Want to keep the summer memories alive, but your fav souvenir T-shirt is past its “best before” date? With just a few basic sewing or crochet skills, you can “upcycle” that tee into a cool new purse or handbag, grocery bag, big soft tote… the possibilities are endless…
Great for beginners, Deborah Schlegel’s market tote (shown above) is an eco-friendly alternative to nasty plastic grocery bags. The tote has a boxy bottom and sturdy straps long enough to go over your shoulder for easily carrying.
Deborah uses selected cool tees from the Goodwill store to sew her market totes. Adult size makes a big roomy tote, but you can just as easily downsize the bag by using a child’s size shirt to make your own. [tutorial]
Inspired by YakPak, this is a nice curvy tote bag with a softly gathered bottom and a neat edging at the top that curves to become the purse straps.
Sew a small pocket inside for important incidentals (you could make the interior pocket the right size to fit your phone, for example, so no need to go fishing around in the bottom of the bag when you get an unexpected text!). Smart sewing tip: use the hem of the T-shirt for the straps for the bag! [tutorial]
Who would have thought a recycled T-shirt handbag could be so elegant?
This simple rectangular bag from Leanne Garrity on the Chichidee label is distinguished by smart t-shirt/fabric choice that gives an art-piece look, and by its braided handles, also made of t-shirt fabric. [tutorial]
p.s. If you want one of these bags quite desperately but aren’t in the mood to sew your own, you can pick up a Chichidee tee bag for £22.00 at Folksy.
You know how much gear kids always need to take along on an adventure? Here’s the solution! This sturdy little drawstring bag by Brassy Apple is made from double layers of a repurposed t-shirt (child size), with a diagonal strap to sling it over the shoulder for hands-free carrying – think “soft backpack” here! [tutorial]
Cut your old shirt in a continuous strip to make soft “yarn” for this clever crochet project. Cindy used two tees to make this sample, with extra for contrasting stripes and a decorative flower. Crocheting with t-shirt material makes the bag soft and durable – and it’s easy to clean. Just toss it into the washing machine! [pattern]
OutsaPop’s choice of a pirate-themed black t-shirt makes this bag a sure-fire hit with the teens we know. I like the sophisticated touch of the fabric-wrapped handles. This particular bag design makes great use of the full t-shirt, too – almost nothing leftover to go to waste. Big and slouchy, just like a tee (bag) is meant to be! [tutorial]
Hey, if you decide to go for any of these great upcycling projects, please leave a comment below to inspire us all with your crafty goodness! Or maybe you’ve got a T-shirt bag design of your own to share? I’d love to see your ideas!