a view from the laundry pile…

…it's all about perspective.

Another day, another (fabulous) upcycled T-Shirt

on June 30, 2012

If you do crafty projects, at all, I’m sure you’ve seen this before — a T-shirt upcycled into a bag/tote. It couldn’t be a simpler project – and I’ve done it many times myself. However, when Fred and I were poking around a thrift store we happened upon on our travels (they were having a “store-wide 50% off sale.” How could we not stop?), I saw this womans shirt, sized small, for .99 cents on the rack and realized I couldn’t have found a more perfect shirt for a tote if I tried – so I got it (and it doesn’t hurt that it’s a great shade of purple, either). I can always use another tote, right? (Okay, so I might be gifting this one since I have one or tw…elve).

I turned it inside out and marked 1-1/2″ from the seam (the top part of the bottom piece), all the way around, and cut it off. Since the shirt doesn’t really lay flat, I used scissors (though I’m quite excited about my new sewing rotary cutter and mat!) and only cut one layer at a time (rather than doing a straight cut across the front and back at one time).

Then I pinned the bottom together, matching up the bottom edges and sewed it shut. I did a double stitch to reinforce the seam (you never know what you’ll be carrying in this fabulous purple bag…) and turned it right side out again.

To finish it, and help ‘define” the handles, I cut a (appx.) 1″ (going lengthwise) strip from the fabric I just cut off the shirt and tied it onto the tops of the handles (I like the look of pretty little bows on this, though regular knots would be fine, too).

I tested my seams by rummaging through the house and stuffing it full of various things (I’m leaving out the photo of my new tote with rolls of toilet paper, dirty laundry, and sticky cookbooks peeking out the top – you’ll just have to take my word for it on this one). It actually held more than I expected, too. Probably because it was a (slightly) pleated, “bubble-like” shirt to begin with (now you know what to look for!).

Other ideas I had along the way were to use contrasting fabric for the handle ties or making and attaching pockets (inside or out) to the bag, using the fabric remnants from this or other projects. When I get my current project list under control (yeah, I’m laughing at this, too), I might have to do it.


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