Upcycled T-Shirt Tote

Turn a T-Shirt into a tote bag! This is a great project for sewers who've never worked with knit fabric.


  • T-Shirt
  • Sewing Machine with Walking Foot
  • Thread
  • Scissors or Rotary Cutter + Mat

***Make sure not to "stretch" the shirt out as you sew. Stretching will result in a wavy hem.***

Lay out your shirt:

Cut like so:

Turn inside out.

Sew bottom edge closed with stitch length of 3.0. Remember to backstitch at beginning and end.

Fold over the collar 1/3 inch or so. Since knits don't fray, you only need to fold over once.

Sew around the collar opening with a zigzag stitch. Make sure you are sewing around, not sewing the neck closed :-). I used a stitch length of 3.0 and a zigzag size of 3.0.

See the shoulder seams? This is the  thickest and trickiest part. You may need to manually stitch through the seams. I used a straight stitch with a length of 3.0 to get through the seams.

Decide if you'd like to stitch around the arm hole. Since T-shirts tend to "curl" when they're cut, I opted to stitch the other side of the shoulder seam but leave the rest of the arm hole unfinished.

Some T-shirts have seams down the side. If you're using a shirt with seams down the side, flatten the side and sew over the very top of the seam so that the bag doesn't unravel.

The handles and opening of your bag should look something like this:

Time to go grocery shopping! Or book shopping.

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