Introduction: Recycled T-Shirt Grocery Bag

I got tired of the grocery bags with no personality, advertising and worse you can't wash them (without them falling apart) so I decided to make my own with all the good things the store grocery bags offer, but work better for my life, and best yet, made completely out of recycled materials. Hope they work for you too!

This project took about two hours from start to finish.

Step 1:

I started with two old t-shirts, ideally they should be the same size when held together. (Or, at least the same width.)

First, with the sides you want on the outside of the bag when it is finished facing each other, pin together along side and bottom of shirts. I used about a 1/2 inch seam allowance on the entire project. Sew first along bottom of shirts (all four layers) then from bottom up keeping a straight line from the starting point at the bottom through the sleeves to the top.

Step 2:

Cut off sleeves about a 1/2 inch from seam, keep cut off sleeves for handles.

Step 3:

Now we will make the bottom of the bag so it will sit flat for the cardboard bottom. At one corner match bottom seam line to side seam line, making a flattened triangle. Since t-shirt sizes vary it will make your bag sizes different.

Here is an easy way to make a flat bottom bag; however wide you want the side to be measure in half that from the bottom corner and draw a line across and sew across that line, for both corners of the bag.

For example on this bag, I want the sides 8 inches, so I will measure back four inches from the point. I would recommend stitching this twice just to make the seam extra strong.

Step 4:

Cut 1/2 inch past the seam on each side, cutting off the triangle.

Step 5:

To clean up the top and make all the sides the same length, I turned the top down and sewed around the edge. A short piece of shoelace makes a great loop for hanging on the grocery store's bag frame. Then turn the back right sides out.

Step 6:

To make the handles I cut the left over sleeve pieces into three equalish widths. Sew across one end then braided them together (holding the end in my teeth, you could pin it to your pant leg or even push pin to a wall or bulletin board) and sewed that end together too. Once braided, secure to bag, in about 1/3 the side length in on each side.

Step 7:

I think one of the important parts of the grocery bags I've bought is the thin plastic piece on the bottom. It's a great idea that is especially good for keeping the cans from scattering while carrying. I chose to recycle a cereal box to put in the bottom of mine.

Just measure across the bottom of the bag, seam to seam and cut the box to fit, I taped two pieces together just to keep it strong, duct tape should the cardboard from sliding around .

Step 8:

And that completes your grocery bag. Different size shirts will give you different size bags, I think I will make a few with some large kids size shirts next for something closer to the size bags they sell at the stores, plus the shirts are even cooler for kids.

There are so many things you would use these bags for. Good luck with your projects!

Comments

author
kdarden (author)2009-10-21

Actually, you wouldn't HAVE to cut the corner, it just reduces the bulk.

author
eash (author)2009-04-17

I remember doing something like this in girl scouts way back when. We actually used old jeans, cut off the legs and sewed up the holes. It was extremely sturdy. I'd probably still be using mine today if not for the bedazzling all over it.

Very well-written instructable. I thought that braiding the handles was particularly clever and made the whole thing look very neat. Keep up the good work.