For some people a tote bag is essential to everyday life as a grocery bag, beach bag, laundry bag, craft bag, laptop bag, work bag, book bag and many other uses. Tote bags come in all shapes and sizes to fit everyone's needs.
A simple and quick tote bag can be made from t-shirt to bag in less than a half hour. This DIY recycled t-shirt tote bag is so easy even someone learning to sew can make it. Recycle some old t-shirts into a shopping bag.
T-shirts can also be upcycled into other crafts. Do you need other craft ideas for t-shirts? Our T-Shirt Recycling page has many craft ideas. Also, our "Green Crafts, Going Green" department has many ideas.
Watch this video tutorial and read on for a photo tutorial with step by step instructions on how to make a t-shirt tote bag.
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WHAT YOU NEED
- Sewing Machine
INSTRUCTIONS FOR How to Make a Recycled T-Shirt Tote Bag
Place the t-shirt on your work surface and flatten it so there are no wrinkles.
With a scissor remove the sleeves leaving the seams. The seams will keep the tote handles sturdier and strong.
The next step is creating the opening for the tote bag by cutting off the neck opening. But first decide how to cut it. This decision depends on the design.
If you want a rounded opening in the bag, use a plate as a template.
If you want a squared opening, use a ruler to determine the placement of the opening.
After deciding, trace the opening with a pencil or pen.
With a scissor, cut the front and back of the t-shirt along the tracing line.
Remove the cut out piece and set aside.
Turn the shirt inside out and line up the bottom edges. Stitch the bottom closed with a straight stitch. Stitch the seam again to reinforce it. This will make the bag stronger and hold more weight.
I like my tote bags to have a boxed bottom. With this type of bottom, items seem to fit better in the bag and it's easier to load. To make the boxed bottom, align the side seam with the bottom seam forming a triangle, pin in place.
Measure 2 1/2" from point of triangle, mark with a pencil or a fabric marker as shown above. The mark is also shown below.
Stitch along the marked line. Repeat on other side of the bag. Turn the tote bag right-side out and it is finished.
The handy, dandy t-shirt tote is ready to use! Take your new t-shirt shopping bag with you to the store to bring home your purchases.
Below are other t-shirt to tote bags we made. These are so quick and easy to make, you can really make a whole bunch in an hour or two! These would make great gifts too!
This was made from a pink shirt that I used to wear. It makes a nice bag. This one is pretty roomy!
This bag was made from one of my daughter's old shirts! If you look closely, it is Star Wars t-shirt with R2D2 and C3PO on the front. This one isn't as roomy since it's made from a kids shirt, but it would be nice for a kid or a quick shopping trip.
What old t-shirts can you reduce, reuse and recycle into a t-shirt bag?
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ANOTHER T-SHIRT RECYCLING IDEA - T-SHIRT YARN TUTORIAL
If you want more recycling ideas for t-shirts, you may be interested in books listed below.
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