March 21, 2013

button-up shirt into a skirt

There's been a few of these button-up shirt skirt ideas floating around lately. I've seen a few but not any that I really like so I decided I would just make one up myself.

My husband had this shirt that he never wore anymore and was pleased to give it to me to repurpose. The transformation process is pretty simple, but honestly, it does seem daunting by the amount of pictures and words I've created below. Oi. Sorry about that.

1. Cut the sleeves off the shirt at the shoulder seam.
2. Keep the sleeves because you will need them later.
3. Cut off the top of the shirt. My shirt had a breast pocket on it that I wanted to keep so I cut it off above that, leaving enough space for a seam allowance.
4. The bottom of my shirt had a curve to it so I decided to make a straight cut across the bottom and hem it. This step is not necessary, especially if you're shirt already has a straight bottom to it. But if you prefer the curvedness, that's great!
5. Cut both sleeves open along the seam and cut both cuffs off. Make as many 4.5 inch strips as you can, cutting the length of the sleeve. These pieces will make up your waistband.
6. If you trimmed off the bottom of your shirt, press the edge over 1/4 inch and then press that over once again.

7. Sew your hem down. 
8. Press all the sleeve strips and sew them together into one long piece. (To get a nice seam, place 2 strips of fabric together at a right angle and sew diagonally from one corner to the other, so when you open it there is a seam across your long strip at a 45 degree angle.)
9. Press these seams open. Fold the strip in half the long way with right sides together and press.
10. Starting on one end of your waistband strip sew a diagonal seam (like in picture), turn and stitch half way down the length. Leave about 3 inches open and then continue sewing the rest of the length, making another angled point at the end.
11. Turn this strip right side out using the small space you left open in the middle. Press.
12. If you cut your shirt off above the armpit leaving funny arm holes, sew this up (kind of along the dotted line in picture).

13. Hold the waistband around your waist at the spot you would like your skirt to sit. Place a pin on each side of the strip where they meet. Make sure it is centered on your body and the length of each end hanging down is equal.
14. Fold your waistband in half matching up the two pins and place another pin at the fold, which should be the middle back of the waistband. Fold that fold up to the other pins and place a pin on each side of the waistband at this new fold. The section of your waistband that will sit around your body should now be divided into 4 equal sections.
15. Unbutton the skirt part so it is open and lay flat. Divide the top of the skirt into four equal sections like you did the waistband by folding in half, placing a pin at the fold, and folding in half again, placing pins. (If the whole folding thing is confusing you, you can also just measure and divide it into fourths using math skills. That's just too much work for my brain.)
16. Lay the waistband flat with the sewed edge facing down. With the right side of the skirt piece facing down, match up each pin on the waistband to the corresponding pin on the skirt, placing one button down front end to the fathest right pin and the other front to the farthest left pin. The top of the skirt should be pinned to the inside bottom of the waistband. The skirt should be confined to the space you marked out on the waist band for your waist size.
17. Pin down the excess fabric in tucks and gathers between each section.
18. Working with the right side facing you, top stitch the waistband onto the skirt from one end to the other. Sewing over the gathers of fabric and removing pins as you go.

That's it! Button up your skirt and tie it into a bow around your waist. Or, if your waistband tie is long enough you can wrap it around twice and tie it in a small knot at the front (like I did below). Really, there is a lot of different ways to turn a button-up shirt into a skirt, so maybe experiment with this a little bit for yourself!


  1. oh you are so creative! It's so cute!

  2. You make that look so easy! And you make the skirt look so cute! Very cute :)

  3. I love it! You are so talented!

  4. Ok, So I just tried this! (Check out photos at ) This was SUPER Easy, and way awesome. I can't tie a bow, I used a short sleeved button up my dad used to wear, but I can tie a knot and it's still SUPER CUTE!! Thank you so much for this. I'll be making WAY more now. :)
    Arielle Caitlynn
    ( <-- facebook too)

  5. this is extremely confusing!