This post was inspired by one of the shoppers we interviewed a short while ago (the finished post is coming soon!). She explained that she made several old t-shirts and event t-shirts into a comfy and unique quilt. This interesting way to make the overlarge, sometimes uncomfortable t-shirts that are given out at events or bought simply as a keepsake on a trip into something just as special but infinitely more useable. We decided to put together a few other suggestions that do the same thing.
Like quilts, totes also show off the design of your t-shirt prominently. They are also extremely versatile. First of all, you can use them to carry just about anything. It can act as a purse or satchel, or as a bag to carry groceries, gym clothes, or baby supplies. In addition to this, the different designs and styles make t-shirt tote bags a suitable project for all age groups and skill levels.
The simplest version of this project is a no-sew tote bag. Leethal.net features an inventive way to turn the bottom seam of a t-shirt into a drawstring. You pull the drawstring closed, which closes the bottom of the t-shirt up without any stitching. Alternately, you can turn the shirt inside out and sew along the bottom. It’s best to sew back and forth several times, to ensure that the bottom of the bag will be very sturdy. This is especially true if you’re going to be using the bag to carry heavy items such as groceries or books. Finally, you can sew a box bottom onto the bag. This is probably the most difficult of the three options, but is very much worth it if you want to maximize the amount of space.
As for the rest of the bag, just cut off the sleeves and cut a wider neck-hole. This will be the top and sides of the bag (the shoulder parts act as handles). You don’t need to worry about hemming or sewing–t-shirts rarely fray.
A second way to upcycle old t-shirts is to make them into throw pillows. For this, you will want to cut the top section of the shirt off. You may also decide to cut a certain amount of the bottom of the shirt off as well, depending on how you want the design to be centred. You can make this portion of the shirt into a pillow, or you can cut down on time and complexity of the project by sewing your t-shirt into a simple pillow cover.
Finally, if you’d still like to wear your t-shirt, and the only reason you don’t is because the fit isn’t suitable, fear not. There are many ways to crop, cut, and alter a basic t-shirt into something cute and wearable. If the T is too large, and has an all-over pattern, you can turn it into a soft jersey skirt. You can do this by adding a draw string, or pleats and an elastic waistband. You can also create something more complex by cutting the sleeves and sides to make a cute body-hugging dress. There are many patterns and tutorials available online to create summery outfits out of T’s. Send us a picture of your own creation, or a link to a tutorial you’d like us to review or feature.