Instructables

Upcycled Tshirt Market Bag (Easy and Super Low Sew!)

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Picture of Upcycled Tshirt Market Bag (Easy and Super Low Sew!)
I have a pile of tees from various road races and have always said that I'll turn them into a tshirt quilt... but that may never happen, so I'm doing the next best thing and upcycling them into market bags to take to the farmer's market! 
This is an easy project that's so low sew that you could even do it by hand if you wanted to (or maybe "have to" because you don't have a machine).

P.S. If you're like me and hate to waste anything, check out my dog toy tutorial to use up the scraps from this project ;-)
 
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Step 1: What you'll need:

Picture of What you'll need:
A tshirt (it doesn't need to be heavy duty thick cotton, but I wouldn't use a super light weight shirt)
Ruler
Pen
Scissors or rotary cutter
Cutting mat (optional but very helpful)

*Note: the size of the shirt will determine the size of the bag. If you only have a large shirt and want a smaller bag, then check out the alternate instructions on Steps 2 and 3. 
lilianaelliot2 months ago

Thank you. That is awesome!! You are very creative.

purelily (author)  lilianaelliot2 months ago

Awww, thanks!! =D

astockton8 months ago
I was at a Sunday school meeting, and our new director had been cleaning out the supply closet. She had three or four boxes of t-shirts from a previous craft project she was going to get rid of. I asked her for the shirts,and everyone in the meeting laughed at me. I said, "I'll make the project and then I'll show you what I am making." It's been two months and I've given them all bags and they apologized for the snickering. Thanks for this wonderful project!!!
purelily (author)  astockton8 months ago
Thanks for sharing your story! I'm so glad that you won everyone over with your bags! Maybe you can teach it as a VBS craft next summer ;-)
Devin Snyder9 months ago
This is awesome! I'm already making one right now!
purelily (author)  Devin Snyder8 months ago
Yay, hope you love your bag!!
sheinonen10 months ago
Love this! It would look really cool to have another shirt inside, not cute, so that the colors contrast and that way the nothing would fall through the holes.
purelily (author)  sheinonen8 months ago
That's true! I gave one to a friend and she told me her cucumbers kept falling out!! I will have to line hers next time ;-)
Renee!10 months ago
That looks really cool!
purelily (author)  Renee!8 months ago
Thanks!! =)
LFXG10 months ago
An addition to this that will take it from low-sew to no sew.
Before you start cutting the slits, cut up both layers together from the bottom 3" slits every half inch. Now tie together the pairs of strips in a reef knot and not only do you avoid sewing but also have also added decorative tassel detail to the bag

Liam
purelily (author)  LFXG8 months ago
Ooo, super cute idea!! I'm definitely going to try that! Thanks Liam =)
DeeRilee10 months ago
I love this!!! <3
purelily (author)  DeeRilee8 months ago
Thanks!! =D
dvivster10 months ago
Great project!! Do you think it is possible to use an old sweatshirt that i have but never wear? Do you think it would be too thick?
purelily (author)  dvivster8 months ago
Hmmm... good question. I've never tried it with sweatshirts, so please let me know if you give it a shot!
(I would try it, but down here in Orlando, I don't get too many sweatshirts gifted to me for crafting :-P)
tsyphers10 months ago
I am going to make some out of old shirts for camping and the beach.
purelily (author)  tsyphers8 months ago
Ooo, I hope you do! Sounds like you're going to have some fun with them on your travels!
jrnuerge10 months ago
I love your idea.....am going to make some! Do you think it would work if you left it as a t-shirt to wear over another colored one? Or, does it have to stretch out in order to get the cool slits? JR
purelily (author)  jrnuerge8 months ago
Sorry for the delayed response to your question! I think it would look really cool as a shirt to wear layered over another one or a tank. And you can stretch it a little or a lot to vary the sizes of the slits.. it's a very forgiving project and anything goes ;-)
MeNmyShadow10 months ago
Great idea!! I am also a non-waster and appreciate a useful idea for tshirts because sometimes there is an emotional attachment to them and you really hate to use them for rags. This is a clever alternative since bags are used for everything!! Like holding all the tshirts you are saving for your next stroke of genius, haha Thanks!!
purelily (author)  MeNmyShadow8 months ago
I'm so with you... I have a hard time turning my beloved tshirts into rags. (Now my hubby's tees are a different story!) Besides, I'd rather be crafting than cleaning =)
Wynd10 months ago
I really love this :D I have a lot of great shirts that either don't fit, or are something I would not wear [like animal print]. This is something I am going to try ;) Maybe I will make myself a purse type, thank you for the inspiration!

