T-Shirt Bags


Hello!  I am here today to spread the word about t-shirt bags.  Are you familiar with them?  I learned about them from (who else?) Martha Stewart a few years ago.  Is it too much to say that they’ve changed my life?  Probably.  But I really really really love them.

I love that I can still keep those old, sentimental t-shirts around without them taking up valuable real estate in my itty-bitty closet.  I love that those shirts are now more useful than they ever were as a garment that I would only wear while cleaning my house.  I love that when I take them to the store I can be loud & proud of the fact that I love Tia Babe’s Mexican food in Santa Paula, California.  Or that I was indeed, on senior cabinet in high school.  And I really love that I get large, sturdy, reusable shopping bags that are made from 100% cotton and don’t cost me anything, instead of bags that I have to pay for and are often made from questionable plastics.  They are such a fantastic way to reuse something that would otherwise be tossed.

Oh!  I just thought of another good thing about these bags:  making them is a super forgiving project.  Straight cuts and sewing lines are not required.  This is one of those projects that takes 10 minutes or less and non-perfectionists are invited and encouraged to participate.  Those are my kind of projects!

Have I sold you on the idea of t-shirt bags yet?  If not, I’ll try one more.  How about making a custom trick-or-treat bag for a child you love from one of their old t-shirts?  (Ah!  Is it too early to start thinking about Halloween?)  Or, if trick-or-treating isn’t in your future, perhaps you could make a great library bag.  Martha has a nice tutorial on her website, but here’s a photographic version from me:

Items needed: a shirt, scissors, sewing machine.

Additional items needed if you want to applique: fusible web (I used Wonder-Under), iron, ironing board.  (Remember to read the directions thoroughly on your webbing, in case they differ from those shown below.)

Your t-shirt bag is now finished.  Easy as pie, right?  You can stop here or go on to add a bit of custom magic to your bag.  I chose designs that read a bit Halloween-y, but wouldn’t look completely out of place when we use them as library bags for the rest of the year.

Viola!  You now have a super cute and custom bag for your child.  Now go dig through your closets, pull out all your old t-shirts and get cutting.  Your shirts will be so happy to be back in your life.

What is your favorite way to reduce/reuse/recycle?

What simple items make your life easier?


Darling Clementine

Crystal stops by GiversLog a couple times a month to share her fresh ideas. When she’s not writing for GiversLog, Crystal can be found mothering, knitting, and cooking. Stop by and see what’s new at her etsy shop: monograms, Greek keys, and chevron stripes. Oh my!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Carla September 9, 2010 at 10:42 am

As easy as that. I will definitely be trying some of these out. I have a stack of abandoned tshirts that will now get a new purpose. Thanks!


Tracy September 9, 2010 at 1:16 pm

This is a fab idea, could you please give me some ideas on how to make a bag using my daughters sweatshirt from Uni I dont want to throw it away and would love to combine it with a memory and a christmas present.


Nan September 9, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Such a cute idea! Allie and I are taking a sewing class on Tuesday. This might be one of our first projects!


BrendaLea September 9, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I love making these bags. I just got 4 more T’s at a yard sale last weekend for a nickle a piece that I am using to make more of these as gifts. Everyone loved seeing my bags while out yard sale-ing.


geek+nerd September 10, 2010 at 4:18 am

Oh I love making t-shirt bags – totally sold! If you have a few extra minutes, you can use those sleeves to make some awesome, sturdy handles. Working in a spiral, cut each sleeve into a 1″ or so strip. Then wrap, wrap, wrap each strip around the handle. Tuck in the ends and you are done. You’ll get something like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/geekxnerd/2639664843/in/set-72157610696478351/


Lori September 10, 2010 at 11:17 am

So you must have been reading my mind! I just folded up way too many plastic grocery bags and thought that I need to get some reusable ones. And here in my feed reader is this post! I have a ton of old tshirts that will be perfect for this. Thanks so much for such an easy idea!!


Crystal September 10, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Hi Tracy! I love that you want to keep your daughter’s sweatshirt around. I think the same basic idea of a t-shirt bag would translate to using a sweatshirt, but I did a little searching and found another tutorial (link at bottom) that is specific to making a bag from a sweatshirt. I’d love to see your final product!

tutorial: http://maidenjane.blogspot.com/2010/06/from-sweatshirt-to-sweet-tote-tutorial.html


Crystal September 10, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Hello geek+nerd. Whoa. Those handles are amazing! Thank you so much for the link. I’ll be adding those for sure!


Amy September 14, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I love this idea Amber! Perfect for carrying their treats in while trick or treating! My kids will love these!


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