Fabric recycling: one skirt from two shirts (link to book review)


This book has instructions for drafting and sewing 23 skirts. Some skirts are one size only, others are drafted to your measurements. The front and back of most skirts is alike -- I'm not sure that works for everyone. Several skirts have pockets as part of the design.

I'm glad I bought the book, although I have only had time to sew one skirt from it.


I have been admiring the fabric from men's dress shirts -- smooth, tightly woven, and not too drapey.

At some point, I realized that two of my husband's worn out shirts had compatible colors: a medium blue, and a very fine hound's tooth plaid in navy and white. Both were a large size, and unfitted/no darts in the back.

The "Stylish Skirts" book has a pattern for a gathered skirt assembled from panels ("J Irregular gathers" picture in the review). After some careful cutting, I managed to get all the pieces from the two shirts, and only had one that I needed to sew two pieces together.

The skirt is complete. If I made it again, I would make the center panel wider, as the single size from the book really doesn't have a lot of ease on me! It has a 80's country patchwork vibe that I have mixed feelings about, which would only get more extreme if I sewed the two patch pockets from the original shirts on.

Some observations on this type of recycling:

1) the original shirts had already worn through at the collar. I didn't use any of the collar or cuff material, but the fabric is not brand new -- it has been washed many times. I don't know how much wear I will get out of the skirt.

2) Lots of fabric is wasted. The curves of the sleeves and armholes all got trimmed off to make the rectangles for the skirt parts. 2 large garments turned into 1 full garment.

3) I have two shirts worth of buttons waiting for my next project that needs shirt buttons.

4) the patchwork look isn't for everyone. On the other hand, free fabric!

I always enter at our county Fair, this year I entered the recycling category, making an apron from a shirt.

I found a perfect one at the thrift store, pale yellow and green stripes. I made a lovely little apron for my niece, I had the notions that I used in my stash, so it cost me just the $3.00 for the shirt.

I also made a wine bottle bag( more recycling ) from the sleeve...so I won 2 $6.00 prizes.

I also bought a small tablecloth at the same time and made a bistro apron for me(another recycling category)

I won $6.00 on that also....and I will use the rest of the fabric to add a bib front, and the apron will do me.

I find the thrift stores an excellent source of fabric.....and at one of them seniors get 30% of the price.

David Trammel's picture

Love hearing when people do these kinds of DIY projects, thanks.