Reversible T-Shirt Tote

I know you probably have at least a couple of T-shirts lying around that you aren’t using. What do you do with them? My husband recently went through his closet and decided there were some shirts he didn’t want. He put several t-shirts into a pile and said he didn’t want them anymore. I was trying to determine if I could do anything with them when I came up with this idea.

You will need two t-shirts exactly the same size. That means they both need to be a men’s large, women’s large, men’s x-large, women’s medium, etc.

The first thing you need to do is turn one t-shirt inside out and put it inside of the other t-shirt, which should be right side out. Make sure you place the tag side of each t-shirt face each other. Basically it’s like you’re going to layer t-shirts on your body, but one is going to be inside out. If you’re having problems grasping what I am saying, turn a t-shirt inside out and put it on, then put a t-shirt on right side out over that. Then take them off.

Take a pair of scissors and cut straight across the sleeves. You can see in the photo the idea is to keep the line of the sides of the T-shirt straight. I would actually leave a little extra fabric here since this has to be hemmed.

Once you have both the sleeves off, Cut across the top of the t-shirts. Leave at least an inch above the design on your T-shirt, if you’re using a T-shirt with a design.

Cut several inches off the bottom of the T-shirt as shown. Save this piece that you cut off because we’re going to use it. Once you have everything cut go to your sewing machine.

Set the piece we cut off of the bottom aside. The bottom of the main t-shirt piece needs to be hemmed. Since we’re going for reversible each edge of each t-shirt needs turned under and then pinned together as shown. This needs sewn together. So sew it together on your sewing machine.

Next we’re going to work on the sleeves.Turn the edges of the part we cut at the sleeves under and hem it like we hemmed the bottom. All of this needs pinned together and sewn. It’s going to be a little tough to get through the sewing machine, so you could sew this by hand or use the sewing machine. Make sure to turn the edges of the top down before you sew this up. If you don’t do that it’s going to make the top difficult to hem later.

After you have the sleeves all sewn up, hem the top. Use the same process that was used when we hemmed up the bottom.

Now we’re going to create the bottom of the bag. I am using the same process I used to create the handkerchief shopping bag I made. This means i need to cut a slit up each side of the shirt. I know we already hemmed the bottom, but we’ll fix this up.

One the bottom, kind of divide it into fourths. You can actually measure it our you can eye it. Sew the 2 and 3 fourths up. So basically the bag is sewn together in the bottom, but is open on the sides in the corners.

This is kind of a tricky part. You need to turn the edges of where we cut up the sides under and pin it together, but we’re not going to sew it up yet.

Using the method in the handkerchief shopping bag we’re going to pin the bottom up to be sewn. When you cut up the side and sewed up the bottom you created this gap in the corner that wasn’t sewn up. Imagine that this corner is the corner on a street. There is a big building on the block, and you want to be at the opposite corner on the block to wait for the bus. The building is in the way so you can’t walk there in a straight line, so you have to walk along the side-walk until you get to the corner in front of you, then you have to turn right and walk along that side of the block. So imagine for some reason the building put a passageway in that went directly from the corner you’re on to the bus stop corner. You don’t have to walk down two sides of the block. You just walk the hypotenuse. Ok get it? So the idea on the corners it to bring them together in such a way that you’re bypassing the two sides. So bring the bottom where the sewing starts up to meet the side where the slit stops. This will leave you with two smaller triangular pieces hanging there. Fold them against the bottom seam of the bag. this is how paper bags are made. Fold them against the bottom of the bag, pin them there and then sew it up. You probably won’t be able to get this through your sewing machine, so you might need to sew this part by hand. It’s going to be about an inch thick at the seam where you’re sewing the little triangles down.

After you have sewn the bottom together turn the bag the other side out as shown in the picture here. You can see how the bottom is now. When you folded the triangles against the bottom you created this little flap. We’re going to sew that flap shut. So just place the bag on your sewing machine and sew right through that. The main construction of the bag is now done! If you’re having problems with how the bottom of the bag works please go to my post about my handkerchief shopping bag.

Remember that piece we cut from the bottom of the t-shirts? We’re going to use that now to make handles. Lay the piece down flat on your table. Cut the sides. You now have two pieces. Hem the edges up like we have been doing. Except for the bottom it already has a hem all you have to do is pin it together. Sew the hems up.

Once the hems are sewn up you need to attach the straps to the main part of the bag. Make sure the right color is facing the right direction and pin them on. I pinned them about an 1-1/2 inches from the top of the bag. I made sure not to cover any of the designs on the bag with the straps. I sewed the straps on by sewing across the bottom of the strap, across the top of the bag and then down each side of the strap. You will have a rectangle sewn into the bag if you do this. Once the straps are on, take your snippers and snip all the stray strings off.

One side of the bag is going to look a little better than the other one, but don’t worry. I put a bunch of stuff inside of the bag to fill it out for the picture. It can hold quite a bit of stuff. If one side gets dirty you can just turn it inside out and use the other side. It’s a thick bag so you can be kind of rough with it. If you have two t-shirts of the same size you can use them to do this!


About Ashe

I always said my dream job would be to get paid for sitting in a corner and drawing all day long. Now, I have to ammend that idea of my dream job. I think I would like to sit in a corner and be able to get paid for drawing and writing.
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