Re-purposed T-shirt to Handbag: 2 Different Tutorials Sewing & No-sew

Re-purposed T-shirt to Handbag Thrifty Thinking

DIY Time.

It’s DIY Time. again, where every week I try to post something you can do yourself rather than buy, which is a money saver, and can be VERY REWARDING.  Some of these posts are crafts, sewing projects, homemade cleaners, homemade health aids, tutorials, and the like.

I always love discovering ways to reuse and re-purpose old clothes and items that might normally be thrown into a big garbage heap.  My friend Teresa handed me down this great sunny yellow shirt, which was was nice and brightened up my wardrobe.  I wore it for a year, but the armpits were a little too tight.  So when I was looking for a t-shirt to re-purpose, it was perfect!

I have found a few different ways to make a bag from a t-shirt.  I am giving you two tutorials, one is a sewing tutorial, and the other one involves no sewing at all!  I was inspired by first by a tutorial here at Saving for 6, that shows two different ways to sew them.  Then I got an e-mail from the Gap (with no web-site tutorial link) that showed how to make a no-sew bag.  I find it ironic that they were advertising NEW shirts that you can buy and make specifically for this project.  ‘Why not use an old t-shirt you already have?’, I thought.

By the way large or extra large t-shirts will work the best, since they will give you the most room, and you can make the best long handles out of them.  I have also used a dress with a hole in the bottom of it that Ellie loved and wore ALL OF THE TIME.  So it’s nice that she can still use it even though it had a hole in it, and she has outgrown it.  I have also made a bag out of a tank top, only cutting the bottom portion, since the original neckline worked well for the straps.

These bags are great for re-useable grocery bags or for toting toys and books.  You can use it as a purse.  The uses are endless.

Re-purposed t-shirt to bag Tutorial #1:

Pick out your t-shirt to re-purpose.

Cut off the sleeves in a rounded way. These will become your handles. If needed, use a plate or use a marking pencil to make your desired shape. Cut out the neckline. You can trace a plate to make it a perfectly round half circle.

Turn the shirt wrong side out.

Draw in rounded corners at the bottom if you want rounded corners. I think the rounded corners work the best. The rounded corners make it look most like a real handbag. This is ugly free handing, but you can make yours really nice.

If you are rounding the bottom corners, cut it now. Sew the bottom all the way across using a 1/4'' seam. Sew across again to reinforce the bottom. To make the bottom of the bag even stronger, use a zig zag stitch (or a serger if you have access) and sew across the bottom again.

Flip your bag right side out, and you are done!

Re-purposed Shirt to No-Sew Bag Re-purposed t-shirt to bag Tutorial #2-No-Sew:

Pick out your t-shirt. This was a shirt that didn't fit my girls well at all, but is so pretty.

Cut off the sleeves in a nice rounded fashion.

Draw the scoop of your neckline. The deeper it is, the easier it is to access your articles in your bag.

Cut out the neckline. You will be cutting the bottom of the shirt through both the front and back layers. For this girl's shirt I made the cuts about 2'' up, and about 1/2'' wide. You can draw them in or cut them in freehand. I opted for free handing. For an adult shirt, you may want to make the fringe 1'' wide instead of smaller.

Take the fringe, and knot it, and then double knot each one.

In the Gap e-mail they don't talk about double knotting the fringe, but the bottom of the bag didn't stay secure and developed several "holes" with normal use, so I highly recommend double knotting your fringe.

Here is the finished product on the inside bottom where the fringe is.

Here's the final product!

Need another idea about what to do with a t-shirt:

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Have you read…?

Reusuable Cloth Baby Wipes & Wash Cloths
Shared @ One Project at a Time, Tiny Tip Tuesday, Simply Sensational Tuesday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Homesteader Blog Carnival, Better Mom Mondays, Welcome Home Link Up, Meet Me MondayMop It Up Monday, A Round TuitThink Pink Sunday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, Sunday Slice, Sundae Scoop, Sew Darn Crafty, Heavenly Treats Sunday, Say G’day Saturday, Strut Your Stuff, Seasonal Inspirations, Smart Solutions, Homesteading Link Up, Friday Free For All, Weekend Whatever, Farm Girl FridayFrugal Friday, Chic & Crafty, Hearts 4 Home Thurs., The 36th Ave. Party, Thrifty Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Tutorials, Tips, & Tidbits, Wow Me Wednesday, We Did It! Wed., Penny Pinching Party, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.


  1. says

    Thanks so much for sharing at Heavenly Treats Sunday! Love this we have a couple of recycled tshirt bags that the high school did and donated to the library!

  2. says

    VERY COOL! I love the no- sew version – how clever!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit! Hope you have a fabulous week!

  3. says

    What a cute idea. I love that you also give a no sew option. Thanks for sharing. Donna

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