirt already equipped with a drawstring, it could be adapted for most any piece of material with some minor adjustments.

To begin, drape the skirt over your shoulders with the waist around your neck and use a bar of white soap to mark approximately where you would like the shoulder to fall. For my piece, I am planning to cut the skirt close to the neck (what was the waist) and in a deep C shape toward where I want the armpits to fall creating a halter top. Mark the skirt just beneath your armpits and draw a dashed line where you would like the cut to be. I marked the garment and drew my line from just beneath the armpit to the new collar, then around the drawstring keeping the string and sheath in tact. Next, mark your material where you would like the bottom hem to fall and make your cut about a quarter inch below that.

Cut the back out of the shirt along the seam from the arm hole to your new collar 
Cut the back of the skirt along the seam from the arm hole to your new collar. Photo By Jaci Kennison. 

Now, regarding the back of your new garment: In my case, I want the back to be open, tied at about the widest part of my ribcage just under my bra line. Cut the skirt from the new raw bottom along the outside of the seam up to the new armpit on either side. Attach a ribbon to the top of the seam, at the base of the new armpit on both sides, with care to ensure you will have enough ribbon to tie your garment closed. Done!

Attach ties with ribbon or use the bottom of the skirt to create ties that close the back 
Attach ties with ribbon or use the bottom of the skirt to create ties that close the back. Photo By Jaci Kennison. 

A variety of other options exist here as well. For other great ideas on making a skirt into a shirt, check out YouTube, or just google it! The options are only limited by your imagination (and potentially your skill with a sewing machine).