, Newburyport, MA


August 14, 2013

From shirt to skirt

Favorite old tees find fashionable new life


Often, she puts those into her children’s clothing line, which she sells at her online shop, Dandy Social Club.

“Something like ‘the Sarcasm Committee’ or ‘Sugar Daddy,’ with an image of the candy — those are even funnier on a kid’s shirt,” Chaudhari says.

Lang, 55, who sells her T-shirt skirts amid other recycled clothing at her online Etsy shop, Thankful Rose, buys tees made from 100 percent cotton. Flimsier, lighter-weight tees don’t hold up. Besides tie-dye and rock tees, she hunts for paisley patterns and solid colors for mixing in.

She admits to being obsessed with creating her “upcycled” clothing line. If she has the fabric picked out, she can make a T-shirt skirt in about two hours.

“It’s a process, and I love every minute of it,” Lang says.

Besides enjoying the hunt for unusual tees, both women say the shirts are the easiest, most cost-effective way to incorporate inventive and clever graphics into their skirts.

“You can’t just go to the fabric store and buy some of the cool prints that you see on T-shirts,” Lang says.

Before turning to tees, Chaudhari looked into screen-printing her own images, but it was expensive and time-consuming.

T-shirt images provide “endless surprises,” Chaudhari says. “Now you’re upcycling and you’re incorporating a band people love, and it’s comfortable like a T-shirt, like an old friend.”

Chaudhari and Lang have different methods for sewing T-shirt skirts. See examples of their skirts at their websites, and view others at The online site Craft Stylish shares a free, illustrated tutorial for an A-line skirt made from two T-shirts of coordinated colors.

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