T-shirt Stylings: Tee Tote Bag

tee tote bagphoto courtesy Martha website

In my quest to purge bit by bit, I am also concerned with recycling and mementos. I am a memento collector. I have cut down considerably from my wild and crazy, collect-every-movie-ticket days, but there is still a lot that can be purged.  One idea from the Martha Stewart website caught my eye: A tote bag made from an old t-shirt. I started to freak out and promptly scour my closets for what would make the best tote and decided to try it out!

Materials needed:

-T-shirt you don’t mind giving up. Make sure it’s the right size for your needs; you don’t want a teeny tiny tote if it’s for groceries. But you just might for library trips.


– Medium-sized bowl. For measuring the hole in the top.

– Sewing machine. You could try sewing it by hand, but *sigh* there’s only so much I can take before laziness sets in.

-Pins (optional, but recommended if you like the bottom of your bags to be straight)


1. Flip tee inside out. Always a most important first step. You don’t want the bottom of your awesome vintage “Air Supply” tee tote to look like Frankenstein’s neck. Pin the bottom along the hem and lay flat to make sure the seams line up. You could be a renegade and nix this step. but once again, your amazing tote will be shadowed by the uneven and balance-challenged bottom of the bag.

2. Sew the bottom of that sucker closed. Thankfully it shouldn’t take very long (we’re not making dresses out of curtains, people), but I will go back over it, one more time, for strength.

3. Using that bowl, cut a half-moon shape at the neckline of the tee. You want to make sure the marker bleeds through to the other side, but it needs to wash out, so use a water-washable marker. Cut on that newly-drawn line. Note: If you feel OCD about the unhemmed opening, by all means, bring the sewing machine back out! But the trick is to make this as easy as possible so you will want to do it.

4. Line up hems on the arms and cut just outside of that, so the hems are still intact on your tote. Makes the handles a bit stronger.

5. Fill with groceries, library books, pets.

6. Repeat often!

7. Pat yourself on the back (but don’t be too smug about it) for doing yet a another thing to help reduce waste.

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