DIY Busters: No-Sew T-shirt Hobo Bag – Yes!

DIY No-Sew T-Shirt Hobo Bag

by Rebecca Rockefeller

Make your own bag from old materials you’ve got on hand and you’ll kill two landfill waste streams with one stone: Your used materials will be given a new life, and you’ll be able to pass on single-use bags wherever you go.

Here at Trash Backwards headquarters, we have quite the assortment of reusable bags and baskets for carrying all sorts of things: treats to keep us going during meetings, toys and art supplies to keep our children playing happily while we’re working, extra zucchini to give away to unsuspecting friends and neighbors, assorted laptops and other electronics, books and papers, groceries, etc. All that stuff we each cart around each day for work and play. Our city recently passed a thin-film plastic bag ban, so DIY reusable bags have been on our minds as we work to show people that life is better without single-use plastic and paper bags.

This bag isn’t just for produce – It makes a lovely bread bag, too.

I found what looked like a very promising tutorial from Vanessa at Crafty Gemini for a no-sew DIY hobo bag from an old t-shirt. In fact, it looked almost too easy. I gathered up my stack of old t-shirts, the pieces too worn, stretched out, or stained for public wear and I set out to see what sort of hobo bag I could make on my first try.

I followed Vanessa’s directions, and you should too – Watch her Thread Banger tutorial here to make your own. Here’s photographic proof of how easy this is:

Cut Hemmed Edge Off Bottom of Shirt

Step 1: Cut the bottom hemmed band off of the shirt, setting the removed band aside for use as a handle.

Cutting Bottom Fringes

Step 2: Cut a fringe a few inches up into the bottom hem of the shirt.

Tying Bottom Fringes Together

Step 3: Tie each pair  of top and bottom shirt layer fringes together with a square knot.

Cutting Fringes into Sleeves

Step 4: Repeat this process for each sleeve, cutting off the hemmed sleeve edge, then cutting and tying the fringes.

Step 5: Cutting Drawstring Slits

Step 5: Here’s where I made some changes. Since I want to use my bag for produce, I need a secure drawstring instead of an open top with a simple strap handle. I cut small slits all around the neckline of the shirt, about an inch below the neck opening’s hem.  I didn’t need to remove my neckline to make my bag’s opening any bigger; since it was a v-neck, it was already plenty big enough.

Step 6: Threading Drawstring

Step 6: I cut the band from the bottom of my shirt so that it was one long strip instead of a continuous loop. I wove one end of this strip over and under through the slits I’d cut around the neckline. I tied the of the strip together to make a drawstring.

This DIY No-Sew T-Shirt Hobo Bag is Strong!

Step 7: Put things into your bag and carry them around. I put my bag to the test with 5 pounds of plums from a neighbor – Not one plum escaped, and none of the fringes gave way.

This DIY No-Sew T-Shirt Hobo Bag is Roomy!

This is one reusable bag that really works! Make one for yourself this weekend and let us know what you carry in it.

Still looking for some T-shirt reuse ideas? Please visit our Trash Backwards app where we have 50+ T-shirt inspirations.

50+ T-Shirt Inspirations at

Do you have a favorite easy t-shirt bag design that you’d like us to test? Other ideas for DIY reusable bags? Please let us know in the comments below or through our crowd-sourcing tool!

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Categories: Best of Trash Backwards, DIY, DIY Busters, Repurpose and Reuse, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff, Upcycle


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4 Comments on “DIY Busters: No-Sew T-shirt Hobo Bag – Yes!”

  1. August 12, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    Cute and practical! and looks so simple- thanks for sharing this DIY tip 🙂

  2. JP
    December 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    I have many scout shirts from my father and brother. This is a great way to pass them on.


  1. DIY Busters: Fast & Easy No-Sew Upcycled T-Shirt Bag « Trash Backwards - August 17, 2012

    […] I’ve been looking for fast and easy reusable bag tutorials to test. Last week, I tried the No-Sew T-Shirt Hobo Bag. This week, I found a well-crafted tutorial at do stuff! for a 10 minute no-sew recycled t-shirt […]

  2. Sarah: 10 Common Products You Never Need to Buy « Suburban Pioneers - February 3, 2013

    […] explained by our awesome friends at Trash Backwards: 1) The Upcycled T-Shirt Bag and 2) The No-Sew Hobo Bag (the English teacher in me loves the rhyming name of the second, but the time-limited crafter in me […]

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