Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Drawstring T-shirt Bag


The big O has a train set coming her way for Christmas, but since it doesn't come with a storage box I thought I'd make a little bag for the trains and railroads to live in. So... let's begin!

Get an old t-shirt.


Fold it in half lengthwise.


Line the folded edge up with a line on your cutting mat.



Cut off the bottom of the shirt.

You could leave the bottom of the shirt attached and just use it for one of your edges if you want to. I chose to cut the bottom off of the shirt I was using because the shirt had been well worn and the bottom edges didn't line up very well anymore.



Cut off the top of your shirt.


Unfold the remaining middle portion of the shirt. Your shirt should now just be basically a tube of fabric.


Cut along one of the side edges of the tube. Open tube. You will now just have one long strip of t-shirt fabric. Turn it over so the wrong side is facing up.


Decide what you will use for your drawstring so you will know how big to make the tunnel that it will run through. I used some left over skinny twill tape I had lying around.


With the wrong side facing up, line up one short edge with the ruler on your cutting mat.


Fold the edge up. The amount that you fold up your edge will depend on how wide your drawstring is. My drawstring was about 1/4" wide, so I folded my edge up one inch in order to give myself plenty of room for the drawstring to run though.


Pin in place.


Repeat on the other corner.


Pin across the middle. Repeat on opposite short end.


Change the stitch on your sewing machine to a zigzag stitch.


Sew edges, making sure to back stitch a couple of times as you start and finish your seam. This will reinforce the places where your drawstring comes out, making your bag more durable.


Change the stitch on your sewing machine back to a straight stitch.


With right sides together, line up the top edges and side edges of your bag. Line up your edges with your cutting mat ruler. Using a pin, mark just below your drawstring tunnels. I pinned mine an inch below the top of my bag.


Pin the rest of the edge. Repeat on opposite side edge.


Starting at your marking pin, sew side edges together. Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and ends for reinforcement. DO NOT SEW THROUGH YOUR DRAWSTRING TUNNELS.


This is what your bag should now look like.


Turn your bag right side out.


Measure and cut a length of drawstring. It should be a little longer than twice the width of your bag.


Pin one end of your drawstring to a safety pin. The bigger the safety pin (that will fit through your drawstring tunnel) the easier.


Feed your safety pin through your drawstring tunnel.


When you come to the end of one side, feed your safety pin through the drawstring tunnel on the other side of your bag and keep on going.


Once you drawstring is though both sides, take off your safety pin.


Pin drawstring ends together.


Sew back and forth across drawstrings.

This step isn't really necessary, but since this bag is going to be used by a child I'd rather not have the drawstring pulled out and have to re-thread over and over again for the rest of my life.


Tie a knot close to your stitching. This will put the bulk of the strain on the knot instead of your stitching and will help your bag last a long time.


Ta-da! You're done!


Scrunch up your drawstring and go!


Wait. Not yet. It needs a little something more.

Go rummage through your scrap bin and find something fun. Pin it on. (Be sure you just pin it though the top layer of your bag so you don't accidentally sew your bag together. Or you could be really on the ball and do this step before you sew your bag together. Genius!)


Sew your fun little scrap on.


Now you're done!


Right?


No. It still needs just a tiny something more.


Grab a teeny tiny matching scrap.


Fold it over a single strand of your drawstring.


Pin.


Sew--carefully so that you don't sew your scrap to your drawstring.



And now...

Ta-da! You're really, truly, actually, completely finished!


In closing, I would like to tell you why t-shirt bags are great:
-they are eco-friendly (recycle, reduce, reuse!)
-they stretch any and every way you want them to
-they are really strong (can hold a lot of weight)
-they can fold up really really small
-you can use t-shirts that you have worn out, but still love
-t-shirts are cheap (or free!)
-knit fabric (t-shirt fabric) doesn't require seam finishes since knits don't fray, making for quick, easy projects

For another great (and mega mega easy--even a million times easier than this) tutorial, check out my grocery t-shirt bag tutorial HERE. Looking for something fun to do with the scraps left over from your t-shirt bag? Go make some of THESE. Enjoy!

6 comments:

Kathy Haynie said...

Nice project! I've made so many drawstring bags over the years, but I've never tried it with a reused t-shirt. I like your list of reasons why they work so well. I have lots of t-shirts I'd like to reuse.

my name is lauren. said...

i seriously need to learn to sew. can i just have a baby so you can sew me cute bags to put toys and other things babies need in?

Polly said...

Some of Eric's t-shirts should come live at your house...oh wait...you probably don't want holes in shirts that you turn into bags...I guess I'll have to find another way to get them out of the house.

Becca @ Blue Cricket Design said...

So cute! I think we have the same sewing machine!!!Love it!

Sarah said...

I just made this this afternoon. I put a little decal of fabric blocks on the front, since it'll be used to hold his blocks. THANKS for the tutorial!

Arianne said...

Would it be possible to attach some kind of strap or double strap to it so it becomes a backpack.. and if so, have you got any ideas how and where? (or maybe another tutorial? ;) love this one!)