Thursday, February 2, 2012

Upcycled "Streamer" Skirt tutorial

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Up until about four weeks ago, I had never watched Project Runway. See, I like competition shows, but I'm not a big fan of the drama, gossip and all-around meanness that often accompanies reality TV. For some reason, I assumed that Project Runway would be rife with these things (and maybe it is), but after reading about this season over at Simple Simon & Co, I decided to give PR a shot.

The designers, so far at least, haven't been as spiteful as I expected, and I absolutely love seeing their creativity! Plus, Miss Piggy was on a few episodes ago, and I'm a Muppet Maniac! :)

Anyway, all that serves as introduction to this skirt.

In the opening episode of the season, the designers faced the $1 challenge-- having to create looks, using only items from the dollar store. Gordana didn't win, but I liked the fun movement of her streamer dress.

Then I started to wonder if I could make something that kind of mirrored it. If I succeeded, it could be a fun, almost flapper-ish number.

The husband and I recently had a "talk" about his t-shirt storage practices, which lead to him cleaning out his t-shirt drawer. Score! I could make my streamer dress an UPCYCLED streamer dress. Even better!

"Oh. My. Word," you're probably saying. "Please just show me how to make it."

Okay, fine. :)

2 old t-shirts (or 3, if your shirts are smaller or you want more color variation)

Fabric marker
Sewing gear

If using t-shirts, flatten one out, lining up the back and front hem.

 Cut off that hem, so all your "streamers" will have the same unfinished edge.

Cut the shirt into three 4-inch strips.

Now measure and mark every two inches along the bottom of each strip.

Cut a straight line up at each mark.  Leave about 1 inch at the top.  Perfection is NOT the name of the game here.  No one's going to be able to tell if you did or didn't use a straight-edge, so don't waste your time!

Kind of fun, huh?  Now repeat all those steps on your second t-shirt, but only cut two strips.

 My shirts were men's XL, so I had plenty of material to work with.  If you don't, you may need to grab another shirt.  Either way, cut two rectangles that will be your skirt base.  Mine are 14 inches by 10.5 inches.

Why?  I wanted my waist measurement (21 inches) + 7 inches (though this doesn't have to be exact).  And I wanted my length to be 10.5.

Sew up sides, right sides together.  Then flip the base right side out.

Run a gathering stitch through the top of each of your streamer pieces.

 Gather each strip until it's the same width as your skirt base.

Now, using your fabric marker, draw one line across the base, one inch from the bottom.

After that, draw four more lines, each two inches apart.  When you're done, you should have about 1-1 1/2 inches above your top line (to make your casing).

Starting at the bottom, attach your gathered strips, following the lines you drew.  The top will be covered with the following layer, so just topstitch them... EXCEPT for the top one.

For the top streamer strip, attach it, right sides together, so it's facing up to the top opening.

After you stitch it on, flip it down and voila... no stitch lines.

I didn't take a picture of this, but now you simply fold the top of your base over to create a casing for your elastic. Stitch, being careful not to stitch over your streamers. Leave a 1" opening to put your elastic in.   Then, using a safety pin, pull your elastic through, stitch up the opening, and there you have it!

It's a fun little take on the basic ruffle skirt, if I do say so myself. :)


  1. This is just gorgeous. What a great idea I will be keeping an eye out for nice t-shirts when i go op-shopping (my husbands are worn out by the time he's finished with them)

    1. I'm with ya. I couldn't believe he had some that we're usable. That probably speaks to the absurd amount of shirts he owns. :)

  2. LOVE this! Thanks for linking up to DIY Diva Thurs :)


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  4. Oh my word...SO cute!! Amazing. I think maybe, just maybe, I could do this! How fun!!

    1. Oh yeah, you can!! I'm so glad it turned out! As I was making it, I kept thinking, "Please don't be a craft fail! Please!" :) Phew. Dodged a bullet.

  5. Adorable! If I only I could get my husband to clean out his t-shirt storage practice (ie still holding on to high school t-shirts). :)

    1. May I recommend refusing to put them away unless he keeps his drawer clean? :)

  6. Wow I love it. For some reason I am getting obsessed with T-Shirt patterns. I haven't attempted any yet, but I may just have to try this one. I am you newest GFC follower. Stop by for a follow back.

    1. I know! It's a blast re-working t-shirts! And it's cheaper and GREEN!! Following you! :)

  7. Adorable! Thanks for sharing at this week's BFF OPen House.

  8. Thanks so much for linking up to CountryMommaCooks Link & Greet Party!
    Hope to see you next Saturday……Have a blessed week:)


I love comments more than I love buying new fabric, and that's saying something. :)