Do it yourself this summer

July 24, 2007|By KACEY KEITH

Maybe you're going through and discarding your old clothes. Maybe you're tired of the handbag you've been carrying around. Or maybe you just want something to do.

Try this: Go get an old T-shirt and make it into a cute, new bag. It's simple and only takes about half an hour.

You'll need:

· An old T-shirt

· Scissors

· Needle and thread the same color as the T-shirt or a color of your choice

· Ruler and pen or tailor's chalk (optional)

First, lay the T-shirt on a flat surface. Use a ruler, yardstick, or something with a straight edge to mark a line across the chest from the bottom of one armpit to the other. Use your pen or tailor's chalk to mark this, and cut along the line. You should now have two pieces, the larger bottom part is the body of the bag.


Next, turn the body of the bag inside out. The sides are already sewn up, so all you have to do is sew the bottom closed. Using your needle and thread, sew right above the hem line from one side to the other. You can use a sewing machine if you prefer. Leave this piece inside out.

Now the bag is done. All you need is handles.

Get out the top piece. Cut off and discard the sleeves and collar. You should have two identical pieces of fabric - the remaining front and back of the T-shirt. Fold each one in half from collar end to bottom, and pin it in place for sewing. Sew up the open side and both ends of each handle.

You're almost done. Pin each handle in place on the inside of the bag. Sew a square (around all four sides) or an X (two crossing lines that touch all four corners) where the handle overlaps the bag. This will keep the handle in place and stable so your bag won't fall apart.

Turn your bag right side out and you're done! Now you've got a cool handmade tote bag.

I've created this tutorial on how to make a T-shirt tote bag the easiest way I could think of. If you liked this project, you should check out other do-it-yourself books like "Tease: 50 Inspired T-Shirt Transformations By Superstars Of Art, Craft and Design" edited by Sarah Sockit and "Generation T: 108 Ways To Transform A T-Shirt" by Megan Nicolay. You should also go to, a message board where people share ideas for crafts.

If you want stencils like the one used on my T-shirt, go to They have lots of cool, free stencils.

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