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Rainbow Ruffle Shirt Refashion (tutorial)!!

I have three girls, and consequently we have a lot of hand-me-down shirts that get donated after being worn by all three sisters. Most of the shirts are not really something that can be worn again, since they are stained or worn out. But I hated to see them sent to the landfills. So I thought it might be fun to take the t-shirts and make something with them.

Here’s what I did:

  • I collected a bunch of shirts in four different colors and cut them into 4-inch ruffles.

  • Then I sewed the panels together in each color and ruffled each color into a long strip.I wasn’t sure how long of ruffle each shirt would need so I sewed a really long ruffle and cut off the excess at the end of each row. I folded down the edge at the end of the row. A rule of thumb is 2-3 times the width of the shirt is how long you need each ruffle to be — depending on how ruffly you want your ruffles.

  • Once the ruffles were done, I laid them onto my shirts to decide what placement I liked most.I ended up using 2-3 different colors on each shirt, instead of the whole rainbow.

  • And then I pinned the bottom ruffle on the shirt and sewed it on. (I folded the edges down at each end of each ruffle)
  • Once all the ruffles were sewed on, I took a sleeve from one of the shirts and sewed the top and bottom closed and used it as a tie on one of the tank top straps. Kind of fun, but it can also be removed.

**Note — If you are sewing on a knit shirt, you need to use a stretch stitch so that the thread doesn’t break when the fabric is stretched. If you are using a sewing machine, your machine probably has a stretch stitch. See image below:

You don’t need to hem the t-shirt material. It will just roll up when washed. Awesome!!

I finished each shirt in less than an hour. And the girls love their new shirts!!

I also think this would be a fun project to make for the Fourth — you could use red, white and blue ruffles!!



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  1. Love this idea. I also have three girls and we run into the same problem. This is a fun way to make old new again!

  2. I just wanted to drop a little note to let you know how much I adore your blog. It along with some of my other favorites has inspired me to start a blog of my own. I know you’re super busy but I would just love it if you could check it out and if you have time to let me know what you think. I’m just getting started so any advance you could give would be very so appreciated.

    ~ Stephanie


  3. Awesome idea. Love the way these turned out!

    • Thanks Whitney!! The girls love them. I was thinking I might make a couple red white and blue ones next :)


  4. Love these…and your models are adorable! These would be perfect for Kate and I to make!

    • We had a great time making them. It makes a good afternoon project during the summer!


  5. Jen, those are adorable!!! What a great idea to reuse and recycle the old shirts!!!

    • Thanks Jocelyn!! I was happy to be able to use those shirts and some of them were pretty worn out LOL!


  6. Jen those are so cute! We have a ton of hand me downs at our house too…and most of them get tossed after Eli wears them because they are worn out! I wish I could think of a way to use my boys shirts to make something for them. I don’t think the ruffles would be very welcomed:)

    • LOL Kelli!!! Your boys don’t want to wear ruffles??? hahaha. Maybe you could make something with patchwork using old shirts? That might be a fun project :)


  7. Super cute T’s!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  8. Awesome! I also have three girls and, you’re right, by the time it reaches the last one, it’s hardly presentable!

  9. How cute is that!?!?! Great job!


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