Instructables
Picture of Teeny Tiny Fold-Up Shopping Tote
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Like most refashionistas out there, we try to do our part to recycle, eliminate waste, and reduce consumption. But sometimes, despite our best intentions, we don't remember to bring our reusable totebag to the grocery store. We solved this problem by creating a very memorable reusable tote bag, made from a recycled tank top! As an added bonus, it folds up super small to fit right in your purse so you will always have it with you. Extra credit for the environment!

This project works best with those 90's rayon tank tops you can easily find at a thrift shop (and maybe even in the back of your closet... shhh, we won't tell!). While it will theoretically work with a knit tank top, rayon or some other thin woven material will fold down smaller and won't stretch if you've got a lot of groceries in your bag. Also, it helps if the necklines on the front and the back of the tank top are similar (versus a tank top with a low cut front and a higher neckline in the back, or a racerback or halter style).

In addition to a refashionable tank, you'll need 5-6 inches of snap tape or ribbon...
 
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Step 1: Givin' waste the cold shoulder

Picture of Givin' waste the cold shoulder
Cut your tank top apart at the shoulder seams.

NOTE: If you are really in a super rush to get your grocery on, you can skip this step and Step 2. While it can be a time-saver, it will also leave your bag looking less polished and it won't open as wide as if you take these extra steps. If you do plan to skip steps 1 & 2, simply turn the tank top inside out so that the side seams are in the front and back of the bag, instead of on the sides and don't do any cutting just yet. Then skip on to step 3!
Well, you inspired me. Then, I thought, why not just gather the bottom with a ribbon through the hem and tie it tightly... almost instant tanktop bag. Stuff the ribbons in to the bag when in use, folds flat when not in use.
pixie9894 years ago
Great Instructable. I am definitely going to  make a ton of these as Christmas presents. The only thing is that I have never owned a rayon tank and I checked my favorite thrift store and all I could find were rayon mixes and not many of them. Is there another fabric you would suggest? For instance would polyester work?
Dorion6 years ago
Shouldn't the pieces of snap tape actually not be facing each other? Like, they'd both have the "action" side facing either right or left when being installed... then when wrapping, one goes around the front of the roll and the other around the back, then the snaps line up. Or maybe I am envisioning it wrong...
jumpthejive6 years ago
instead of resewing the straps, can't you just turn the shirt on it's side and sew the bottom seem from back to front and not left to right? this would cut one step out completely.
stitchlounge (author)  jumpthejive6 years ago
As we mention in step 1, if you are really in a super rush to get your grocery on, yes, you can skip this step. While it can be a time-saver, it will leave your bag looking a little less polished and it won't open as wide as if you take them apart first. But it's dealers choice, so if you want to skip those steps... go for it!
Bitsi6 years ago
Very clever. I think I might use velcro instead of snap tape though. :-)
stitchlounge (author)  Bitsi6 years ago
way to think outside the toot, babair! we like it! you could also use plain ribbon and tie it up, or sew a button and buttonhole onto two strips of fabric, or...
What an amazing use of items that are sitting in my "Goodwill Donations" bag! I think I have to do some digging (and then a teeny bit of sewing) tonight. Thank you. I think of this as the best kind of recycling. You took an item that was practically worthless and changed it entirely with very little effort. I can see giving these as gifts and not one person would recognize the shopping bag (I'd call it a tote) as being an old tank top, even if the recipient gave me the tank top in the first place. Great job!
stitchlounge (author)  SlothOnSpeed6 years ago
aw, shucks, thanks sloth! come by and say hi if you're ever in SF!
You know, I really have to say that I love you guys being on instructables! I typically visit whenever you're on craftzine or another blog, but here I'll see things more often. :D
stitchlounge (author)  jessyratfink6 years ago
thanks so much for your nice words, jessy! have fun with your project, we'd love to see it! send us a photo of your totes!
Love it!