Designer: Kimberley Hansler
Here’s a way to be thrifty and stylish while showing off one of your coolest T-shirts. Upcycle a portion of your favorite tee for the front panel of this tote, then use some of your least fave tees for the interior and straps.
- Two T-shirts (one with a logo for outside, one for lining)
- One large button
- Rotary cutter and acrylic ruler (optional)
- Straight pins
- Sewing machine and contrasting thread
Note: Measurements include 3⁄8″ seam allowances unless otherwise stated.
Assemble the Bag:
1. Cut off bottom hemmed edges of each T-shirt using scissors or rotary cutter; discard strips.
2. Cut two 3″-wide strips from bottom of each tee. Open strips to reveal four loops. Cut each loop crosswise to make four long strips that will be used for gusset/strap.
3. Lay tracing paper over logo of T-shirt for outside of bag. Draw a rectangular pattern around perimeter of logo with marking pen and ruler. Cut out pattern. Fold pattern in half, matching corners. Use pen to round one bottom corner of pattern. Cut out rounded corner through both layers and unfold pattern.
4. Pin pattern to right side of T-shirt, centering logo inside pattern as desired. Cut around pattern through shirt front and shirt back to make bag front and bag back. Repeat with lining T-shirt to make lining front and lining back.
5. Cut one sleeve from T-shirt for interior pocket. Trim to 4×4-1⁄2″, with sleeve hem on 4″ side (Diagram 1) and fold on one 4-1⁄2″ side. Open flat to measure 4-1⁄2×8″ with hemmed sleeve edge at top.
6. Position pocket 2″ below top edge of lining back (Diagram 2). Topstitch sides and bottom, leaving top edge open. Topstitch through center of pocket to make two compartments. Reinforce all beginning and ending stitches.
7. Cut one 2×4-1⁄2″ rectangle from scraps of each T-shirt for closure.
8. Topstitch closure pieces together with wrong sides together. Layer back and back lining pieces with wrong sides together. Referring to Diagram 2, sandwich closure strip between back and back lining so 4″ of strip extend outside top of bag back. Topstitch back and back lining together along top edge, catching closure in stitching. Topstitch front and front lining together.
9. Starting 1″ from closure end, cut a buttonhole slightly smaller than button. Hand-stitch a button 1-1⁄2″ below center top of bag front.
10. Sew two outside gusset/strap strips together to make one long strip. Repeat with two inside gusset/strap strips. Press seams open.
11. Pin outside gusset/strap strip and inside gusset/strap strip together with wrong sides together. Fold strip in half crosswise to find center.
12. Beginning at bottom of bag, pin center of gusset/strap to outside front of bag. Align top of bag back with bag front and pin gusset/strap to bag back.
13. Starting at top corner of bag front, sew through all pieces (bag front, bag front lining, bag back lining, and gusset/strap. All stitching will be on outside of bag so seam will be exposed.
14. To curl edges of bag, wash and dry completed bag. Tie strap ends into a square knot to desired length.