Old t-shirts, tops, dresses and nighties can be transformed in 5 minutes into no-sew t-shirt bag.
This is also an effective way to repurpose synthetic fabrics that you don't want to wash very often due to the micro-fibres.
For this project, I used two old items - a nightie that my daughter was incredibly attached to and devastated to have outgrown and a well worn T-shirt.
Usually, I donate clothing to an opshop ...but these were in very poor condition and the T-shirt definitely NOT re-sellable.
Let's face it, there are enough useless clothing items heading to opshops and I don't need to add to that problem.
The majority of the fabric still has a lot of life in it and I wanted to turn it into something usable. And given that our green shopping bags are beginning to fall apart a few of these will help us replace them with a more sustainable option.
If you don't have any clothing to do this with, check your local opshop discount rack and you can probably grab a few unfashionable T-shirts for next to nothing to use on this project.
This technique works on T-shirts, tank tops, dresses, nighties and probably other items I haven't thought of yet.
When using longer clothing pieces, just do a quick check to see how long the bag will end up being.
You may want to trim a piece from the bottom to make sure it isn't going to drag on the ground, more on this later.
Tank tops are my favourite to work with as when well worn, the armholes are often a perfect size for handles that you can hang off your shoulder.
I love no sew projects that actually work and this is super simple.
How to Make a No Sew T-Shirt Bag
Step 1. Find an Old T-shirt
As mentioned, this can be t-shirts, long sleeved tops, tank tops, singlets, nighties or dresses.
Here's the t-shirt I started with:
Step 2: Cut off the Sleeves
To make it symmetrical, I recommend simply cutting the sleeves off by following along the sew line already there.
For this T-shirt, I needed to take it a bit further due to all the holes!
That's another thing to love about this project, is that you can tailor it to whatever you have to work with.
The arm holes become the handles and this one fits on my shoulder perfectly.
To make this an even cut out, fold the t-shirt in half and cut both sides at the same time using fabric scissors.
Step 3: Cut the Neckline
You may not need to do this step, depending on the garment, so only cut the neckline if needed.
This is to allow your bag to open enough at the top so you get things in and out of your bag easily.
Step 4: Check Your Shape
Here's a somewhat blurry image of the parts I cut off, just to give you an idea.
(I didn't realise til later just how bad this pic was! )
Above, you can see I removed about 2 inches from the bottom of the t-shirt.
This was to create a shorter bag.
Many tops and t-shirts will not require this but I'm pretty short and I prefer my bags not to drag on the ground when I carry them in my hand.
Well worn clothing tends to become a little misshapen, so snipping off the bottom to get a straight(ish) edge to work with. It doesn't need to be perfect.
Step 5: Cut Strips at Hem
Lay your T-shirt flat, forward facing, and cut approximately 1-2 inches vertically into the t-shirt bottom like this, to create a fringe.
Step 6. Tie The Strips Together
Once you have strips, keep your item flat and begin tying a front and back strip together by using a double knot.
Tying too loose will result in gaps things could fall through, too tight and you will hear the fabric tearing, so go somewhere in between.
This is going to form the bottom of the bag. Keep going until all the strips are tied.
It should now look something like this...
Tip: if you want a neater look, tie the strips inside out and they will be hidden from the end product.
As I mentioned, this doesn't have to necessarily be created from a t-shirt.
The one I made from my daughter's nightie was much simpler as the hem already had a fringe and the sleeves were small and ruffled so it didn't require any cutting.
I just tied the bottom strips together and as they were tapered strips, this gave the bag a really cute effect at the bottom.
The finished bag only took about 2 minutes to complete and is now a pyjama bag to hold sleepwear on the back of her bedroom door.
These can be washed and dried with our usual washing and can give years of useful life before I need to figure out another way to repurpose it.
So, there is no need to throw out your favourite old t-shirts if you can't sew.
Have you ever seen those projects where they make a patchwork quilt out of old t-shirts?
I LOVE them, but I've never really had enough cool tops to do this with. Back in the day when I used to go to live concerts of my favourite bands I never had the spare cash to buy the t-shirt.
Here's a few ideas you might want to try next:
If you're looking for more simple ways to live greener head to the main page.