Upcycle a t-shirt into a bag

Edited by E W, Laurel Waddell, Monika, Christine dela Cruz and 2 others

Do you have dozens of old t-shirts that no longer fit? Maybe you have free shirts from events that you no longer wear? Here is a great way to reuse those shirts. You can up-cycle your unwanted shirts and make them into handy shopping bags.

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recycled tee shirt


  1. 1
    Lay your old shirt out on a flat surface
    Be sure to line up the edges of the neck line and the sleeves.
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  2. 2
    Make the neckline deeper and wider by centering a plate or bowl over the neckline leaving enough of the shoulders on each side to make sturdy straps for your bag.(After you have widened and deepened the neckline, and removed the sleeves it will look like a tank top.)
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  3. 3
    Trace around your plate or bowl.
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  4. 4
    Using a sharp pair of scissors, neatly cut along the curved line you have drawn.
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  5. 5
    Now remove the sleeves along the outside of the seam
    (Leaving the seam will make the straps stronger.)
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  6. 6
    Turn the shirt inside out.
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  7. 7
    Line up the bottom of the shirt and sew with a straight stitch one inch from the bottom edge so that bottom of the shirt is closed
    You can hand sew with or use a sewing machine.
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  8. 8
    Turn your old shirt right side out to reveal your new bag and you're done!
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Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • If you are hand sewing, make sure to keep your stitches small and straight. Avoid using very large stitches, as that can easily open up that side, especially if you are carrying really heavy load on your bag.
  • Watch out on the fabric that you use for the bag. There are certain T-shirts that use fabrics which can easily create stains when rubbed on another fabric. For example, if you are using an extremely colored old T-shirt as a bag and you use it with white T-shirt that you are wearing, the color may affect your white T-shirt as it rubs together.
  • Avoid using fabrics which easily crumple or are very thing. You would not want your bag to look soggy as you carry it. Therefore, stay away from fabrics which are too soft or thin. If you would like to use them still, make sure you add some lining so that there's more strength to the entire bag.
  • Pay attention to the handle of the bag. It would help a lot if you would sew it in from the base of the bag to the top, as that will make it stronger.
  • When washing your repurposed T-shirt for the first time, avoid using fabric softeners as that will make it limp and it will make the things inside your bag rather messy when you carry it. Use baking soda to help make the fabric sturdier.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Article Info

Categories : Repurposing Crafts

Recent edits by: Maria Quinney, Christine dela Cruz, Monika

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