Tote bags are incredibly versatile and very simple to sew! But did you know you can sew a tote bag from a T-shirt? It’s a great way to repurpose or upcycle a T-shirt into something new. Instead of sending old shirts to the donation pile, you can reuse them and make something useful without paying for it!
How to sew a tote bag from a t-shirt
- old t-shirt of any size
- sewing machine
- scissors or rotary cutter
1.Cut off both sleeves entirely.
2. Cut around the neck. Scoop down a little. If you want to keep the graphic on your T-shirt, make sure you don’t scoop down too low. I didn’t care about this graphic, so I cut into it to get the strap length I wanted.
3. If the shirt is too long for your liking, cut it shorter. I recommend cutting off the hem, to keep the bulk down on your bottom seam.
4. With the shirt inside out, sew the bottom of the shirt together. Use a serger or sew with a zigzag stitch. It’s not necessary to finish the edge, because the knit fabric will not fray.
Turn the shirt right side out, and now you have a tote bag! This tote bag will obviously not hold heavy items, but is perfect for carrying sand toys or towels to the beach, letting your kiddos gather treasures on a hike, carry nature journaling supplies, or even for carrying groceries!
Make a tote bag without sewing
If you’d like to see a no-sew version of this tote, watch this video. You’ll see full video tutorials of both the sew and no-sew versions:
Try another version of a DIY tote bag:
The T-shirt tote bag is really simple and inexpensive, but they won’t hold anything heavy. Try one of these tote tutorials if you want something a bit sturdier.