Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom


Knit Ruffle Skirt Tutorial

(Looking for more free patterns? Be sure to check out my free patterns and tutorials page here.)

I love that this skirt is so easy to make!  I've made it multiple times.  One of the reasons it comes together so quickly is that you don't have to hem any of the edges.  (I love that about knit fabric.)

Learn how to make a knit ruffle skirt using an old xl shirt or knit yardage.

The best part about this skirt is that you can use recycled knits: a man's L or  XL t-shirt should give you enough fabric to squeeze out up to a 5t skirt.  (the pink skirt and green skirts shown above were made from Large golf shirts.  (That's the perk of having multiple pro golfers in the family - we get all their girly or too small golf shirts.)

The skirt has an elastic waist, so it can be adjusted to fit from a 2T to 5T.  If you wanted to make it for a taller child, you would need to about 5/8 to 3/4 yard of knit fabric, and cut the strips slightly taller.

Items needed to make a Knit Ruffle Skirt:
  • 5/8 yard of 60 inch wide knit fabric or large or xl men's knit shirt
  • 3/8 or 1/2 inch wide elastic
  • ball point needle
  • coordinating thread, scissors, ruler, basic sewing supplies

1.  If you are using knit yardage, fold your fabric in half and cut 3 strips 4.5 inches tall by 25 inches wide.  Cut a 4th strip, 8 inches tall by 17.5 inches wide.
(When you unfold the fabric, the measurements will be 4.5 X 50 and 8 X 35.)  Skip to step 4.

If you plan on using a Man's shirt, I recommend using an extra large shirt.  The bigger the shirt, the more fabric you have to work with.  I have used a large shirt before, but it is a little bit harder to get the length needed for a longer skirt.

Here is how to cut up the shirt:

Starting at the bottom of the shirt, cut off the hem.

Then cut the shirt in three strips, starting at the bottom, 4.5 inches tall.  You will cut through the front and back of the shirt, making a big fabric loop.

I used my disappearing fabric marker to show where to make the cuts.  (I didn't want to cut this shirt,  I am going to use it to make "comfy" pants for my son, so I am switching to the striped fabric...)

The 4th strip is for the base of the skirt and will be 7 to 8 inches tall.  (Go ahead and cut it to 8 inches if you have enough fabric.)  For the width, just square it off to the sleeve edge, (see my drawing above.)  This will leave you with two pieces.  Don't worry about cutting through the placket, this will go at the bottom underside of the skirt and we will just sew over it when attaching the ruffle.

Here is what you will have:

2.  Take your 3 ruffle tube/strips and cut the seams on one side, so you have 3 long strips, 50 inches wide

3.  Take the 2 pieces you cut for the base skirt, sew them together along the 8 inch side so you have one long strip.

4.  Sew a straight stitch along the bottom side of each of your ruffle strips about 1/4 inch from the edge.  This will help stabilize the fabric and help it hold up better.

5. Time to gather the ruffles. Set your sewing machine to the longest stitch length. (Mine goes to 7.) Sew a straight stitch all the way across the top of the ruffle strip, 1/4 inch from the edge. Leave the ends loose, no backstitching. Do this on all three ruffles. Go ahead and move the stitch length back to the normal length now before you forget.

6.  To gather your ruffle strip, gently pull on the bottom thread of your basting stitch while holding the fabric.  Move the fabric evenly down the thread, trying to keep the gathers even.  Keep gathering until your strip is about 1/2 inch shorter than the width of the skirt base.  Do this for all three ruffle strips.

6.  Next, line up the ruffle 1/2 inch from the bottom of the skirt base and about 1/4 inch from the edge. (The extra 1/4 inch is for the seam allowance).  Wrong side of the ruffle facing right side of the skirt base.  When you are looking at the skirt, you will see the right sides of both pieces.  (If you are using a man's shirt and cut across part of the placket when cutting your fabric, make sure it is on the bottom of the skirt.)

Pin the ruffle to the skirt base securely, all the away across.

Place the gathered edge under your sewing foot and sew right over the gathering stitch.  When I sew gathers, I usually leave my pins in, but you are risking broken needles and pins, so if you do this, go slowly and be careful...

7.  Line up the second ruffle tier 2 1/2 above the bottom tier and 1/4 inch from the edge and pin securely.  Sew the ruffle on the skirt, just like the the bottom ruffle

8.  Line up the 3rd and top ruffle another 2 1/2 inches above the 2nd ruffle, just like the other two.  Pin securely and sew.

9.  Next step is to close the skirt base and create the skirt.  Line up the sides of the skirt base, right sides together.  Be sure to move the ruffle edges out of the seam-line and pin securely.

See how the ruffle edges are loose.
10.  To make the casing, fold the top edge over a little less than 1 inch if you are using 1/2 inch elastic or 3/4 if you use 3/8 inch elastic.  Sew around the top of the skirt, 1/4 inch from the edge, leaving about a 1 1/2 inch opening to insert the elastic.

11.  Take your child's waist measurement minus 1 inch for the length of elastic needed.  Using a safety pin or turning tool, thread the elastic through the casing.

