Turn a t-shirt into a bag

Have an old t-shirt you don’t want to throw away? No problem, today I will show you how to turn your t-shirt into a bag. These instructions are simple and I mean super simple. I have no sewing experience and no sewing machine, yet I have made several bags that can be used as a replacement to plastic bags. You will be saving the environment in two ways- reusable grocery bag and reusing a t-shirt.

1. Supplies
Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre
Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre

t-shirt- any size depending on the size bag you desire

bowl and plate
needle and thread


2. Cut out collar


Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre
Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre
 Depending on the size of your shirt, you will either use a bowl or plate. Since my shirt was a medium, I took a bowl, placed it at the collar and traced a half circle.


3. Cut off sleeves
After I traced the half circle, I cut off the sleeves. Make sure you don’t cut off the seams. Cut right after the stitching.


4. Cut off the collar
Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre
Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre
This is where what you learned in kindergarten comes to play- cut along your traced line until you no longer have a collar.


5. Turn the shirt inside out
Yikes! I forgot to take a picture of this step. But I think you get the idea, just turn the shirt inside out.


6. Insert thread into needle and create a knot at end. 
Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre
Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre
This is an embarrassing photo and I’m glad there were no video cameras. It took me quite awhile to get the thread into the needle and I also struggled with making the knot at the end.


At this point, you will take a decent length of thread, any color and insert it into the needle. Then cut the thread at your desired length and create a knot. Make sure the knot is large enough that it does not slip through the shirt.


7. Sew!
Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre
Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre
Yet another embarrassing shot. My lines are crooked because almost half way through,  I realized I was not sewing the two shirt pieces properly. I only know two types of stitches, the one above and the type where you make a cross. If you have a sewing machine or sewing experience, I’m sure you can make a different type of stitch, but this one works fine.


Take the shirt opening at the bottom, connect them and sew until you reach the end. When you reach the end, create a knot.


8. Finished product! 
Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre
Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre
Turn the shirt back from being inside out( would that be right side in?). Voila! A bag made from a t-shirt!
You can see on the bottom left corner where I made my mistake. The perfectionist in me is dying inside.


9. Finishing Touches
I’m sure the creative types could change this shirt into something more colorful. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with all  that white space.


10. How Strong
This bag is pretty strong. My other bags have never broken. I usually use these bags for boxed goods and produce, however it can hold many books and even textbooks. I tried desperately to get a shot of me holding the bag with those books inside, but I couldn’t manage by myself.


There you have it! A t-shirt turned into a bag! This is an easy do it yourself activity. You can do this with kids or just for yourself. It is kind of fun, once you get into it. Now when you go grocery shopping, you don’t need to use plastic bags! Also, now you can almost immortalize favorite t-shirts!


Let me know if you make any!



An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre