Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Craft Complete: No Sew DIY Tote Bag (Made from a T'Shirt!)

I love this project! I first saw a posting on this from and knew I wanted to try.
I've made two so far. Attached are pictures and easy-peasey instructions on how to turn a T'Shirt into a Tote Bag! This is a DIY NO-SEW PROJECT (my fave - no sewing! lol)

Really, the only supplies you'll need are a good pair of scissors, your t'shirt of choice, and a safety pin. (You may also want to grab a magnet - you'll see why later...)

First: Cut the sleeves off the shirt. I cut mine about a 1/2 inch in from the seam. You can make the cut larger if you so choose, keeping in mind, this will become your handles.

You should have something like this after cutting them both off. Put the sleeves you just cut off to the side, you'll be using those pieces later.

Next: Cut off the collar of the shirt. You can do so in either a square or rounded shape, and as large as you want. Again, keeping in mind this will become your bag opening. I've cut mine in a squared shape as low as I could without cutting off the logo on the t'shirt.

Next: At the bottom seam of the t'shirt, make 4 cuts up to the hem line of the shirt. You can actually make as many or as few cuts as you'd like. I've chosen four as it seems to work best for closing off the bottom without any openings for items to call through. (You'll see why in a minute.) I did my four cuts as shown, two on the front and two on the back seam, equally spaced.

Using the sleeve pieces I told you to put to the side, begin cutting the appropriate amount of strips from the sleeves (in my case I'll need four since I made four cuts) Cut the strips approximate 1/2" thick. One strip at a time, take both ends in your hands a pull on it to make it stretch out and start to curl up.

Place a safety pin through the end of your strip. This is when you may want to grab a magnet to help guide the strip & pin through the seam of the shirt. (I just grabbed any ol' magnet I had on my refrigerator.)

Push the safety pin and strip through one of the cuts you made at the bottom of the shirt. Begin to push it through until you reach the next opening. You can use the magnet to help guide it through the seam if it gets stuck, but you should be able to just push it through with your fingers.

Once you've guided all your strips though the cuts at the bottom, it should look something like this ^

With the strips acting as a drawstring, begin to synch the shirt as tight as you can along all the strips.

After I've pulled them all tightly, I tie each on into an knot and then double it up by knotting them once more to the one beside it, making sure that it will be secure that way.

Here's a view from inside my bag once I've synched and knotted it.
You can choose to either cut off the bottom of the strips (as I have) or leave them to create a fringe at the bottom on your bag. 

Here are shots of my completed bags:

(Sorry for the cheesy self-portrait, lol, was doing my best to show the bag.)

Bag I made for my mother who loves all things "Chihuahua". :)

Also keep in mind, the bigger the shirt you use the bigger the bag! That being said, a small shirt could make a cute reusable lunch bag or tote for a child. They would also make a nice bag to use for a gift for someone - they get a present AND a handmade, eco-friendly tote bag!

The next one I make my daughter has already requested be "her size", lol. She also wants to add decorations to hers, so I will post after we make her cutesie one which may have some "bedazzling" added with bows and fabric paint. :)


  1. hmmmm can also use these as reusable grocery store bags..

  2. I just made a bag it was so easy. Your instructions were so detailed! Thank you!

  3. I did do the strings different I flipped the bag inside out and tied the strings that way I tided the ones opposite each other as tightly as I could then tied the ones next to each other really tight and I don't have a hole or strings


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