Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My DIY photoreal digital print skirt

Attention Walmart shoppers, Dries Van Noten in Aisle 9.

Based on your votes and my own ambivalent thought processes, I decided to make a skirt from my photoreal Walmart t-shirt. (Thought process: I could turn a skirt into a clutch later if I wanted; but I can't turn a clutch into a skirt.) BTW, Maya reports this t-shirt is now on sale for $7.

I made some mistakes, but overall it was pretty easy and is proving to be a great summer skirt. Using the hem of the t-shirt as your skirt hem, you can get away with only three seams and no zipper on this baby.

To make this skirt, you will need:
  • an extra large Walmart t-shirt. You may be able to use a smaller size. However, the skirt may also end up shorter.
  • a sewing machine, preferably with a heavy duty needle used for sewing leather or thick fabric. The digital print creates a coating that is hard for a regular needle to get through.
  • washable marker in two colors
  • straight pins 
Turn your t-shirt inside out. Chop off the arms and neck of the t-shirt. Cut away the side seams. (I did not do this. But it's a good idea as you will see later.)

Take half of your t-shirt and lay it wrong side up on a flat surface.

Find a skirt that already fits you and lay it on top. Pin shut any slits in the back or sides of the skirt. Line up the hem of the skirt with the hem of the t-shirt. Mark the outline of the skirt with a washable marker.

Cut out around the shape of the skirt leaving a good inch or two seam allowance. (Not shown.)

Lay the other half of your t-shirt on the flat surface right side up. Lay the cut out piece of t-shirt on top wrong side up. Line up the hems. Eyeball the image and slide the top piece around so you have a continuous image from front to back. It won't be exact but do whatever looks good. A matching hem is more important than a matching image. (I did not think about matching up the image until after the skirt was done.)

Pin about a quarter inch or more outside of the line you marked through both layers of fabric. You want the stretchy fabric to fit a little looser than a non-stretchy skirt (unless you have a smokin' hot bod). Err on the side of largeness. Because of the fabric coating, the needle leaves holes, so seam ripping later is not an option.

Turn it right side out and try the skirt on. Look for weird bubbles or puckers and adjust accordingly. (You will have some puckers just because of the pins.)

When you are happy with the fit, mark your sew line with another color of marker. Turn the pins perpendicular to your sew line.

Sew up both sides of the skirt.

Fold down the waistband. To make it look nice, do a double fold. (A little skinny fold and then a wide fold.) I did not do this because I was using a wimpy needle and I didn't want to sew through an extra layer of fabric.

Set your sewing machine to a long stitch and sew the waistband. The long stitch will allow the waist to stretch around you when you pull the skirt on.

Trim the seams and you are done.

Since we are talking clingy t-shirt fabric, you are going to need a slip and some serious underwear to pull it off (unless you have a smokin' hot bod.)

You can dress it up or down. 

Would you do this to a Walmart t-shirt? And if you did, would you wear it?


  1. Maya Topadze Griggs (Soccer Mom Style)August 14, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Oh, I love it, I love it, I love it! I'm so happy the way it turned. Looks perfect with your DIY necklaces. Thanks for posting this. The wait has been totally worth it! It's still summer now, but I'm sure next summer this skirt will look as trendy as ever.

    1. Thanks to you . . .literally.