by Rebecca Rockefeller
Is it possible to make a no-sew t-shirt bag in 10 minutes? A bag strong enough to carry groceries? A bag you’ll want to be seen with?
Yes. Most definitely.
As part of our ongoing Trash Backwards DIY Busters series, 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 bag that looked too good to pass up. I wanted to see if Leethal’s 10 minute no-sew recycled t-shirt bag would work with a t-shirt of fairly loose knit, so I tested it out on an old striped shirt.
The verdict: It worked! It was easy, it really did take me about 10 minutes, and the resulting bag is sturdy enough for groceries and so very soft on my shoulder and arm that toting things around in it is going to a be a pleasure. As an added bonus, upcycled t-shirt bags can be washed and dried for years of clean, safe food transportation.
Here’s photographic proof of how easy this is – Please see Leethal’s tutorial for all of the details:
What you’ll need:
- Safety Pin
Step 1: Cut off the sleeves to make the outside edges of the bag’s handles.
Step 2: Cut off the neckline to form the bag’s opening and the inside edges of the handles.
Step 3: Cut slits in the hem. I went with three slits to create a bag with 3 small holes in the bottom.
Step 4: Cut the sleeves into strips to close the bottom of the bag, then stretch each strip out to roll its edges. Since I had 3 slits in the shirt’s bottom hem, I needed 3 strips. Because my shirt’s sleeves were rather small, I cut 2 strips from one sleeve and 1 strip from the other.
Step 5: Stretch each strip to jolly the fabric into rolling its edges. This is where I ran into a wrinkle – Because my shirt wasn’t a standard thick knit, the strips didn’t form nice rolls when I stretched them. No matter, they were still plenty strong, just not very pretty.
Step 6: Pick one of the hem slits and thread a strip into it, using the safety-pin as your needle (pin through the end of the strip, then close the pin). Allow the strip to exit from the next slit along the hem and center the strip.
Step 7: Pull the strip tightly to gather the shirt, knotting the strip securely.
Step 8: Use a new strip to thread through and gather the shirt’s hem between the next two slits. Work along the hem this way, so that the entire hem is threaded with strips, gathered, and secured with knots.
Step 9: Finish the strips as desired. Since my strips weren’t very pretty, I turned the bag inside out, pulled the ends of the strips through the holes, and tied them into bows on the inside of my bag. When I turned the bag right side out again, the holes were pretty well covered by the bows inside, and the less-than-pretty strips were hidden from view.
Step 10: Use and reuse your upcycled t-shirt bag. I tested mine out with 3 large zucchini and 3 smaller crookneck squash. The bag held up well, no squash escaped or poked a hole through the fabric, and the entire thing felt lovely on my shoulder.
Still looking for some T-shirt reuse ideas? Please visit our Trash Backwards app where we have 50+ T-shirt inspirations.
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! And if you try this style out for yourself, we’d love to hear and see how it works for you.