Thursday, August 27, 2009

T-Shirt Bag Tutorial

I saw the instructions for this on Martha Stewart. Click here for her directions. The directions given there will suffice, but I thought I'd try and give something back to the wonderful world of blogging craft tutorials by taking some step-by-step pictures of how I made some of these bags myself. I tried making a bunch this morning to give as a wedding gift for my friend who got married today. I think they turned out nicely. Enjoy the tutorial!

Scrounge up some old t-shirts. Size small works best, otherwise the bags just end up being huge. I didn't have any t-shirts laying around that I wanted to get rid of, so I went to DI and got all of these for $1 each. I was going for fun t-shirts in a variety of colors.

Start by turning your t-shirt inside out. Next, I recommend pinning the bottom hem together. I was going to just wing it and I was glad that I had pinned it once I started sewing. Sometimes used t-shirt hems like to pull and curl kind of funny, but I had no problems with them pinned together. Another reason I recommend pinning the hems together before you sew is that almost all of the t-shirts I used were slightly longer in the back (probably from people pulling their t-shirt down) and so it looked a lot nicer matching them up ahead of time.

I love this picture of all the colorful shirts. They're all pinned, just waiting to be sewn together at the bottom.

Now that you've turned your t-shirt inside out and pinned the bottom hem together, sew a straight line along that bottom hem.

I just lined up my presser foot with the surging on the bottom hem of the t-shirt. So easy. After you do this, turn your t-shirt right side out.

Next, use a medium size bowl to mark a larger opening. (You'll line the bowl up over the neck hole.) Martha Stewart richy-pants says to use a washable fabric pen. That's completely unnecessary. I didn't have one on hand (and probably wouldn't have used one if I did). I just grabbed a permanent marker and traced around the bowl. Then, when I cut the hole out I cut just outside the line so the permanent marker would be cut off with the neck hole. On the t-shirts that had fun prints higher up on the front or back I just moved the bowl and marked it accordingly. As if anyone will ever notice that some of your bags have a slightly different size opening.


After you cut out the neck hole, cut off the sleeves along the arm holes. Now you have handles. Your bag is finished! Ta-da!

Close-up of another finished bag

(I love the picture on this shirt.)

The pile of finished bags. Perhaps I got a little carried away, but I loved how they all looked together and I couldn't bear to break up those wonderful colors!

Since this was a gift, I wanted them to look nicer than just a pile of old cut-up t-shirts, so I rolled up each one with the coolest part showing and tied it with a ribbon.

Pile o' t-shirt bags

All the t-shirt bags ready to go in the gift bag (a little ironic to put them in a paper bag, I know, but I had to wrap them up nice enough to take to a wedding reception).

I had a blast working on this project. It was SO fast and easy. It would be a great first sewing projects for kids to start learning how to sew on a machine and cut out fabric. Also a great idea for enrichment or young women's activities.

Good luck making your own t-shirt bags!

P.S. I think I'm going to make bean bags out of the left over sleeves. :)


Kathy Haynie said...

Bean bags are an excellent idea. I would love to do this with some of my old t-shirts that have happy memories, but I never wear them any more.

Nice job on the tutorial, Katie!

Holly Mayer said...

those are really cute Katie. I'm glad you found a craft to do that did not get left undone because of baby news.

alee said...

Wow- I can't believe you made so many! Maybe I will try them with like men's large shirts so I can take them to the grocery store and fit all my junk in them!

Thanks for the tutorial!

Unknown said...

Love, love, LOVE your tutorial! (Martha's got nuthin' on you!)

Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

I was just watching the video on Martha's's obvious they're not using upcycled T's at all...they're all identical and brand-new. ;) I'm off to make a bag of my own now. :)