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Cost
$ $ $ $ $
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• • • • •
Time
8h00

Too-short shorts and fabric from men's cotton shirts = skirt
Raw Material Supply #1 – fabric from a pile men’s 100% cotton shirts.
Raw Material Supply #2 - These shorts were too short and too tight around the hips, but they fit fine at the waist. So, time to recycle them.

Some notes:
I wouldn’t attempt this with a regular sewing machine---too many seams that can fray, especially if you are upcycling fabric that may already been somewhat worn. A serger aka an overlock machine finishes the seams as it sews.

When I do this again, I will use the same technique of making the patches all one height but difference lengths. However, I’d probably make the lengths range from say, 2-6 inches, rather than from 2-10 inches, as I don’t think all those big patches looked good. They wouldn’t have been so noticeable in the lower tiers. I might also go for 5 or 5.5 inches high, and I think my next one might have at least four tiers.

I do like how the color scheme turned out. It worked well to have one fabric used in all three tiers, even thought the first tier was mostly brown, the second mostly green, and the third a mix of brown and green.

Posted by J. Pario from Lincoln, Nebraska, United States • Published See J. Pario's 22 projects »
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  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 1
    Step 1

    I cut the legs off completely.

    *** Caution! *** Be sure to pull the pockets out so you don’t cut the bottoms off of your pockets!

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 2
    Step 2

    In order to make the hem even, I measured 10 inches from the waist and then made a mark with a sharpie.

    If I had been clever, I would have turned the shorts inside out for this part….

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 3
    Step 3

    I measured the bottom edge of what was now a very short skirt and got about 44 inches.

    (Precision is not a high priority in this project. If it was, I wouldn’t be doing it!)

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 4
    Step 4

    I ironed the fabric I was going to use.

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 5
    Step 5

    I needed strips 4.5 inches wide.

    The correct way to get these is with a rotary cutter and a cutting mat. I used the quick and easy way instead.

    I made a cut a little more than 4.5 inches from the edge. Then I just pulled in two directions and the fabric torn along the bias. A straight line with no cutting.

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 6
    Step 6

    The edges tend to curl a bit but I just get out my iron and put them back in their place.

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 7
    Step 7

    Here are my strips of fabric.

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 8
    Step 8

    I could cut neat 4.5 inch squares. But that would look too quilt-like and then every place I messed up would be obvious. So I went with random lengths.

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 9
    Step 9

    I lined up my patches in the order I wanted and then serged them together.

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 10
    Step 10

    Then I put right sides together….

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 11
    Step 11

    And made a loop.

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 12
    Step 12

    I repeated the process three times, with each loop or tier larger than the last. The lengths I was aimed for were 50, then 85, then 115 inches. I think I got 54, 90, and 117 inches. That’s ok—this project is very forgiving of imprecision.

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 13
    Step 13

    It was time to pin the first loop on the skirt. The loop was bigger than the skirt. After all, I didn’t want the skirt to be as uncomfortable as the shorts were! So I needed to pin the loop on in a way that the gathers would be evenly spread out along the seam.

    The correct way to do this is to sew a basting stitch along the top of the loop and then tug gently on it, distributing the fabric evenly over the length of thread that is the size you want.

    That isn’t what I did. I don’t like to mess with basting.

    Instead, I marked the four quadrants of the loop with pins so I could match them up with the four quadrants of the shorts. Here’s how. I spread the loop out and put pins in the leftmost and the rightmost ends.

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 14
    Step 14

    Then, I put those pins in the middle next to each other and put pins at the new leftmost and rightmost ends.

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 15
    Step 15

    Ergo, I had four pins equal distance from each other and dividing the loop into four equal parts.

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 16
    Step 16

    I then matched each of the four pins with the sides, front, and back of the shorts-turned-skirt.

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 17
    Step 17

    Once it was anchored in four places, I preceded to pin each of the four sections as evenly as I could.

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 18
    Step 18

    I repeated the process for the second tier/loop.

    Before I sewed on the last tier/loop, I hemmed it. That isn’t the correct way, either. You are supposed to do the hem last because you should try on the garment and mark where the hem should go with a ruler between the fabric and the floor. This way the hem is straight even though your body has bumps and curves. (It also presumes you have someone else to do this with you.) But with such a ruffled skirt, such niceties don’t really matter. And it was easier to hem the last loop before I put the last loop on the skirt.

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 19
    Step 19

    I sewed on the last loop…

  • How to sew a patchwork skirt. Recycled Skirt Mash Up - Step 20
    Step 20

    And that’s it!

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Comments

Arawynn
Arawynn · 8 projects
This is too cute. Definitely would be a great way to reuse jeans and shirts.
J. Pario
J. Pario · Lincoln, Nebraska, US · 26 projects
It was fun! I have already scouted out fabric for my next one.... The thrift store had a sale-- $1 for everything you could stuff in a brown paper sack. I am planning to play with pastels and stripes.
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