A Shopping Bag from a T-Shirt

I live in Oregon, a state that recently introduced a ban on single-use plastic bags at check-out.

Of course, you can still purchase a paper bag, but be prepared to pay for each paper bag you need.

But you know what’s still free?

Take your own reusable bags with you!

“But I don’t want to buy reusable bags,” you will say. “They’re expensive, they’re torn, and you can’t even wash them!”

While this is definitely true for inexpensive non-woven bags that can often be bought for a dollar or two, these T-shirt bags are completely different.

Firstly, they are much nicer.

Sewn from durable fabric, T-shirt bags like the one I’m going to teach you how to make will last a long time. And they can be washed!

Grocery bags can get pretty rough after a while, but you can just throw them in the wash along with your regular clothes so that they become beautiful and clean.

Secondly, these bags help to reduce the amount of waste.

Did you know that the United States sends more than 21 million pounds of textile waste to landfills every year! (source)

Old T-shirts make up a significant part of this waste! Resist using your old T-shirts and giving them a new purpose once you’re done wearing them.

You can’t make a shopping bag out of a T-shirt

Using something that already exists (a T-shirt) to meet your needs (a shopping bag), instead of creating new material from raw resources for this purpose, you:

helps to maintain the stability of purchases
reduce our natural resource needs
do not dispose of clothing waste in a landfill

Remember the three letters “R”:
1) Reduce
2) Reuse
3) Recycle

This project reduces the amount of raw materials that we need to use, and at the same time reuses something.

When your bag wears out, you can even take it to a fiber recycling plant for recycling!

Instructions for using a shopping bag with a T-shirt without a seam:

HOW TO MAKE A SHOPPING BAG FROM A T-SHIRT STEP 1:

Fold the shirt in half over the cutting mat. For best results, fold the shirt back.

Put a straight edge or a quilting ruler at an angle (as shown in the picture) and use a rotary knife to cut off the sleeves.

No cutting mat? No rotating cutter? It’s all right!

Just use scissors and do your best to cut a straight line from the armpit on the shirt to the shoulder seam.

HOW TO MAKE A SHOPPING BAG FROM A T-SHIRT STEP 2:

Lay a straight edge at an angle in the opposite direction to cut off the neckline.

This neckline does not have to be as deep as the sleeve neckline, but it should completely cover the neckline.

Make sure there is at least 2 inches of shoulder seam left at the top.

When you unbutton your T-shirt after this step, it will look like a V-neck T-shirt, like this.

(sorry to change shirts for you like this in the middle! I didn’t take a picture from this angle when I was making a bag with a sapphire shirt, but I thought it was an important picture to include!)

HOW TO MAKE A SHOPPING BAG FROM A T-SHIRT STEP 3:

Use scissors to make a hole in the bottom hem of the T-shirt.

Fasten the safety pin at the end of about 18-inch thread.

Thread a safety pin through the hole you made in the hem.

The safety pin makes it easy to feel the end of the yarn when you thread it through the entire hem of the T-shirt.

Continue until the safety pin pops out of the same hole you entered.

Fold the entire fabric together along the thread.

HOW TO MAKE A SHOPPING BAG FROM A T-SHIRT STEP 4:

Tighten the yarn tightly, pressing the fabric as tightly as possible to each other, and tie it with a square knot.

Trim the ends and, if desired, tuck them back into the hem.

At this point you will notice that there is a hole in the bottom of your bag.

If you don’t like sewing, you can stop here.

This hole is not large enough for most products to fall through, so it is still perfect for shopping in grocery stores.

HOW TO MAKE A SHOPPING BAG FROM A T-SHIRT OPTIONAL STEP 5:

If you want to close the hole and you are not afraid of simple hand sewing (practice makes it perfect!), then cut out a rough circle from one of the sleeves, large enough to close the hole.

Use a needle and thread to attach the circle to the inside of the bag with a simple stitch, such as a running stitch (shown in the picture) or a whip stitch.

Make yourself some more (because I always need more than one bag when I go shopping!).

Put all your bags together in one of them and hang them on the door handle so you don’t forget them the next time you go shopping!

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