Friday, March 20, 2015

How to Make a No-Sew Reusable Shopping Bag from a T-Shirt

This no sew upcycled t-shirt reuseable grocery bag is easy to make and functional

Has Marie Kondo inspired you to toss all the T-shirts in your closet that weren't bringing you joy?

Let's be honest: If you send your old T-shirts to the local thrift store, it's likely that nobody will buy them. This means they will end up in the landfill and that's something we definitely don't want!

The United States sends more than 21 MILLION POUNDS of textile waste to landfills each year! (source)

Old T-shirts make up a significant amount of that waste! Fight back by using your old T-shirts and giving them a new purpose once you are done wearing them.

I Have Lots Of Great T-Shirt Recycling Projects!

Have a lot of shirts to use up? I've got projects to help! Check out these fun ways to upcycle T-shirts into something more useful!

How to Make a Reusable Shopping Bag from a T-shirt
an easy no-sew project for recycling old shirts you aren't wearing anymore

I designed this no-sew shopping bag tutorial in 2015 and since then tens of thousands of people have read the tutorial and made their own bags!

This bag is EASY to make and dozens of kids have made bags following these directions.

The way I show you how to make this shopping bag requires no sewing so it's perfect for making with older kids in school or with your scout troop or if you just hate sewing!

There IS a small upgrade you can make with a needle and thread if you want - but it is totally optional!

Supplies Needed to Make a Shopping Bag

  • Old T-shirt (note:bottom hem must be intact)
  • Rotary Cutter or sharp scissors
  • Cutting mat to protect your work surface
  • Quilting ruler or straight edge (optional but useful!)
  • Large safety pin
  • Yarn (optional)
  • Needle and thread (also optional)
Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 


How to Make a DIY Shopping Bag Step 1: Cut off the sleeves

Fold your shirt in half on top of your cutting mat. For the best results, fold your shirt toward the BACK.

Lay your straight edge or quilting ruler at an angle (as shown) in order to cut off the sleeves.
 Lay your straight edge or quilting ruler at an angle in order to cut off the sleeves.

This easy no sew project is great to do with the kids

How to Make a DIY Shopping Bag Step 2: Cut off the neckline
Lay the ruler angled in the opposite direction to cut off the neckline. This cut does not need to be as deep as the sleeve cut but should remove the entire neckline.
This easy DIY shopping bag is a great way to reuse old tshirts

Once you open up your shirt, it will look like a tank top with a v-neck:
Eco friendly recycled upcycled no-sew grocery bag and tote.

(don't want to fuss with this part? If you prefer to use yarn instead of the collar, skip to step 2)

Use your scissors to neatly trim the neckline away from the fabric around it.
This fun and easy t-shirt bag is a great craft for kids

The neckline should have a single seam. Snip the threads holding the seam so that the neckline is now one long strip.
This DIY shopping bag is a great way to keep clothing out of the landfill

How to Make a DIY Shopping Bag Step 3: Close the bottom of the bag

Locate one of the side seams inside the bottom hem of the shirt. Snip the threads to make an opening in the hem.
This no-sew bag is a great eco-friendly craft to do with your kids.

Clip the safety pin onto the end of the neckline strip or yarn.
Homemade green bags for groceries or to use for whatever you want

Thread the safety pin into the hole you made in the hem.
Great Earth Day craft to do with your kids

Use the safety pin to thread the neckline strip all the way through the lower hem of the shirt, scrunching the shirt along the neckline as you go.
Homemade easy no-sew reuseable grocery bag

When you get back to the hole you started at, pop the safety pin out through the hole and pull the rest of the neckline strip (or yarn) through.
Great way to recycle your used t-shirts

This no-sew reuseable bag would make for a great Earth Day project

Pull on the neckline and scrunch the shirt together as tight as you can before tying the two ends in a knot. 
Recycle your old tshirts with this easy craft

There may be a small hole in the center where you scrunched the fabric together. As you can see in the photo above, the hole in the bottom of mine is large enough for my index finger. 

At this point you have two options:

Option 1:

Be aware of this when using your bag - only use it to carry items larger in diameter than the hole!

This makes your bag great for things like cans and boxes that cannot fit through the hole.

Option 2:

Cut out a circle of material from one of the sleeves. Lay it over the hole and use a needle and thread to stitch it into place.

Finished nosew reuseable shopping bag is a perfect quick craft for you and your kids

If you love this easy DIY shopping bag tutorial, be sure to pin it to save it for later!

About the Author:

Carissa Bonham is a lifelong crafter and mom of two creative boys. The owner and lead writer at Creative Green Living, she won the Craftys Award for the "Best Craft Blogger" category in 2016 and the ShiftCon award for "Best DIY Blogger" in 2018.

Her goal is to empower families to make easy projects and healthier choices that are beautiful and delicious! She is also the author of the hardcover cookbook, Beautiful Smoothie Bowls (Skyhorse, 2017) and Proven Techniques for Keeping Healthy Chickens (Skyhorse, 2018). 

Her projects have been featured in magazines like Kids Crafts 1-2-3, Capper's Farmer and Urban Farm Magazine. Follow her on PinterestInstagramTwitter or join the Creative Green Living Tribe.
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