Step 2: Cutting the Shirts

Look at your shirt and decide how much of the pattern you want on there. Most shirts are going to have the pattern centered on the front. Measure from the bottom of the neckline to where you want the bag to stop, be sure to stop about 4 inches from the bottom (if you are using a really small shirt, it's okay to have less than 4 inches at the bottom, just don't have less than 3.) Then measure between the shirt sleeves.

Here's where the newspaper comes in handy. From the newspaper, cut out a square in the measurements you just took. That will help you cut more quickly and easily, and keep all the squares uniform.

Cut off the strip at the bottom of the shirt that won't be part of the square you just measured. Make sure to cut it off so that when you are finished, it is still a circle of fabric. Then cut through one side of the circle so you end up with a long strip of fabric. When you do this to both shirts, you will have two long strips of fabric. (If you are confused, see picture.)

Lay the shirts out flat, pin the square to each shirt in turn, and cut through both layers of fabric (the front and back of the shirt.) When you are done, you will have four squares of t-shirt fabric!
This looks amazing, and since this will be my first real sewing project, I HOPE IT WORKS!<br>
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<br>
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...
Coats and Clark has free instructions on how to sew with only one t-shirt but it calls for ribbon. http://www.coatsandclark.com/Crafts/Sewing/Projects/Accessories/CS0047+Tshirt+tote.htm 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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUkaGGep-5c
wow ...great instructable...have many old t- shirts...time to wash them and use them....
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 :)
i dont really get how the handles go on... do they go all the way around the bag?
&nbsp;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.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> 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.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <br /> <br />
&nbsp;If this still isn't clear, PLEASE let me know and I will take more pictures.&nbsp;
This. Is. Brilliant. ..I think I love you. :]
CUTE! I love the design on your t-shirt u made the bag out of!!! great job!
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!
What do the pockets look like?
really nice! im gonna try this
I absolutely LOVE this and will send this link to all of my fellow greenies over at www.greenwala.com (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!
I can't wait to try this! Thanks!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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?
this is really gr8. you explained it perfectly. i like it!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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....
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!
LOVED this!!! It was so much fun and easy :)

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