Outgrown T-shirt Grocery Bag Tote




About: I like to make crap out of other crap. It's exciting and therapeutic, but to pay the bills I teach math.

15 minutes turns your kid's old shirt into a washable, reusable grocery or tote bag!

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Step 1: Choose and Cut

Smaller shirts work best for this project. Adult small is about the biggest I use, anything bigger stretches out so much that if you fill it with anything but maybe cereal boxes or paper towels, the bag will be too heavy. Kids' shirts are perfect for canned goods.

Lay the shirt out flat. Cut off the sleeves, neck, and hem.

Step 2: Sew the Bottom

If you have an overlock machine, use it! But since I can't serge, we're going to do a French seam.

Right side out, sew across the bottom edge.

Trim the edge very close to the seam.

Step 3: Sew the Bottom Part 2

Turn the bag inside out and sew the bottom with a 3/8" seam allowance.

The bottom now has a strong double seam.

Step 4: Bottom Side Seams

Right side out, open the bag and flatten the corners.

At each end of the French seam, sew perpendicular about an inch from the point.

Cut the points off very close to the seams.

Step 5: Finish Side Seams

Inside out, sew another seam on each end of the French seam, using a 3/8 inch seam allowance.

Step 6: Done!

Turn the bag right side out. You're ready to shop!

You may be wondering about the handles and why I left the edges raw. If you want to take the time, you could bind the edges with bias tape or roll them under and sew. However, I have found that they hold up just fine as they are, even after years of use!

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    6 Discussions


    2 years ago

    sew easy! What are we waiting for! I've been collecting old t-shirts waiting for this awesome instructable! So glad I found it? Thank you

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    I have done this before but I never thought to make the bottom boxy like this. Now I am going to fix mine up better. I agree with you about making the bag from a small shirt for groceries. Larger shirts make good over-night bags.

    3 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    i never thought about turning a shirt into a bag but, i did think about turning a bag into a shirt.