DIY: How to Turn a Turtleneck into a High-Waisted Pencil Skirt

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A week or so ago I mentioned in a previous video post that I had picked up a pretty neon yellow colored turtleneck during my last thrifting haul. Now while I don’t wear a lot of turtlenecks, I did LOVE the color and figured at some point it would make a great addition to the wardrobe in some way….afterall, it was only .55 cents.  So, one night I had an idea…”why not turn the turtleneck into high-waisted pencil skirt?”  So I turned the sleeves on the inside and wriggled the neck up over my hips (the first time I had to do a little Shakira hip action, but I eventually made it)…and the rest is well….history!


So this is what my turtleneck looked liked before.  It didn’t come with any labels to tell me who the designer was….but I suggest getting one with some lycra/spandex, to make easing it up (at least the first half dozen times) easier.  You can always add a zipper if you need a little extra room.

Supplies You’ll Need:

  • Turtleneck
  • Scissors
  • Straight Pins
  • Matching Thread
  • Sewing Machine

The entire project took me about 3 hours….but I’ll admit a little over half that time was spent figuring out how to adjust the tension on my sewing machine (it’s been a while).

Steps to Follow:

First take the turtleneck and turn it inside out –this way you can have it on the correct side for sewing.  Then you’ll use straight pins to pin a “cutting guide” for yourself from the neck, all the way down to a couple inches below the sleeve’s under arm.  I eventually wound up sewing a little lower than pictured so that my seam ran smoothly into the turtleneck’s side seam and had no protrusions.

Once you are all pinned, you are on your way.  Here you will sew along the straight pin line, removing the pins as you go along.

The last step is to cut off the excess fabric/sleeves that you no longer need.  Cut along the newly sewn line, leaving at least 1/4 of an inch space (or more if you feel).  I started cutting at the bottom under the arm; but when you get up top to the neck, be careful not to snip the stitch of fabric that is attaching the neck to the rest of the turtleneck.

I originally thought I might  leave the pockets and have more of a “tulip feel” to the skirt, but stitching the pockets seemed to be a bit of a tricky feat.  So, I eventually opted to cut them off altogether and it worked out well.  Now you have a simple solution for your retired turtlenecks. Let me know how it works for you!

Sweater >< Vera Wang (thrifted)
Tank >< White + Warren (thrifted)
Skirt >< (yours truly :))
Shoes >< Steve Madden


  1. Laura Looney

    February 3, 2013 at

    OMG! I have been looking every where for a high waisted skirt online in stores and just can’t find one. I never would have thought to make my own out of a turtle neck !! That is so awesome thank you so much for this I am so going to make one now, goodwill here I come!

  2. T. Espi

    January 27, 2013 at

    Awesome idea! I’m definitely going to give it a try.

  3. Ebonny Fowler

    December 4, 2012 at

    This is great, Brandhyze. Thanks for the fun and creative ideas!

  4. Jean Sagers

    October 28, 2012 at

    This blog is cool. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  5. Nic

    August 11, 2012 at

    this is genius! LOVE it!


  6. ElleX

    July 4, 2012 at

    Great idea! I love this “skirt”!

    • frugal-nomics

      July 5, 2012 at

      Thanks…..looking forward to doing more DIY’s in the near future

  7. Trinnah

    June 26, 2012 at

    This is awesome!!! :) I’m gonna try it out!

  8. Mama Violet

    May 9, 2012 at

    Great DIY and I love the complete look!

  9. Tiffany

    May 8, 2012 at

    WOW! What a great idea!! Love, love, love!

    • frugal-nomics

      May 8, 2012 at

      Thank you so very much!

  10. Erin

    May 2, 2012 at

    Good grief! What is she going to think of next?? :-)

    • frugal-nomics

      May 3, 2012 at

      That’s really sweet of you…thank you so much!

  11. Carolyn

    April 30, 2012 at

    that’s fantastic! will help utilize all those turtlenecks i don’t wear anymore…

    • frugal-nomics

      April 30, 2012 at

      Great! Glad I could help.

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