Introduction: How to Make a Bag From a T-shirt in 10 Minutes!

Picture of How to Make a Bag From a T-shirt in 10 Minutes!

This is a simple step by step guide on how to create a cool multiple use bag from your old t-shirt in approximately 10 minutes. 

It is based on the idea found here: https://www.instructables.com/id/FASTEST-RECYCLED-T-SHIRT-TOTE-BAG/#step, with a few little improvements of my own - which just means that it takes a little longer :)

Step 1: What You Need...

Picture of What You Need...

You will need: An old t-shirt, a pair of fabric scissors, pins, a button or velcro (optional), and of course, a sewing machine or needle and thread.

Step 2: Step 1: Preparing the 'handles'

Picture of Step 1: Preparing the 'handles'

Step 1: You will need to cut the sleeves off (if it is a sleeveless shirt, proceed to step 2). Turn the t-shirt inside out and cut a slit that ends about 2cm away from the sleeve's seam. This is the first step in forming the bag's handles.

Now fold the 2cm side part of the fabric over and pin it to the big part of the shirt. Try to pin the two layers as flat together as possible so there are no bumps when you sew it later. Make sure you fold it on the seam so it forms a nice, neat edge in the end.

Step 3: Step 2: Sewing Your 'handles'

Picture of Step 2: Sewing Your 'handles'

Step 2: Using a thread of your choice (I have used a semi-matching one, but you can use a contrasting colour for fun), sew the hems  along the edge of each sleeve. Try to keep the folded edge aligned with the edge of the sewing foot. In this case, I used a zig-zag type of stitch as it prevents fraying of fabric and is nice and strong, thereby re-inforcing your handles.

After sewing the hem flat, trim the excess fabric off so that it won't start fraying and cause lots of funny threads when you use or wash it. Be careful not to cut too close to the stitches.

Step 4: Step 3: Cutting the Opening

Picture of Step 3: Cutting the Opening

Step 3: You will now need to cut the current opening at the top bigger, so that it is easier to get stuff into the bag. To do this, cut along the edge of the edging that forms the current opening for your head. 

After cutting the edging off, you will need to even the back and the front pieces out. You can do this by cutting along the edge that forms the front part. This will leave you with a crescent shaped piece, which is handy to add as a little pocket which can be sewn on the inside of the bag later on.

Step 5: Step 4: Sewing the Hem for the Opening

Picture of Step 4: Sewing the Hem for the Opening

Step 4: There are two options for sewing the hem for the opening. If you want to, you can pin the hem flat like you did for the sleeves, or you can fold it over and sew it flat as you go along. I find the smaller the hem, the harder it is to pin, so with narrow hems I just sew and fold on the move. Once again, try to keep the edge lined up with the edge of the sewing foot, and use a zig-zag stitch to sew.

When you get to the seams of the shoulders, make sure you fold it is the same direction that you sewed it down when sewing the sleeve's hem.

Step 6: Step 5: Optional Pocket Time...

Picture of Step 5: Optional Pocket Time...

If you don't want a pocket, skip this step.

Step 5: If you want to add a pocket inside, grab that moon shaped piece of fabric. If you are like me and don't have an overlocker, simply sew a zig-zag stitch around the edge of the entire shape to prevent fraying. Once that is done, pin it the the back side of the bag ( make sure your 'bag' is still inside out before you pin, and make sure you only pin it to the one side!)

Now sew the pocket onto the one side, you can use a straight stitch as it will show up less on the finished product or you can use the same zig-zag stitch if you are using the contrasting thread colour so that it matches the rest of the stitches if you prefer.

Step 7: Step 6: Sewing the Bottom

Picture of Step 6: Sewing the Bottom

Step 6: Decide on the size you want you bag to be then make sure the shirt is still inside out, and pin the bottom edges together to form your desired length. 

Sew the seam first with a straight stitch and then with a zig-zag stitch for re-inforcing. I like to give me bags rounded corners, so if you want that, then just start a little higher up and sew a curved corner like in the image below. 

If you need to, trim the seams before you turn your bag the right way out. Also remember to trim all your long threads left from sewing.

Step 8: Step 7: Final Step

Picture of Step 7: Final Step

Step 7: If you choose to add a pocket on the inside, it is a good idea to sew some velcro or a button and a loop on the edge of the pocket to prevent the stuff inside the pocket from falling out.

After that, your bag is complete and ready to use instantly!

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Bio: I'm an interior designer that likes to make/build/fix things when I am not busy drawing 3d interiors or technical drawings. I enjoy ... More »
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