DIY · Uncategorized

Make your T-shirts carry your books

We all have a stack of T-shirts that don’t get worn somewhere in our homes. There are all kinds of reasons behind this stack, maybe you aren’t the T-shirt wearing type but you earned all of them running, maybe they don’t fit and for whatever sentimental reason you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of them. I intend to show you a quick and easy way you can make these T-shirts work for their keep instead of just sitting piled on your closet shelf.

My boys and I try to make it to the library once a week and on our most recent trip I realized that we had out grown our small tote bag that we used for books. I thought of an idea I had seen on Pinterest and my stack of T-shirts in my closet. Sometimes DIY is less about home decor and more about filling a need.


This is a T-shirt my niece made for me a few years ago. It fits but it hangs weird so it has been in my doesn’t get worn pile on my closet shelf. I certainly wasn’t going to donate an awesome Tie Dye shirt that was made for me!!

Step one is to fold the shirt in half making sure the sleeves match up perfectly. This way your cut is the same on both sides. Once lined up just cut the sleeves off on the shirt side of the seam.


Next you want to cut off the collar, try to get your cut lined up to be the same length and size as your cut on the sleeve side, but do not worry if it isn’t perfect.


My cut obviously went all kinds of off. I honestly have no idea what I was paying attention to, but apparently it was not my cutting. The great part about this is you can adjust your newly made handles as much as you want or need! So long as you make sure you keep the handles at least an inch or so wide you will be fine. T-shirt material doesn’t fray so no sewing required on the handles!

Once you have the handles trimmed up to how you want them turn the shirt inside out and line up the bottom seam. This is where you are going to close up the bottom of your tote bag. You have two options here you can cut 1/2″-1″ strips and knot them together to make a full no sew tote bag or you can sew the bottom closed. How you close your bottom is entirely up to you. The knotted bottoms hold up really well, but there may be small gaps between the knots.

I went ahead and went with the sew it closed option. Fun fact about me, I spend a half hour to forty-five minutes every day sitting in my car waiting for my oldest son to get out of school. Boredom was my main motivation to sew it closed and I easily knocked out the stitching in the time I was sitting there. You just have to ignore all the weird looks you get when sewing in public.


I lined up the original hems and stitched within them. As you can see it doesn’t have to be pretty and honestly it is better if it isn’t pretty. When you are sewing with a machine and you want the item to maintain the ability to stretch but still be a strong seam you use a zig zag stitch. When sewing by hand you can still do the same thing it just doesn’t look very pretty nor will it be as perfectly zig zagged. It will still do the job and nobody will see it anyways.


Once you are done closing up the bottom turn it right side out and TADA!! you have officially made your very own custom tote bag!! You can use these to haul your shopping (5% discount at Target anybody?), books, pool items, the list is endless!!  I have made a few of these before and they hold up for as long as they are taken care of. If they get a hole you can stitch it closed. If they get dirty you can just throw them in the washer! It is just a T-shirt after all!!

How many T-shirts are in your closet pile? The oldest’s Cub Scout Pack is participating in Operation Christmas Child. I think I will make some of these out of the boys old T-shirts to go in the presents.

Also, if you are wondering why my finished tote bag is hanging from bent forks you should read all about my Cabinet Door Makeover!

If you make your own T-shirt tote bag share it with the Facebook page!

Have a great day Stumpers!






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