DIY Recycled Fashion Skirt

Reducing Landfill Waste

In my bid to make this a sustainable living year, I decided to re-purpose an old item of clothing and up-cycle it to a new piece. This helps reduce landfill and provides a new item of clothing to wear and enjoy.

With a small piece of elastic, a skirt like this can be made in less than half an hour!

I took an old wrap around skirt, now completely out of fashion, and an infant girl’s dress, and up-cycled them to make a fashionable one size fits all skirt for the modern young girl. Suitable for ages 8 to 20 something, I think.

What you need:

A large rectangle of remnant fabric or older piece of clothing large enough to re-model into a skirt of the length you desire

20 mm wide knitted black elastic

Sewing machine and matching thread

What you do:

  1. Take a measurement from your waist downwards to where you want the hem of the skirt to sit and add 2 inches or 5 cm to this measurement (for a hem and seam allowance).
  2. Ensure the piece is at least 1.5 times the width you want the final skirt to be (this allows for gathering), and cut.
Cut a long rectangle of fabric to the desired width and length.

I like to be different and a little bit lazy, when it comes to sewing, so I chose to use the old wrap around skirt for the fabric piece. This lent itself to cutting into one long piece. I thought great- there would be less hems to come apart later. In my case, the length was 1.8m long. Therefore, if cutting two pieces they would become a front and back piece, each at 90 cm wide plus seam allowances.

3. Sew the side seams wrong side out, press and turn right way out.

4. Hold the 20 mm wide piece of black elastic around your waist to get an idea of how tight or slack you want the waistband to be. Add 1 ” or 2.5 cm to this measurement and cut to length.

5. Join and sew the ends of the elastic with a solid stitch. I overlapped them as I wanted less bulk at the side of the skirt where the join would sit.

I also used a second fabric, a former child’s dress to make another one of these skirts.

6. Using a long stitch length, run around the top of the main skirt fabric. Then pull the ends to gather it in to your desired width.

4. Divide this edge of the waistline, into quarters and mark with pins. Pin between marker pins adjusting the tension and gathering evenly.

5. Do the same with the joined piece of elastic. Then match corresponding pins to each other, so that the bottom edge of the elastic is pinned to the right side at the skirt top.

6. Sew using a strong triple stitch around the bottom of the elastic where it was pinned to the skirt edge.

*Make sure the elastic is sewn to the right side, otherwise the elastic will try to flip over and not sit flat when wearing it. See below.

7. Sew the hem if you haven’t done that already.

8. Voila… skirt in less than 20 mins….

The Prototype is revealed.


Cost: Electricity for the machine, 20 minutes of my time, 80 australian cents for the new elastic…

Benefit: Fashionable skirt that will fit a primary student/teen/twenty something…

Satisfaction: Clearing some fabric from my scrap basket!!

I then began to wonder what other kinds of potential upcyclable clothes may lay hidden in my bundle of unwanted clothes. Either that or I will be making a whole lot of Dog bandanas!

That gives me something to ponder about…

More recycling ideas on using scrap materials

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96 thoughts on “DIY Recycled Fashion Skirt”

    1. Many of our mothers were. Clothes were often made at home. No one does that anymore. Perhaps we are in some way supporting the third world jobs but the large companies do not treat their workers well nor pay them a fair wage.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Supporting 3rd world by paying meagre wage while CEO’s earn their millions.. You need capitalism to implant factories but I wish there was a ceiling to the profit margin.. Once you are stock market linked the shareholders get more and the workers get less.. ;-(

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Shareholder pressure is not good in many ways even in the first world. I totally agree about the profit ceiling in the third world. At least there is quite some pressure exerted on companies through shaming in social media. Nike, H & M etc. H& M have recycled clothing initiatives now and a ethically conscious range. That is a start that arose through public shaming, didn’t it, Lisa?

          Liked by 2 people

  1. I’ve pledged to myself to buy no new clothes, certainly not this year, with the exception of underclothes and, if necessary, shoes. However, my lack of skills and interest in needlework (at school, my teacher wrongly assumed I was a left-hander gamely trying to use my right hand) means I shan’t be going down your path. Charity shops are the way forward for me, and the thrill of the chase ill be enough to keep me satisfied I think. Well done you though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I get that, Margaret. Sewing and me have a love hate relationship! But when the sewing machine decided it likes to play and co-operate with me, all is good and the end result not too awful! I applaud your choices this year and when looking at my wardrobe, realize that I could also do that quite easily. I didn’t buy anything in the new year sales for the first time. Keeping away from the shops avoids temptation don’t you think? One good thing about the move to online shopping I guess. Easier to avoid those bargain you walk by. I know of a few people who buy all their clothing at second hand shops. They like the thrill of the chase, too. I am not such a fan of that as I can rarely find a good fit and style that doesn’t smell like mothballs. Jeans might be the exception though.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, thanks for that vote of confidence, Sally. I would love more people to do it, because it feels good to help in some small way. Wastefulness is something I don’t like, too much. Does it bother you?


