Today I am going to show you how to make your own reusable grocery/gym/tote bag out of 2 old T-shirts.
- 2 large (xl) T-shirts
- a ruler
- straight pins
- sewing machine or needle and thread
This tote can be sewn by hand or by machine. I did it with a machine but you can just as easily make this with a needle and thread. You could make this tote out of just one old t-shirt, but in order to make it strong enough to hold the contents of your life, I’ve decided to double it. So I picked 2 different colored t-shirts, you can choose contrast colors or the same color whatever you like, or have around the house. Just be creative.
1. Lay both t-shirts flat, fronts facing each other and sides and bottom even with each other.
2. Cut a 5″ wide tube from the bottom of both t-shirts.
3. Cut through one side of each tube to make 2 long strips, trim the ends so strips are the same length.
When you lay them flat they will be 5″ wide.
If you are using a sewing machine you will fold the strips in half lengthwise and sew the edges together with 1/2″ seam allowance all the way down both strips, as shown here in the 1st pic
If you’re sewing by hand you will turn in the ends of each side 1/2″, then fold in half and pin together as shown in the 2nd pic, and sew the edges together in a whip stitch.
When you are done sewing the straps pull them right side out. TIP: take a large safety pin and pin it to the end of a strap and pull it through. After you pull both straps right side out, lay them flat and iron them.
Now you will go back to the 2 shirts, making sure that the front of your shirts are facing each other and cut the square body of the tote. ( I like to use t-shirts with cool graphics if you do this make sure you line up the graphics when you lay one t-shirt over the other). The measurements are 14″ wide X 15″ long. TIP: for a bigger bag add inches to the width and length depending on how big your t-shirts are; whatever dimensions you choose just make sure you make the length 1″ longer than the width. Once cut you should have 2 pairs of rectangles.
Next, you will fold over the top of each rectangle (both layers) by 1/2″ and sew it down. ( you will do this to both sides of the tote).
Next, you’ll pin the strips on each side of the front of each rectangle like so:
You will allow the strips to hang over the bottom of each rectangle by 1″.
Position them about 4″ in from the sides, and pin them down. (you will be forming the handle with these strips.) Sew them onto each side of the bag.
*OPTIONAL: Reinforce the 4 intersections (where the handles meet the top of the tote) with a single boxed cross stitch like so:
Next, you will lay each piece together with the strips and graphics facing each other. At this point, if you feel comfortable sewing the bottoms and the sides together without pins, do it. Otherwise pin the 2 pieces together, then sew a half inch in on each side and the bottom creating the body of the bag like so:
Now all you have to do is turn it right-side out and voila!!!!
You have got yourself a re-purposed, cool, vintage looking bag that is also durable, versatile, and utilitarian.
I decided to test this bag out by using it as a purse for a day, and then took it to the Farmers market and used it for my vegetables, it worked brilliantly for both tasks…ENJOY!