Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"T-Shirt Tote"


I recently saw this idea here, and also recognize it as a way they recycle clothing in Africa.
(please click on any photo for a close up!)

To get started, you will need the following:
  1. L to XL t-shirt. Men's solid color undershirts work well because they are a thicker cotton, but if you must use a brightly colored shirt (as I did above) hold the shirt up with your fingers pressed inside. If you can see through the fabric, it's too thin and will not hold up as a tote.
  2. Standard size safety pins.
  3. Sharp sewing scissors
  4. A clean (free of crumbs/pet hair) surface.
  5. Ruler
Lay your shirt out flat.



Begin cutting on the lay out as I have illustrated here. This is not a perfectionist craft. It won't really matter in the end. Trust me. :)

Starting from the top shoulder to about 11" down, you'll want to cut as straight as you can. I had to curve out as the sleeves curved a bit. No biggy. :)


Be sure to make precise and clean cuts. Correct the jagged edges carefully as not to take more than you need from the sides.


Cut out the top. This is for the handles and totes opening.

What is left of the shirt is not wasted.

Carefully cut away the collar along the seamed edge.


The collar is now a stretchy pony tail holder...


....or a head band!

Cut all the seams of the leftover fabric till you have a clean rectangle. Or if you have a ample amount of sleeves fabric left, take from that.


Cut approximately (3) 1/2" x 9" to 12" strips. They don't need to be perfectly cut.


Pull each strip taught, curling them with your fingers. They stretch longer when you do this and become a strong cord.


Make 3 cuts at the bottom of your shirt. be very careful not to cut the seams!


Place one cut in the middle on the top part (see white arrow) and the other two cuts on the inner bottom parts of the shirt. (feel free to ZOOM in on any of the photo's for a closeup)!


Attach your safety pin to the end of your cord. Give it some depth so it can't tear free as you work.

Start to thread the safety pin through one of the slits of the bottom of the shirt. Guiding it along with your fingers, bunching up the fabric and then pulling it through and trailing the cord as you work.


Keep on pushing that pin through till it reaches the other end of the slit.




Undo your safety pin and set aside. match the ends of the cord and pull evenly. Like you would do with the cord on your hoodie.

Pull the cord tight as you can and knot twice, leaving the ends to dangle.


Repeat with the safety pin and other cords till you have 3 tied holes.


Further secure the bottom 3 holes by tying each cord with the neighbor cord. Knot twice each.


Either leave the cords hanging (as shown) or tie in bows as I did with some of my other bags.

So there you have it!
Great for light weight items and a cheerful jaunt to the coffee shop. :)


What's great about these totes, is that you are "recycling" what you already have and doing it in a unique way. 2 of my shirts were ones I bought at a place that had no changing room and when I got home they were just ill fitting. But too cute to return.
Sound familiar? :)


Today is the first of my Tuesday tutorial and the start of a monthly project giveaway!
I love to do tutorials but can't keep everything I make.
Some, I give away, sell in my shop or even (gasp!) throw away!

So I've decided to include them in a monthly giveaway.
Here is how it works. EVERY Tuesday, I'll post a tutorial here on my blog. The craft made from that post will go into "pot" for a drawing. There are generally 4 Tuesdays to each month, so that means 4 items will be added to the pot. Comments made on my blog for that month are collected as they are read. Comments will also be collected on other posting for that month including non giveaway tutorials.

On the 1st Tuesday of the following month a winner will be randomly drawn via # generator.
The winner will get ALL 4 projects made from the previous month.
To increase your chances of winning, feel free to post about my tutorial on your blog,twitter,or FB page. Just send me the link so I can verify.

Also, in the case that you are the winner picked, please make sure I can reach you, as posted here.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck! :)

Once again, please visit this site...it's where I originally saw a visual of this idea, although people are now telling me that they have done the T-shirt bags for years through various churches clubs and craft events, so I can't be sure where this idea "originated" from. But I think it's still a GREAT idea to pass on!

Also...check out these other totally CUTE alternative idea's to this craft!
No sew tank top tote

T-shirt tote with tied bottom - I really like this one...reminds me of making fleece scarfs and blankets!

Duct tape and Staples

T-shirt Surgery
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