Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tee-Bags, T-shirt Totes, Recycled T-shirt Shopping Bags--Whatever You Call 'Em--They're GREAT!

After a quick trip to the local thrift shop (on $2 bag day, no less!), I was stocked up on t-shirts for this project.

To begin, choose your t-shirt.  This may be the most difficult part!  My son chose this one since it was from a preschool he went to a couple of years ago.

Next, turn your t-shirt inside out.  Lay it out flat (on the floor or a table) and line up the sides and bottom (if the bottom is not straight across, sew a straight seam on the shorter side).

Sew a straight seam (I used a zigzag stitch) all the way across the bottom of the shirt (be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of all seams on this project for added stability).

To make a box-pleat bottom (that's a bottom that is flat like a brown paper bag (remember those?), open up the corner of the bottom seam and form a triangle.  See photos for detail.  Sew (and backstitch!) a seam across about about 3-4" down from the point.  The further down you sew, the larger the dimensions on the bottom of the bag will be.
First put your hand inside the corner.

Lay out the corner and smooth it flat with your hand into a triangle.

Sew across in a straight line from side to side.
Repeat for the opposite corner--be sure to make both sides the same size.

Turn the shirt right-side out again.  Smooth out wrinkles. 

Using scissors or rotary cutter (recommended if you have one), cut off the sleeves.  I cut away the factory stitching, but some people save it for extra strength. 
This would be saving the factory stitching...

This would be cutting it off...

Cut around the collar (about 1/2" around the front).

Then fold the shirt in half and cut away extra down as far as you prefer.  I cut some deeper since their graphic was not disturbed.  Some will either have to have a higher cut or lose some of their picture.

Voila!  You are done!

If you'd like, add a piece of covered (cover with clear tape or contact paper for easy wiping) cardboard for extra stability in the bottom.

The extra pieces can be used for the following:

(Yes, this is a self-protrait; no, I couldn't see my headband before I took the picture; yes, I should have adjusted it; no, I don't like this photo--at all!)

Tiny Hiny Crack Cover
(I'm going to have to patent this  before someone else does--it will be the newest craze!)

(such strange things thrill them)

Here's everything you'll cut away: both sleeves, the collar, and a bit more under the collar

Two New Orleans-themed Tee-Bags

The "box pleat" or "gusset" bottom


Delana said...

Great, I love it!

Megan said...

I'm seriously going to do this just as soon as I catch up on my scrapbooking, scan all my kids' artwork, finish decorating my new house and going through all of my digital photo files. lol! ;) J/K I think we may try it this week, but I have to invest in some new shears first. I'm not sure that I can figure out the square bottom, though...

Amy said...

The bottom is can do it! I would recommend a rotary cutter--so much easier than scissors (and doesn't leave those "cut marks" that I leave with scissors.