Thursday, August 16, 2012

Upcycled T-Shirt: DIY Reuseable Shopping Bags

If you're anything like me (and millions of other people around the world), you've probably accumulated an overabundance of T-shirts over the years. Said shirts are most likely taking up precious space in your dresser drawers. I'll take it a step further and guess that you have probably thought of getting rid of most or all of them but you either feel guilty or have some emotional attachment to them. Since I was a high school and a college athlete and a coach and a teacher in subsequent years, I have more T-shirts than I can count on my phalanges. Fleetingly, I thought about creating one of those super cool T-shirt quilts that are all-the-rage, but I think I have about as many blankets as I do T-shirts. Instead, I crafted reuseable shopping bags out of them!

About 10 months ago, (Yep, this 1-hour project has taken 10 months to complete.) I discovered that I couldn't squeeze even one more article of clothing in my dresser. So I sifted through my Ts and chose a bunch that I knew wouldn't wear anymore, some that didn't fit, and a few that I never wore in the first place. After that, they sat in a laundry basket in one of our spare rooms for...10 months. Fast forward to today. After blowing an inch or so of dust off the T on top, I grabbed the pile from the basket. I think I heard one of them exclaim, "I'm free!" Little did he know that life as he knew it was over. I don't know how to do the whole evil laugh thing, but if I did, I would have done it just now.

I started with a pile of 15 old T-shirts:

I randomly chose a guinea pig. Here he is:

Making no measurements at all, I cut the neck off the shirt. I'd say I cut about an inch or an inch and a half off the collar, following the original shape.

Then, I cut the arms off of the shirt, paying careful attention to remove the entire pit stain. Ladies sweat too.

Next, I turned the shirt inside out. (FYI: I turned subsequent shirts inside out before doing anything else. That way, I didn't have to line anything up a second time.) Then, I pinned the back and front of the shirt together at the bottom hem line.

Finally, using the original stitching as a guide, I sewed along the bottom of the shirt. (FYI: For some larger, longer shirts, I trimmed a couple inches off the bottom before pinning and sewing. Too-deep bags are on my hit list. For those same shirts, I also sewed up each side of the shirt to make them a bit skinnier. Again, no measurements needed.)

Voila! I was left with a reuseable shopping bag, complete with half empty boxes of pasta and a bag of almonds from my kitchen cupboards.

I followed the same steps for 14 more Ts.

Let's play a game. Do you recognize any of these T-shirts? If you do, leave me a comment and tell me which one (or ones) you recognize, if you too still have the shirt, and a memory we share that somehow involves the T. 

In about an hour, I made 15 reuseable shopping bags that are functional, eco-friendly, and washable(!) that still allow me to enjoy the memories of yore. The best part? They were...wait for!

Have you done anything creative with your old T-shirts? If not, you should try this. I can't say enough about how easy it was. The hard part will be remembering to bring them shopping with me!

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  1. I've seen these all over pinterest, but never looked into making them. Now that I see how easy they are, I'm definitely going to have to try them out. Reusable bags are the best thing that ever happened to grocery shopping. They make life so much easier!

    1. And they're the perfect project for your spending freeze! Let me know how they turn out! :)

  2. Awesome project. I remember designing that red vball shirt with you before camp that year. We were so excited that it would be "different" than all the others. On the back reads, "Summer is officially complete." Ha!

    1. You're absolutely right! Ha ha...Even though they were all pretty much the same...just a different year. Those were the days...These are the days too, though. <3


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