AUTHOR’S NOTE: This entry was originally posted on my graduate school blog, but I thought you might like to read it as well. Enjoy!
I love creating things with my hands. There is something so fulfilling about conceiving an idea, putting your fingers to work and coming out with a creation uniquely yours. Recently, I got an idea for a project that reclaims a T-shirt to make an awesome bag.
While at a fantastic outdoor flea market last weekend, my husband found a super cool Beatles shirt for $5. It was too small for me to wear, but I was inspired to take its already fun and funky design and use it to create an equally fantastic bag.
Step 1 - Find a shirt to make into a bag.
Cut the sleeves and collar off the shirt, leaving what would become the main body of the bag.
Step 2 - Cut sleeves and collar off shirt.
If you’re using a long sleeve shirt like this one, separate the short sleeve cuffs from the longer, fake undershirt sleeves. These pieces will be important later on.
Step 3 - Separate Short cuffs from long sleeves.
I purchased fabric that complimented the shirt to use for the bag’s lining. Try to get cotton that can be washed & dried – this will make your whole bag machine washable!
Step 4 - Find a fun lining fabric that goes with the shirt design.
Using the body of the shirt created earlier, cut the same shapes in this new fabric. Align the lining with the shirt body, which should now be flipped inside out.
Step 5 - Cut lining to approximately the same size as the bag body.
Pin the bottoms of all four pieces together to make sure they line up correctly.
Step 6 - Pin lining to bag to make sewing easier and more even.
Sew them all together to form the bottom of the bag.
Step 7 - Sew bottom of bag just below where you pinned.
Take the small cuffs you separated earlier. These will become pockets inside the bag. Trim the cuffs into pocket sizes. Sew one near the center of each side of the bag lining. I think it’s easier to do this when the lining is still loose rather than after the sides of the bag have been sewn.
Step 8 - Use the short sleeves to create inside pockets.
Sew the sides of the bag. Trim excess fabric from sides if needed.
Step 9 - Sew the sides of the bag, trimming off excess fabric once done.
Grab the longer sleeves you set aside earlier. These will become the bag’s strap. **NOTE: If using a short sleeve shirt, you can create a strap out of the lining fabric.**
Sew the cuffs of the sleeves together securely.
Step 10 - Sew the two long sleeves together at the cuff to form a strap.
Fold the cut edge of one side of the strap and pin inside the bag body. Repeat for other side.
Step 11 - Pin strap to lining fabric about a half inch from the top.
Sew the straps into the bag, using a box design for added security.
Step 12 - Secure strap by sewing a box shape.
Finish sewing the top of the bag. Flip back right side out and admire your handiwork. How does it look?
Step 13 - After sewing the remainder of the top, admire your completed bag!
Was this tutorial helpful? If you create your own T-shirt bag, please let me know! I’d be happy to post photos of your designs.