Picture of T-Shirt tote
If your mom is anything like mine, she never let you get rid of all those old t-shirts from camps, school field days, etc.

Well, this project is a great way to turn these objects of sentimental value into something she can actually use!

This bag can be made from any size shirt, and can be sewn by hand or sewing machine! Don't worry if you're not an expert at sewing, this project is pretty forgiving. I also include instructions in most of the steps for those of you with sewing machines, or those who want to trick things up a little!
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Step 1: What you will need

2 T-shirts of the same size.

Two spools of thread in the color of the two shirts, or some wild crazy color that will show up against the fabric

Pins and at least one needle


Measuring tape or ruler

Chalk or pencil, something that will mark the fabric and wash off

Newspaper for a pattern (not necessary, but can make measuring and cutting easier)
Tiah773 years ago
This looks amazing, and since this will be my first real sewing project, I HOPE IT WORKS!
nhanusova3 years ago
proglitz3 years ago
This is very cute! I just used your instructions to make one with an old mickey mouse shirt that turned out great! Thank you :D
missunni4 years ago
would i be able to make this with one shirt? by using both the back and front?? because i only have one black shirt.. and my other shirts arent the exact same size...
Jent13 missunni3 years ago
Coats and Clark has free instructions on how to sew with only one t-shirt but it calls for ribbon. There is also a youtube video called T-Shirt Tote with Coats and Clark (it is the same as the pattern on coats and clarks website it just shows/explains more) at
wow ...great instructable...have many old t- shirts...time to wash them and use them....
squeaka13425 years ago
thanks that cleared it up... but i have anothah question :) sorry im new to instructables... so, when you say in step 5 'sewing the tops of the squares' do you mean hemming them ? not sewing them together right? im dumb i know :)
squeaka13425 years ago
i dont really get how the handles go on... do they go all the way around the bag?
Shamora1288 (author)  squeaka13425 years ago
 No, the handles meet each other at the bottom of the bag. The handles are made of two separate strips that you put on each of the squares that make up the majority of the bag. I always make sure that I match the placement of my strips on the bottom of the bag so they look like they go all the way around. 

When you have the matching squares sewn together, but not sewn to each other, thats when you put the handles on. EX. If you are using a blue shirt and a white shirt- you cut two squares out of each shirt so you end up with four squares, blue blue, white white. The blue gets sewn to the blue and the white to the white so you are basically reinforcing your squares. Then you place the handles on the squares and sew. Then the squares get sewn together with the handles already attached. 

Shamora1288 (author)  Shamora12885 years ago
 If this still isn't clear, PLEASE let me know and I will take more pictures. 
This. Is. Brilliant. ..I think I love you. :]
ANTQNUT5 years ago
CUTE! I love the design on your t-shirt u made the bag out of!!! great job!
oops555_85 years ago
I totally love this idea!!! it's super cute and I kinda also need a new bag for school! lol! Plus I have tons of old shirts that I don't rele use anymore! thanx a ton!
alisonlu5 years ago
What do the pockets look like?
makeme125 years ago
really nice! im gonna try this
elizahleigh5 years ago
I absolutely LOVE this and will send this link to all of my fellow greenies over at (the online green social network). Just a heads up to all crafty people out there -- Greenwala just launched 3 new contests and one of them centers around the best eco-themed t-shirt design. The winner gets $250, too! Hope someone here will enter..apparently your chances of winning increase since the finalists are decided by the community, so friends can help bump you up in the ranks. I can't wait!! Say hi to me there and I'll vote for your entry, too!
I learned from an old Dutch woman that instead of chalk or pencil, use those practically useless soap slivers left over from a bar of soap. When you mark the fabric it leaves a really nice visible line and disappears easily with water.
Thats a great tip, thank the old Dutch woman for me!
I did, and she was happy to hear all the thanks. She also told me that the soap line disappears with mere steaming of the garment or piece when complete, so BONUS!
Thanks Dutch woman!
Treelan5 years ago
I can't wait to try this! Thanks!
Treelan Treelan5 years ago
Made my first one yesterday. It is a bit narrower at the top than the bottom (uh, my fault!) and still needs some finishing touches. But it was fun to make and super easy! Got some compliments on it at work, too! Thanks for the great little Instructable!
3legdog5 years ago
You could also use an old belt (especially a cloth one) to make handles. I lined my bag by sewing denim to the back of the t-shirt square- just cut out the thigh part of an old pair of jeans. It is very strong with the lining, plus the belt handles don't stretch.
david305 years ago
I really do like the way you explained the project. Guess what? I maybe be a man but I am pretty sure the feminine side of me will sure make wonders to create a piece of art for my one and only mom in the world. Dedicate this project for her.
Black Ethel5 years ago
This is a great idea! But may I make a suggestion? Some old t-shirts are a little thin and the fabric may rip if you over load the bag. Couldn't you strengthen the bag by using both the front and back of a t-shirt to double the material? It'll make the sides thicker and withhold over loading. I'm going to try this to see if it works. Thanks for the instructions!
Shamora1288 (author)  Black Ethel5 years ago
I'm so glad you are going to make it yourself! I do use both sides of the t-shirt, as seen in steps 4 and 5. This pattern is all about making it a strong bag, you're right. And who hasn't asked their mom to carry something for them?
pie popper5 years ago
this is really gr8. you explained it perfectly. i like it!
sondanced5 years ago
Another great sentimental utility project! thanks so much for sharing. I had held onto my son's t-shirts over an 18 year span... so for his 18th birthday, I made up a quilt with all the shirt fronts appliqued onto it. There were so many, I made matching pillows to go with! He loved it, he's 35 and still has it! The backs left over were made into a braded rug.
Shamora1288 (author)  sondanced5 years ago
That's awesome, I've always wanted to make a quilt out of these. You can also use the quilting technique to make great and cheap curtains. Good idea for a college student.
yes, my brother has had many penn state shirts over the years, and last year my mom made him a penn state blanket out of them!
pacaboco5 years ago
Love this idea! So much stronger with the handles than other designs I've seen! And the flower finishes it perfectly! How long do you make the handles? Thanks!
Shamora1288 (author)  pacaboco5 years ago
I'm glad you like it! I usually make the handles as long as the bottom of the shirt is wide, because the bottom of the shirt becomes the handles. But if you are using a really small shirt, you might want to add some length on. You can do this by cutting off a strip of fabric from the sleeves, or anywhere else there is room, and sewing it on to the end of one of the long strips. Then you just fold the strip over and sew as shown. I recommend that the handles be around 50 inches long at least. But just use your judgement.
KnittinLady5 years ago
I love this!! You have done a great job explaining it!! can't wait to try it out this weekend!!!
This is so cute.. adding the lil flower with badges & buttons & stuff looks so cool.... Great going....
Doctor What5 years ago
I love this! I have an old "no stank you" T that I love, and I can't wear it anymore! Now I can use it all the time! This is an amazing project!
NSomNia5 years ago
LOVED this!!! It was so much fun and easy :)