T-Shirt Into Tote

This is something I learnt while hanging out in Pinterest (which is highly addictive). I only dare to go into Pinterest on the iPad after dinner and even so, I end up getting goggle-eyed and inspired by all the interesting stuff.
This is what I learnt last week and since I had an old t-shirt I didn’t like wearing (got this t-shirt free when I joined the Charis Treasure Hunt a few months ago).
You know, some t-shirts are just too awful to wear – the cutting is ridiculous, the collar’s too tight and the overall look is plain silly.
And I don’t like using t-shirts as rags or rugs either.
Here’s an idea I tried out and it worked. Although it’s much faster if you have a sewing machine, it’s ok to hand sew it too (like I did). It took some time – maybe 20 minutes or so – but I was darning a few other things (Nic’s pants with a button missing) so it wasn’t so bad. When I batch process stuff – meaning I do ironing in one entire batch, or folding a big bunch of just dried clothing, or patching up a couple of items – it’s a lot less tedious. I don’t feel so aggravated.
Also I thought a t-shirt transformed into a tote or shopping bag is a great idea for a few reasons: the cotton bag can be tossed into the washing machine if it gets dirty (unlike those non-woven bags you get these days) and it’s foldable (you can carry a few easily) and it gives you a way to upcycle your old cotton t-shirts without guilt.
And cotton is much better for us and the environment.
We always get cotton t-shirts right? When you participate in a jogathon, marathon or any sporting event, you end up with oversized t-shirts which some people use as night wear. I don’t because I love wearing nighties to bed, not huge t-shirts.
OK, onto the instructions.
First, you lay the t-shirt flat on the floor. Smooth it out nicely.

Recycle your t-shirt and make into a shopping bag
Lay t-shirt flat, prepare to cut off sleeves

Take a sharp pair of scissors and cut off both the sleeves. Leave the joint seams intact because this gives your tote added strength. Next snip off the collar. You can be precise and lay a plate to get a nice round shape but I was lazy and just snipped it off in one go.
Cut off sleeves and collar off t-shirt
Cut off sleeves and collar

Then pin up the bottom of the t-shirt and sew away. It’s faster if you have a sewing machine. I did it by hand and it still looked OK. After that just turn the t-shirt inside out and what do you know, you’ve made yourself a cotton tote for shopping! I don’t like advertising brands so this below is how the finished tote looks like. If you like the brand on the front of the t-shirt, then you can turn the t-shirt inside out and sew up the bottom part. It’s all up to you.
Sew bottom of t-shirt
Sew bottom of t-shirt and turn it inside out

If you’re really the neat sort, you can even sew up the sleeve part neatly but I wasn’t too bothered. It’s a rough and tumble sort of recycled bag, right?
It’s the kind of weekend project that takes all of 30 minutes to do.
Happy crafting!

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