Don't bin it, bag it!

February 27, 2019

We all have a few t-shirts in our drawers that we don't wear anymore for whatever reason. So in the name of upcycling, sustainability and keeping the landfill down, I'm going to tell you how to breathe new life into unwanted tees by re-purposing them into a handy tote bag... and even better, this is a sewing free "how-to" guide (if nothing else, it's a great activity for the kids). Alternatively, if you're a sewer, you can whip this up on the machine in no time. Lastly, the thickness of your t-shirt will dictate how durable your bag will be.


1. Get your t-shirt & cut off the sleeves

2. Cut around the neckline, making it deeper so it's in line with the sleeve holes

3. Measure up 5 inches from the bottom of your t-shirt and mark with tape (or chalk)

4. Cut strips to fringe the bottom section (I cut approx 3/4 inch - 1 inch wide)

5. Tie the fringes together... start with the front & back pair, a tight double knot.

6. Now tie the adjacent fringes together to cover up any holes.


7. Viola! You have your bag.




8. Amendments...

A) If you don't want fringing, turn your t-shirt inside out at the very beginning and make your fringing shorter (to cut down on bulk). Then turn it the right way around after you have finished.

B) If you have a sewing machine, you can run a couple of rows of stitches above the fringing to save you tying knots.

C) You can use a vest top and cut stages 1 & 2 altogether

D) This also works on a sweatshirt... however, depending on thickness of fabric it might be best doing this one on a sewing machine. 

E) Embellish! If you're using a plain t-shirt like I have (I couldn't believe I actually owned a plain t-shirt btw) then go to town and add all sorts of stuff... pins, patches, whatever!



If you're interested in other up-cycling projects, whether it's turning tins into plant pots or pallets into garden chairs, here are two beautiful books to get you inspired.




Upcyclist - Antonia Edwards                                             Natural Designs - Aurelie Drouet





Thanks for reading!





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