[ps, totally voted for you!]
purelily (author)  Wynd8 months ago
Thanks for your comment and your vote Wynd =) I hope you do make a purse type one... I get so many compliments on mine when I whip it out, I'll bet a purse would be even cuter!
kalimo10 months ago
I love how the bag looks! But I'm worried that it will start tearing when actual groceries get put in. Do you think one of those bags could handle the weight of a watermelon or a gallon of milk?
purelily (author)  kalimo8 months ago
You know, I've never tried putting anything quite that heavy in the bag, but mostly because I don't use bags for things like that. I just carry it to the car without a bag. However if you need to have it hold heavy items, another commenter suggest lining it with another tshirt and that would certainly reinforce it!
CrystalDyes10 months ago
Instead of T's with sleeves, have you thought about using sleeveless T's? Most have a more open neckline and don't need anything more than sewing the bottom and doing the slashes. The top is already finished with shoulder straps making great handles. I did this some time ago after viewing an Instructable for grocery bags. I shopped the thrift stores for Plus size women's sleeveless T's. Small sizes just doesn't get it.
purelily (author)  CrystalDyes8 months ago
I like how you think CrystalDyes!! I am working with tshirts that were donated to me that would otherwise be in the trash, but tank tops and sleeveless tees would definitely work! Btw, don't worry, I never waste a single scrap of fabric, so the parts of the shirt that are cut off for this project are repurposed into my other projects ;-)
costumer34110 months ago
Verrrrrrry clever! And guys, don't be afraid to make and use these yourselves. This way I get to save one of my favorite t-shirts that I unfortunately put a hole in.
purelily (author)  costumer3418 months ago
Thanks costumer, and you're right, this project is great for holey and stained tshirts!
lisascout10 months ago
Love it! Super easy! I have a question - if you fold it like an accordion and cut on either side of the folds, don't you get the same effect but don't have to measure your cuts? Like a snowflake?
purelily (author)  lisascout8 months ago
It's funny you ask that because my friend tried doing exactly what you said and it wasn't perfect, but it totally does work and is faster than cutting each line one at a time. Maybe we just need to figure out where to fold and cut better. If I get it right, I'll update this tutorial. Btw, snips are recommended for cutting that many layers at once, your hands will thank you =)
farldarm10 months ago
Great Idea for shirts!! I am going to try this later today.
P.S. If you are interested in having a t-shirt quilt made, let me know. It is a good reason for my best friend and I to spend a weekend together. I believe our prices are VERY reasonable!! beth@bethnray.com

Thanks!
purelily (author)  farldarm8 months ago
Thanks Beth, I'm sure your bag turned out great since you're used to working with tshirt material already! I've always thought about making a quilt too, but just haven't gotten around to it. You should write an instructable for it ;-)
sheinonen10 months ago
Love this! It would look really cool to have another shirt inside, not cut, so that the colors contrast and that way the nothing would fall through the holes.
sunshiine10 months ago
I must try this! It is such a pretty little thing! Thanks for sharing and do have a splendorous day!
sunshiine
purelily (author)  sunshiine10 months ago
Thanks again sunshine! Btw, I'm going to steal your word "splendorous," I just love it! =)
sunshiine purelily10 months ago
I am delighted that you love the word splendorous! I stole it from my lovely daughter so don't feel bad! Keep shining!sunshiine
jlittlejohns10 months ago
I do love this idea, Im already thinking of which t-shirt to cut up and try it with!
purelily (author)  jlittlejohns10 months ago
Ha ha, maybe one that's already hole-y so that you have less cutting to do ;-)
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