My little girl loves dresses and skirts, and lately she’s been insisting that they “float up” when she twirls. Gathered skirts are easy enough to make, but I end up spending the whole day reminding her to put her skirt back down and make sure her undies are covered. So I figured out how to make a simple gathered skirt with knit shorts attached! It’s all one piece, so it looks like she’s just wearing a cute, twirly skirt:
But when she actually twirls (or hangs upside down on the jungle gym) you see the shorts underneath instead of her Minnie Mouse undies.
What’s even better is that I made this skirt/shorts combo from a thrifted men’s tee, meaning it only cost $1! Here’s how I made this easy gathered skirt with attached shorts:
I measured from my daughter’s waist to just above her knee (10 inches) and cut that much off the bottom of the tee to use for the skirt.
Next, I used a pair of leggings that fit her well to cut shorts pieces from the top of the shirt (remember to add seam allowance). There will be 4 pieces for the shorts.
Finally, I cut a rectangle for the waistband – 3 inches tall and wide enough to go around my daughter’s waist. (I used material from the sleeves for this). Remember, the stretch needs to go along the length of this piece.
I started by sewing the shorts together along the dotted lines below – down the outside of each leg and then down the inside of each leg.
The I turned one leg right side out, and slid it into the other leg which was inside out. I sewed the two legs together along the rise (the crotch seam). Turn everything right side out, and you have shorts.
Next, I cut the waistline a little in the front of the shorts and the front of the skirt, as you can see below. This is important when sewing for toddlers since their little tummies stick out. If you don’t lower the front, the skirt will end up being longer in front than in back. If your toddler still wears diapers you’ll want to lower the front even more than what’s shown here.
I sewed a gathering stitch (long stitch length, lo tension) along the top of the skirt piece and gathered it until it was the same width as the top of the shorts (not shown).
The next step is to get the waistband ready. Sew the two short ends together as shown below, leaving a scant 1 inch opening on the lower half (1st photo below). Then fold the band in half and press. You’ll see that at the seam you have an opening where you’ll be able to thread elastic through (2nd photo below).
Now it’s time to put all the pieces together! First the shorts to inside the skirt (both right side out), and then the waistband goes on top of that, with raw edges together. The hold for the elastic should be on the outside at this point.
Pin all three pieces together – you can see what it looks like below. Shorts on the inside, gathered skirt next, waistband on the outside.
Sew around all the raw edges to connect everything. Then cut a piece of 1-inch elastic to 1 inch smaller than the waist measurement, and thread it through the waistband. Sew the ends of the elastic together, and your skirt/shorts combo is done!
Since knit doesn’t fray, I didn’t even worry about hemming the shorts. It probably took about an hour start to finish, including taking photos, so I bet it will go even faster next time.