T-shirt to Bag Refashion

Post by Contributing Writer, Emily C.

T-shirts are one of those things that we constantly have an overabundance of in our house. There are dozens acquired from races, concerts, kids camps, vacations, the list goes on and on. Sometimes t-shirts remind us of fun adventures and sometimes they are really cute, even if we never wear them.

The good news is you can turn that t-shirt into a great little bag that you’ll love to throw over your shoulder on your way out the door. And those un-worn t-shirts will finally get the love and recognition they deserve.

All you need is your basic sewing supplies and a t-shirt.

Lay your t-shirt out on a flat surface and get ready to make some plans for the size and shape of your bag. Looking at the picture below, the dots are going to be the shape of my bag (it was a really big shirt!) and in the excess space below you will be cutting a strip of fabric about 2-3 inches wide and the entire circumference of the shirt to be the strap for your bag.

Using either pins or a disappearing pen mark where the sides and bottom of your bag will be. Since a t-shirt won’t fray when you cut it you can turn it inside out and sew these seams leaving the edges raw or you can start right side out and create a french seam, enclosing all your raw edges and giving your bag a little extra strength.

At this point you’ll need to determine where to cut across the top of your bag to create your opening. A slight curve from the shoulders down towards the center has seemed to be a very effective way to make the most of the t-shirt material and flows with the natural bend and twist of the finished bag. Finishing the top by folding the raw edge over once and creating a zig-zag stitch at the edge is sufficient and gives the bag a slightly sturdier form. (Though this step is optional since the material will not fray.)


The strip you cut from the bottom of the t-shirt will be your strap. (If it is still a big circle now is the time to snip it into one long strip!) Center one end of your strip to the seam on each side of your bag, making sure that the strap is not twisted. Make sure to firmly secure it to both sides. A stitch pattern as in the picture below should be sufficient.

And there you have it. A great way to turn an old t-shirt into something fun and useful. The purposes and possibilities are endless….

  • Your son’s outgrown shirt of his favorite sports team.
  • A bag for the preschool teacher using a shirt with your school logo.
  • That family reunion shirt you will never wear but feel bad tossing into the rag-bag.
  • Your daughter’s favorite shirt from vacation that is stained, but loved.
  • A shirt from a band that your best friend loves and you only tolerate for her sake.
  • That sweet patterned tee you are always wishing you could squeeze into.

If you make one, let us know! We’d love to see the way you transform and create your own unique and meaningful bags.

Emily lives in Salt Lake City with her husband Jeremy and their 3 wild and crazy kiddos! She loves reading, running, baking yummy treats for her family, her early morning yoga, walking to the library and all things creative and crafty. She especially enjoys exploring nature with her children and learning side by side with them. You’ll find her chatting about all aspects of life at her blog, Industrious Emily* and also sharing her crafty side through the blog, Life at the Table.

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