Home » You Can Accomplish This Before Your Effing Head Explodes: Reusable Bags from T-Shirts

You Can Accomplish This Before Your Effing Head Explodes: Reusable Bags from T-Shirts

The other day Chris was sorting through some of his clothes.  He set aside about five T-shirts that were in good shape but not exactly donation material because they had a paint spatter or small stain.  I’m not a huge fan of scrub rags made of T-shirts so I wasn’t sure what to do with them?  It seemed silly to throw them away but how could I repurpose them?

I briefly considered cutting out some of the designs on them and making a super-hero cape for Mac or other silly item but I have enough projects going right now.  And I’ve committed to finishing things I start in a more timely manner these days.  Seeing projects languish and take up space makes me grouchy.

Fortunately, that’s when I remembered seeing a project online for making T-shirts into reusable shopping bags.

We already have commercially produced reusable bags. . .which we are horrible about using for actual groceries but we do use them for toting around lots of other stuff.  The project is simple and I figured making five more might up our odds of having reusable bags with us at the grocery and other stores.

SO. . .I whipped up five of these little suckers in about 20 minutes. . .

grocery bags

There are tutorials all over the Internets for this project – just do a Google search – but here’s my fast and dirty method:

1.  Take a laundered T-shirt and turn it inside out.

2.  Smooth out the T-shirt so the seams and hems are pretty well lined up and the major wrinkles are smoothed out.

3.  Use a sewing machine to sew straight across the bottom of the shirt right above the hem.  I used a straight stitch but went back and forth over the stitches once to make sure everything was really secure.  (A serger would probably work even better but we all know I’m scared shitless of mine and haven’t ever been brave enough to turn it on).

4.  Once the bottom is hemmed, lay the shirt out on a flat surface keeping the seams and hems pretty well lined- up.  Then use sharp scissors to cut off the arms and ribbing around the neck of the shirt.  (The neck will form the opening at the top of the bag).

5.  Turn everything right-side out and you’re done!

A couple of NOTES & IDEAS:

1.  Chris wears a medium T-shirt.  I sewed these at the very bottom by the original hem.  It makes for a very generous sized bag.  They are larger than our purchased reusable bags and even plastic grocery bags.  This could be an issue if you fill the sucker with canned goods or heavy items.  If you want smaller bags, adjust where you sew the bottom of the shirt (i.e., sew farther up on the shirt).

2.   I think these would make really fun gift wrap and packaging.  The “handles” would look neat tied together in a big floppy knot or with ribbon.  And you could even use new plain t-shirts and dye them or paint them with your own designs to make one-of-a-kind reusable packaging and gift wraps.

3.  This is an excellent easy project for a child who is just learning to sew.  You could have younger children paint on the shirt or draw on it with fabric markers before you sew up their bag.  Holla’ rainy day kid project!

4.  If you use a child-sized Tee, you could probably fashion adorable wine or 6 pack totes.

5.  I’m also excited to make a couple out of a few of Mac’s old T-shirts.  They will be kid-sized.  Just for him to cart around toys and dirt or whatever else he fancies.  If you have (or know) kids who have play grocery sets and shopping carts, a few cute mini-grocery bags would probably be a fun little gift for them too.

GOOD LUCK!  As always, if you try the project, share your ideas and finished projects.  I’d love to see them!  XO


2 Responses to “You Can Accomplish This Before Your Effing Head Explodes: Reusable Bags from T-Shirts”

  1. Lea-Anne says:

    The no sew version: lay the shirt flat, back to front. Cut strips about one inch apart starting at the bottom UP into the shirt. Make sure to cut the front and back of the shirt at the same time so the strips match.Tie the strips together and that forms the bottom of the bag. Note: If you cut the strips too far apart, the shirt will stretch and holes will form around the knots.