Tuesday, August 11, 2015

DIY T-shirt Tote Bag

I have a lot of t-shirts.  I'm a nostalgic t-shirt purchaser/hoarder.  Shirts from college, my favorite sports teams, the schools I've taught at, places I've visited...they're taking over my closet.  Problem is...I don't wear them much.  If I do, it's at bedtime--I rarely buy pajama sets anymore because I have so many t-shirts to wear to bed.  However, I can't seem to get rid of any because they hold some sort of sentimental value.

If this sounds like you, then this DIY is right up your alley.  This is a super-easy craft that takes a beloved t-shirt that you don't really wear and up-cycles it into something useful: a tote bag!  I came across this idea when I was searching for cute library book bag designs (I took Max to the library for the first time last week and didn't bring a bag...it was tough wrangling him and all the books we checked out that day with no bag!).  As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to create one!

Just a side note: this took 11 minutes, start to finish.  And I was being pretty poky.  I made a second one in 8 minutes.

DIY T-shirt Tote Bag

What you'll need:
  • t-shirt  **Remember, your bag will only be as strong as the t-shirt you use.  I wouldn't recommend using a super old, thin one.
  • fabric scissors
  • marker and plate or bowl for tracing
  • sewing machine with your choice of thread color (honestly, the color doesn't matter because you won't even see the stitch).  You could also easily sew by hand using a needle and thread.  If neither of these is an option for you, there is a no-sew variation here.  It follows the same techniques as making a no-sew fleece blanket.
  1. Lay out your t-shirt.  Then cut off the sleeves. 
  2. Use a plate or bowl to trace where you'll cut around the neckline for the bag opening.  For a sturdier-ish bag, keep as much of the top shoulder seams as possible. 
    You'll want to cut "below" the line you drew, so be careful where you line it up.  I wish I had gone a little higher on this one.
  3. Cut along the line you traced. 
  4. Turn shirt inside out and trace a line where you want the bottom of your bag to be.  Double check inside to make sure you're not cutting off any graphics. 
  5. Throw the shirt on your sewing machine and stitch along the straight line you drew.  Be sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end. 
  6. Cut off the excess fabric below the stitch. 
  7. Turn right-side-out and you're done! 
Told ya it was easy!  And it's totally washable, too!  

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