This is by no means an original idea, but if you haven’t seen it, I thought it would be fun to make my own tutorial. Â If you’re anything like me, you have stacks of old t-shirts you don’t really like to wear anymore (because they’re so bloomin’ old!) but you can’t bear to part with them because of their sentimental significance. Â I just hate seeing them sitting there, unused and taking up space, so this is a quick and easy way to make them useful.
Start by laying your t-shirt out on a flat surface. Â Carefully remove the sleeves, and cut a portion from the neck area. Â You may choose to make it rounded (like my photo) or square, or any other shape for that matter. Â The remaining fabric will become the handles of your bag.
From here, you can choose to finish your bag one of two ways… one requires a sewing machine, the other doesn’t. Â For the no-sew version, cut two rings from one of the sleeves, cutting from the side with the raw edge. Â Then snip the rings so they become long strips, and stretch them out until they curl up a bit. Â These will become drawstrings to close up the bottom of the tote.
Now, back to the shirt. Â Make two tiny snips in the bottom hem of the t-shirt, being careful NOT to cut through the stitching. Â Your snips should be equally spaced… so make one in the middle of the front of the shirt, and one in the middle of the back. Â You’ll now have twoÂ channels in which to insert the drawstrings. Â Attach a safety pin to one end of one of the strings and guide it through one of the channels.
Then cinch it up and tie a bow.
Repeat on the other side… and voila! Â You have a finished tote bag! Â (Sorry, I forgot to rotate it and didn’t have to fix it!)
Now, with the no-sew method, you’ll have little holes in the bottom of the bag… it’s just the nature of the style. Â If you’d like the holes to be smaller, you’ll need more of them. Â That means more drawstrings, and more “hem snips”. Â Here’s an example of the bottom of a bag with two holes (the top bag), and one with three:
If you have access to a sewing machine, and don’t like having holes in the bottom of your bag, then do the following:
Form the handles of the bag the same way you did with the no-sew version. Â Then turn your shirt inside out and sew up the bottom. Â Be sure to sew above the hemline, which you will trim and discard.
To make a gusset (a flat bottom), “pinch” one of the bottom corners flat, and sew a seam about two or three inches in from the tip of the triangle.
Trim off the excess:
Now turn your t-shirt right side out, and you have another tote bag!
Sometimes, when you remove the neck or sleeves, you might cut off a design you like. Â Simply cut it out, and stitch it somewhere on the bag. Â The great thing about t-shirt material is that it won’t fray, so there’s no hemming needed. Â Here’s a design that I reattached on one of my bags:
These simple totes are perfect for reusable grocery bags, clothes shopping or beach trips, or anything else you can think of. Â I’ll be using several of them as gift bags for thank-you gifts for a few of our boys’ beloved Sunday School teachers: