Recycled t-shirt summer bags

    Posted by  ·  June 7, 2012


    Hey! I’m Laura (lovingly known as Lolli on my blog, Better in Bulk),– mom of 5 kids, photographer, and blogger, among plenty of other titles that keep me busy!

    I love to create, but I do NOT love to sew, so when my two oldest girls came home with this no-sew t-shirt bag, I was intrigued. Not only are these bags easy for kids to make on their own (with some cutting help from bigger hands), but they are also a great way to recycle old t-shirts.


    no sew t-shirt purse bag tutorial

    How to make super-easy t-shirt bags:

    Supplies needed: One t-shirt (any size), a pair of good, sharp scissors, a ruler, and some ribbon (if desired).

    no sew t-shirt purse bag tutorial

    Start with an old t-shirt. I chose a shirt that had a stubborn stain on the bottom half. I didn’t want to wear it out anymore, but I still love the color and fabric.

    To start, lay your shirt flat and then set a ruler parallel to the bottom of your shirt about 5-6 inches above the bottom hem.

    If you’’d rather not have much fringe hanging down, you can make your strips shorter.

    no sew t-shirt purse bag tutorial

    Cut 1/2 inch strips up to the ruler (I used the width of my thumb as a rough guide). It’s great to be as straight and consistent as possible, but luckily, these strips are very forgiving.

    no sew t-shirt purse bag tutorial

    Now for the top of the bag. First, cut each of the sleeves off (I followed the seam line where the sleeve was sewn on to the body of the shirt).

    no sew t-shirt purse bag tutorial

    Next, cut the neck hole. I recommend cutting less rather than more. For this bag, I wanted to keep the “give hope” logo on my bag, so I cut a wide loop just to the top of the words. You really don’t need a wide space to have full access to the bag.

    no sew t-shirt purse bag tutorial no sew t-shirt purse bag tutorial

    Now you’re ready to start tying. Knot the two end strips by themselves, and then carefully match each top strip to each bottom strip, double knotting each tightly as you make your way across.

    no sew t-shirt purse bag tutorial no sew t-shirt purse bag tutorial

    The final step (totally optional) is to add a little embellishment. You can add colorful beads and/or ribbons to the strips at the bottom of your bag (some or all strips) and then knot again at the end.

    I tied ribbon to the very top of the “handles” to finish it off.

    That’s it! In just about 15 minutes, you’ve got a new bag, perfect for carrying toys or towels around all summer. We’ll be using ours for trips back and forth to the neighborhood pool!


    1. Cristina
      Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
      i make these to sell but i fringe the sleeves and cut 3 strips off the bottom and braid them for a long strap that i loop through top of sleeves and cut out neckline... there are so many ways to do this and i love them all !! i want to look up how to make the Tshirt scarves next.
    2. Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
      Cool! I want to try this for a new clothespin bag for my clothesline!
    3. Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
      Great crafting idea. Would have never thought
    4. Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
      super easy! I sat down and made one as soon as I read the directions. I have lots of "race" shirts from the local 5k races that I participate in. Thanks!
    5. Thursday, June 7th, 2012
      OH.MY.GOODNESS!! I am just wild about this simple idea. I've made a lot of t-shirt scarves, but never a bag. That's about to change! I am SO doing this! Thanks a million for sharing this brilliant idea!
    6. Thursday, June 7th, 2012
      Thanks for featuring me again this year! I always have so much fun (and sometimes I need an excuse to do a craft or two!).
    7. Thursday, June 7th, 2012
      WOW! Those sure look easy and fun to make! Let me try and find a shirt to ruin! LOL! I think I have one that will be PERFECT! ;)