12.  Once the elastic is through the casing, I usually secure the edges with a safety pin and do a final fit on my sweet little model.  Once you are sure the waist fits, sew the ends of the elastic together.  I usually do several tight zig-zag stitches back and fourth.  Trim the edges and finish sewing the casing closed.

Ta da! you are done!  Isn't it cute?

If you have any questions about the tutorial, leave me a comment and I will answer as best I can.

If you are inspired to create something based on this tutorial, I would love to see it!  I have created a new Flickr Group for you to share your creations.  Here is the link: Creations inspired by Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom.  (Please share, you might get featured!)

If you like this project and want to see more, please consider becoming a follower.  You can subscribe using the Google Friend Connect widget, through a reader, or signing up via email.  Just click on one of the icons below:

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  1. Great tutorial ... I'll have to add this to my to-do list! I love re-fashioning!!!

  2. I LOVE this tutorial! I must try this! I made my first girls skirt recently & I loved how it turned out! I would love for you to share this at Show & Share starting Wednesday!

  3. I love this! I have a pile of shirts that are no good due to the collars, I know exactly what to do with them now. One question though, what's a ball point needle?

  4. Thanks for this fun idea! I'm new to sewing, but this looks like a project I can do. And my husband has lots of old polos.

    Michele @ The Excellent Wife

  5. What a great way to recycle men's t-shirts. Looks so cute.

  6. Cute skirts! I love the green and white one!

  7. So cute! I have a few yards of knit fabric I wasn't sure what to do with and I think this is perfect. Thanks for sharing!!

    I'm a new follower through the We Did It Wendesday blog hop. Feel free to stop by when you get a chance.

  8. how cute! :) the colors remind me of a marc jacob dress i had my eyes on!

    xx, zhing

  9. Adorable! And her little sandals match her new skirt perfectly ;) Great tutorial! Visiting from Reasons to Skip Housework.

    Would love for you to link up this skirt tutorial at my new diy fashion linky party called DIY Diva Thursdays! I hope you will stop by :)


  10. Really gorgeous! Great tutorial thanks!

  11. Awesome (and adorable) way to re-use hubby's old clothes. I'd love for you to link up to my linky party.

  12. these are so cute!!! i have a little boy but i'm totally bookmarking this in case we ever have a girl!

  13. Great job! I love repurposing old shirts into something so darn cute! Thanks for linking up with us at Show & share!


  14. Those skirts are so cute! I've never sewn with knits, but I think I need to start. Thanks for the tutorial. I'm posting it on Pinterest.
    from Jill Made It

  15. Do you think I could use this tutorial to make a adult sized version of this skirt? Stopping by from Night Owl Crafting!


  16. Cute! Thanks so much for sharing your tutorial.

  17. So cute! I'm saving this for when my DD(almost 1) is a little bigger. Oh, and I'm following you now too.
    Thank you for the sweet comment @

  18. Great tutorial! You make it look so easy! My girls would love a skirt like this.

    I would love if you would share with my Blog Stalking Thursday Linky Party.
    See You There!

  19. Cute! I love it. I just made a similar one recently too. I'm obsessed with ruffles!

  20. loves the idea....thanks for sharing...


  21. So darn cute!! I love it! I'd love for you to link this up with my blog recreation party!

    Hope to see you at my place soon!
    Kaitlin-The Not So Simple Housewife

  22. Hello
    Just letting you know that I have mentioned this post on my blog Please let me know if you wish for me to remove any content.

    Cheers Jennifer

  23. this looks so great, and easy. i might just have to try it :)

  24. So cute! I want to make one of these! One for little miss and one for me:>

  25. Great tutorial. thanks for sharing

  26. These are so cute! Thanks for the step by step tutorial! If you get a chance, I'd love to have you link this up to my party at Thanks for sharing!

  27. Love this tutorial! Thank you for linking it up! I'm featuring it on the blog today!

    Reasons To Skip The Housework

  28. That's really helpful. We won't be able to use XL men's shirts, but I have tons of knit fabric. Thanks so much!
    I'm a new follower from Ladybird Lane.:)

  29. This is so cute! I can't wait to do it!

  30. Sooo cute! I love deconstructed projects. I've started up a new linky party over at on Mondays. I would love for you to stop by next week and share this great tutorial~

  31. I love this tutorial!! The skirts are just adorable. I have pinned them up to try sometime. Thanks :)

  32. Thanks! Now I need to find some time to try making these!

  33. These turned out so, so cute! Thanks for linking up. I featured you today at Creations by Kara. :)

  34. These are adorable! Thanks for sharing the tutorial. I will have to give it a try. I found your blog on The Idea Room link party

  35. Adorable!! I'm featuring you tomorrow at the Friday Favs Party ( Thanks for linking up!

  36. Very cute!

  37. I want one for me! These are adorable.
    Found you through Follow Me Friday!

  38. That's really helpful and adorable also Thanks for sharing the tutorial. I will have to give it a try. I found your blog on The Idea Room link party, Can 't wait to make one for my friend 's daughter.
    gifts for boys

  39. Just found this when looking for a cute ruffle skirt to make for my 2 year old.. LOVE IT! I am now your newest follower in anyway that I can follow you! :)

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. This is adorable. Would be perfect for my 4 year old who loves dresses yet needs to be cozy when the weather gets chilly!


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