How To Make a Pixie Coat From Upcycled Clothing

Back when my twin daughters were turning 11 years old, I decided to make them each a pixie coat for their birthday. I made them from upcycled clothing that was too small for them. I think their coats turned out really, really cute. What do you think?

Elf Coats made from upcycled tee shirts
My twin daughters in their upcycled pixie coats

Choosing Materials For Your Upcycled Pixie Coats

My girls had a ton of really sweet tops made of stretchy tee shirt fabric – jersey knit. They had both long sleeve and short sleeve shirts that they absolutely LOVED, but that were either too small or stained or torn.

As you can see they like different colors – Holly (on the right) likes reds and pinks and oranges, and Jasmine (L) likes blues and purples and turquoise colors, so this dictated my choices.

They had Dora The Explorer shirts, Hello Kitty and all kinds of clothing with various images and slogans on them. I was worried that they wouldn’t want me to chop up their old clothing but actually, they were like, “Yeah – come on mum – chop up Hello Kitty!” Ummm – okay.

So basically you want about 5 – 10 tee shirts that are too small or ruined in some way (I hate to upcycle clothing that is in perfectly good shape). Of course, you want to choose colors that your child (or you, if you’re making one for yourself) will like.

Upcycled Pixie Coat Tutorial

Once you have all your shirts together, you want to choose the most sturdy one for the bodice or main top. It’s going to have to support a heavy skirt, so it needs to be fairly strong.

If it has long sleeves, chop them off just above the elbow if you want short sleeves. If you want long sleeves, chop them off just below the elbow and set the pieces aside. You’re going to add some pieces from the other tee shirts later.

Next, cut out large triangle shapes from the other shirts. It’s up to you how many you cut, but if you do too many the skirt may be too heavy for the top. Make them pretty much the same size. Sew them together at the sides so that you have a big circle.

Your next step is to attach the skirt to the top. You want to get the skirt waistline to match the top’s waistline. You do this by pinning it then trimming off the tops of the triangles to the exact size of the top. Don’t forget to leave room for the seam. Sew the top to the skirt.

At this point, the skirt part of your coat may be shorter than you want, so you’ll need to add a line or two of fabric at the bottom.

Just measure how much you want to add to the hem – let’s say 10 inches. Chop up some scraps and make a continuous strip of 12 inches wide. Or you can make two strips for more color and vibrance. It’s up to you.

Add the scrapped strip(s) to the hem of your pixie coat.

Next, cut some strips to add to your sleeves. Sew them together and add them to the bottom of the sleeves. You can choose to hem the bottom of the sleeves and skirt of the coat, or you can add lace or just finish the rough edges with a zigzag stitch which is what I like to do.

Now you have a colorful gypsy style pixie coat or jacket. If you leave it closed up at the front it could even be a dress.

You may want to add a hood and I’ll show you how to do that in another post.

Have fun!