  2. I made a pair of fuzzy dice for home ec sewing quarter and my teacher told me she had never seen more misshapen sloppy work in her life. But hey, I aced the cooking quarter.

    So seamstress I am not but I do have a longstanding hobby of using old shirts I like but can’t wear (band shirts, cats, logos, etc) and fabric remnants to sew cases for my yard sale throw pillows. It’s hardly quality hand sewing but I like the mix of nostaglia and using remenants to create interesting ‘conversation’ piece pillows.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those yard sale throw pillows sound fantastic. What a great way to use up old shirts! I also used to make mini notebook covers by sewing together strips of waste fabric – good quilting cottons that I hate disposing of into wider and wider strips with a pretty zigzag stitch – or there is also several other things I have done with formerly waste fabric like this https://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/upcycling-using-fabric-scraps-diy-scrap-floor-mat-rag-rug/
      Have you posted about your “conversation” pieces? I would love to see an example if you have a link, Morgueticiaatoms?
      I don’t think the quality of the sewing matters as much as the functionality! Keep up the great work!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will try to post something soon, most of my pillows are in storage due to a lice outbreak and I just never brought them back out.
        I wish I had a picture of the bed sit up pillow I did for my mom. She had an old Elvis shirt that no longer fit so I cut it down and the center was his face and I used dark blue velvet for the sides and back. Think it cost me about six bucks to make but she kept it til their house burned and it was not salvageable. I was proud of that and yet not once did it occur to me to take a picture. Facepalm.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh, bloody heck, I meant to say your skirt is adorable! I wish I were skinny and young enough to wear it, it’s really cute. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I could fancy a long skirt with a slit up the leg in patches of black and gray velvet and faux satin with some splashes of faux satin and velvet red. Damn, that sounds gross. In my head, I picture iot much prettier but my descriptive abilities right now are MIA.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I was thinking that your description was uber precise and so well thought out. I was impressed. It didn’t sound gross but very creative! You should definitely do it if you have that fabric lying around! Let me know how you go in a post!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done you !
    Downunder we are – a lot of us – becoming more and more interested in recycling, are we not ? Not all of us have the talent (or the sewing-machine – or the knowledge of how to use one) to do something so literally Recycle, Amanda – here you are blessed !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love that this movement is picking up momentum, M-R. You don’t have to sew, I love and hate it. Some weeks I can’t go near the machine, but love the concept of recycling. Having parents who lived through the depression must have instilled that into me?

      Liked by 1 person

          1. I have a friend whose eldest daughter is absolutely OBSESSED with all this – and my friend isn’t much less so. Thus am I reminded every other day of what I should be doing about it. Mind you, I think I should, too. 😀

            Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve saved some clothes which I want to re-model. I never get so far. I also cut up old jeans in squares(or other shapes) and put them in a quilt top. Easy to do. You don’t need to put batting in, an old blanket is more than enough for the back.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That is a great idea and a good use for an old blanket. I imagine that old denim jeans cut up and sewn with an old blanket backing would make a great and highly durable picnic rug! I make a dog mat for the back seat of the car, using old jeans joined together and a plastic backing from one of those plastic tablecloths. It was good when the dogs were wet from time at the beach.


      1. That’s also a good idea for seat cover. I always have to cover my seats inside because Trompie loves to scratch the seat where someone sat the day before. He does this when I’m not near him to shoo him off. He has ruined two chair already!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey I never thought of that. I commented to Ineke that I had made denim car seat throw rugs that could double as picnic mats out of denim jeans and those plastic tablecloths. I cut out the pocket section from the jeans, and now I think if I made another, it could be useful to keep them in. Are the pockets on your seat covers on the side or top of the seat?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So much nicer to re-purpose usable items that often end up in landfills. I have friends who have influenced me with their scrapbooking projects, involving paper products and fabrics. High fives, Amanda.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Sounds good. If it is your first, don’t buy anything too complicated. You basically just need straight stitch, zig-zag and zipper foot. Maybe a button hole attachment if you are keen on buttons. ( I am not)

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Jonathan. There are really so many ways we can reduce the basic raw materials we purchase and use. It takes just a bit of imagination. Are you into sewing and creating fashion?

      Liked by 2 people

  7. that’s so clever and creative! i absolutely love it! thanks for sharing this useful post with us🤍

    Follow @everythingtips for tips and recommendations if interested☺️ It would mean a lot to me🥺🤍

    Liked by 1 person

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