Friday, February 4, 2011

Tutorial: T-Shirt Bag w/Braided Strap

Even though most of the projects we work on in the meetings are heavily based on outside sources, I'm proud to say that I have constructed a new project I can call my very own. Scroll down to find out how to make this bag:

-1 XL t-shirt (also depends on how big you want your bag to be, but I must warn you that fitted t-shirts will require some adjustments)
-sewing machine (you can also hand sew, too)
-thread that matches your t-shirt color
-fabric scissors
-tailor's chalk
-flat surface and lots of room

1) Turn your shirt inside out, lay it on a flat surface, and gather pins and a pair of fabric scissors

2) Cut off the sleeves and around the collar (cut collar about 2 1/2 in. from sleeves and 1 1/2 in. below collar). Then, measure 6 in. from the bottom of the shirt. Using a straight-edge and tailor's chalk, draw a line and cut. Leave your scraps to the side; you will use them later.
Optional Step: Pin a few cm. lower than where you want to cut. This will keep the fabric from moving while you cut (it can be a pain to cut fabric when it keeps moving

3) You are going to sew up the sleeves next, but don't sew about 1/2 in. or 1 in. at the top of the sleeve. If you are using a sewing machine, pin about 1/2 in. away from the edge of the sleeve.

4) Next, fold the bottom of the shirt about 1 in. Sew over fold twice. I did a straight stitch first and then a zig-zap stitch for the second time around

5) Mark the bottom corners on both sides like this:
Sew a straight stitch along the line. Cut off the corners along the sewed line. This will give your bag a less square appearance

6) Turn the shirt inside out. It should look something like this:

6) Take the scraps that you set aside earlier. Take the piece you cut off from the bottom of the shirt (should look like a wide tube) and snip off were the sides have been sewn together. You should now have one long piece of fabric

7) Cut the fabric into three even strips of fabric.

8) Tie a knot leaving about 3 in. at the end for fringe. Braid the strips of fabric until you get to the last 4 in. of fabric. Tie a knot. I like to attach the knot between my toes when I braid.

9) Using the fabric from the sleeves you laid aside, cut off the hems. After that, snip the hems in half so you have a thin strip of fabric

10) Take your braid and string it through the hole you left at the top of the sleeve. Make sure the knot is on the outside of the bag. Do the same to the other side

11) Using the hem from your sleeve, wrap it around the top of the knot of your braid to your bag. Do this until you are sure it is pretty secure. Next, double knot the strand. (make sure you end up wrapping the fabric until you can double knot it facing the inside of your bag). Do the same to the other side of the bag

Voila! You're finished!

Here's how the bag looks like hung up

Another bag I made

A smaller version of the bag (I made it with a medium-sized t-shirt)

So next time you find yourself overwhelmed by a pile of unused t-shirts-fear no more! This project is a great way to recycle old clothes. You can use these bags for laundry, sleepovers, or even groceries (line your bag with a stronger fabric or an extra tee if you plan on placing heavy items in it).

Feel free to leave comments or e-mail me if you have any problems or questions! Also, I'd love to see your finished projects so be sure to send me a pic of your final product.

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