We all have our favorite T-shirts or those shirts that maybe we have outgrown. Don’t just give away those T-shirts, repurpose them. You can repurpose Shirts that even have rips or holes in them. Depending on where the rip or hole is will determine what you can make with it. If it has a Big hole or tear in the main body of the shirt I would suggest using it to make a headband. If the hole or tear is in the sleeve or small near the bottom edge or near the neckline then you can repurpose it into a cute bag. I am going to show you how to make a no-sew t-shirt bag. This is a simple project that can be completed in 10 minutes or less. You can choose to make it with hanging tassels or a streamline tote bag.
I decided to make my t-shirt bag from my husband’s shirt as he had torn a hole in the sleeve. His shirt is XXL so it made for a big bag to carry plenty in it. It was perfect timing for me to do this no-sew project to make a t-shirt bag.
Supplies For T-Shirt Bag
- T-shirt (I prefer reusing old ones but you can check the clearance racks at stores and use a new one.)
- A pair of hands that can cut and tie knots
How to Make a No-Sew T-Shirt Bag
First, make sure your shirt is washed and dried. If it’s an old shirt this way you won’t have to re-wash it after. For a new shirt, you will want to wash and dry it so if there is any shrinkage it will occur before you cut it. This will ensure the final product isn’t out of whack once completed.
Now that the shirt has been washed and dried, lay it out flat on the floor. Make sure to match up the two body line seems to ensure the shirt lays flat.
You will start by cutting off the Sleeves. Depending on how long of straps for your bag will determine how low you cut the sleeves off. I followed the sleeve seam line about 1 inch in from it.
For the other sleeve, I did the same thing following the sleeve seam line about 1 inch in from it. This should work for most shirts unless you want really long straps.
Now you will need to cut out the neckline from the T-shirt. There are various ways you can do this. For those that have done sewing or crafting with scissors for a while, you can probably free-hand it. This is what I did about 4 inches in from the natural T-shirt neckline. If you have never done anything like this you can use a large bowl or bucket and lay it over the neckline a few inches from it then trace with a fabric pen or permanent marker. Then cut the neck opening out. Note if you plunged your Sleeve cut lines down further you will also want to plunge your neckline cut down as well.
Now that the top part has been tended to we need to cut the bottom of the t-shirt. You will cut the shirt into strips, I did mine in strips about 1-inch width. You will do this all the way across the bottom of the t-shirt.
Now you need to decide if you want your bag to have the bottom tassels for your no-sew t-shirt bag like shown above or more clean line like below.
If you want it to have a more clean line bottom of the bag then continue following this tutorial on how to make a no-sew t-shirt bag, I chose the clean line. If you want to have tassels hanging out skip this next step and don’t turn your t-shirt inside out.
Since we are wanting the clean line bottom for our tote bag, we are going to turn the shirt inside out. This way the knots we tie will not be seen and remain inside the bag.
Now you will have one strip on each end of the shirt that will be a wide strip. You will start making two knots with the strips across from each other. There are two exceptions to this. The first with the first start you will have the first wider strip, you will tie that strip in with the first pair of t-shirt strips you cut. See next step in the no-sew t-shirt bag for details.
You will double knot each set of strips. Tie ONLY the first knot in the first set of strips. Then the one wider edge strip lay it across the knot you just made. Now you will tie the second knot this will now attach that wider strip. If you don’t do this step it leaves an opening on each end of the bag.
For the rest of the strips make sure to tie two knots this will ensure it doesn’t come undone. Remember that your bag will have some give and stretch in it.
Just like the start of the T-shirt knotting, you will need to do the same thing on the last set of strips. Tie ONLY the first knot in this last set of strips. Then the one wider edge strip lay it across the knot you just made. Now you will tie the second knot this will now attach that wider strip. If you don’t do this step it leaves an opening on each end of the bag. IF you tied the knots and have the wider strip opening you can always just tie a 3rd knot with it laid over to seal the edge.
Now you turn the t-shirt right side out again and it should look like a cute no-sew t-shirt bag. I love the t-shirt tote bag I made. Since it was made out of my husband’s shirt it is a large bag that I can use to carry a good bit of items.
Enjoy your upcycled T-shirt bag knowing that you are helping the environment as well by repurposing the shirt instead of throwing it away. Remember you can use any T-shirt to make this. If you want a smaller bag use a smaller sized shirt.
- Wash and Dry the T-shirt
- Cut off Sleeves - I cut about 1 inch in and followed the seam.
- Cut out the neckline - I cut about 4 inches down from the natural T-shirt neckline.
- Cut the bottom of shirt - I cut about 1-inch strips. you are cutting both front and back of the shirt at the same time. Cut from Edge to edge.
- Decide if you want your bag to have the bottom tassels or not for your no-sew t-shirt bag
- If you want to have tassels hanging out skip this next step and don’t turn your t-shirt inside out
- I wanted a clean line bag so I turned the T-shirt inside out.
- Start the bottom knots by tying ONLY the first knot in the first set of strips. Then the one wider edge strip lay it across the knot you just made. Now you will tie the second knot this will now attach that wider strip.
- Then start tying two knots with the strips across from each other, working your way down the shirt bottom.
- Repeats step 8 for the last set of strips as well. IF you tied the knots and have the wider strip opening you can always just tie a 3rd knot with it laid over to seal the edge.
- Now you turn the t-shirt bag right side out again. (If you wanted tassels there is no need to turn your t-shirt bag inside out.)
- Enjoy your new No-Sew T-shirt Tote Bag!
If you want a larger t-shirt bag use a large shirt, or if you want a smaller tote bag use a smaller shirt.
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