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Craft Categories

Make A Tote Bag From A Tee Shirt

Image of Make A Tote Bag From A Tee Shirt

You can Make A Tote Bag From A Tee Shirt, but this project is probably beyond the skills of a beginning sewer. Those kids and teens with more sewing experience that are looking for something challenging  to make for Dad on Father’s Day  will find this the perfect project for the  sports Dad. It will work for football, baseball, hockey or any of Dad’s favorite activities. Although I wouldn’t suggest cutting up Dad’s “lucky” tee. Actually it works with any signature type tee shirt  so go for it.

Supplies

Old sweatshirt
Lining fabric
Licensed fabric (optional)
Webbing
foam interfacing

Instructions

Cut the Sweatshirt First, cut off the waistband so that you can smooth out the fabric.

You now have straightened out the front and back sides of the sweatshirt. Draw a horizontal line just below the neckline ribbing.

Determine the center point of the motif and mark. Mark the spot 10.5″ to the right and left of the center point so that you have a line 21″ across, centered on the motif.

Draw lines on either side and across the bottom to create a 21″ W x 18.5″ H rectangle. You may need to modify these dimensions based on your motif and sweatshirt size.

Cut Lining If you have enough fabric, fold your lining fabric along the bottom and cut to a size of 21″ W x 18″ H (you don’t need a seam allowance due to the fold.) Or, you can be lazy and lay your cut sweatshirt on your fabric so that it extends 1/2″ below the fold and cut out the fabric.

Sew Outer Bag With right sides facing, pin and sew the lower edge of the bag together. Press seam allowance open.

Lay out the stabilizer foam and place the wrong side of the sweatshirt against it. Trim the foam to the same size as the sweatshirt.

A few notes on the foam stabilizer:
If you are using the Pellon, it only is 20″ wide, so you will have to make a slightly smaller bag.

There is a fusible foam available online. You can use a fusible web, also.

In this case, I did not use any fusible. I simply sewed it in. The foam compresses easily so that it is not difficult to sew. The seams can get a bit bulky. So if you want to minimize those, you would want to choose a fusible.

You could baste the sweatshirt to the foam, but I didn’t bother to do that. I simply folded the sweatshirt with the foam behind it, so that they were right sides together and pinned both sides, leaving the top open.

Sew the two sides seams. To create a boxed bottom, place the bag on my ironing board with the seam facing up.

Grab the end so that the seam is centered in your hands. Measure 6″ across this triangle and mark. Stitch across this line and repeat on the other side.  I typically trim the excess off, but you can leave it if you feel it gives your bag more stability.

Turn the bag inside out. You can baste along the top edge if desired.

Sew Pocket Cut two pieces of fabric 6.5″ x 12″ (or any size you wish.) You can interface the fabric for strength, if desired.

With right sides facing, sew around the edges of the rectangle and leave a 4″ – 5″ opening along the bottom.  Turn inside out and press.

Place the pocket 5″ below the opening and centered, horizontally, on the lining fabric. Pin and stitch, closing the bottom opening. Add an additional line of stitching on the pocket to create compartments of various sizes

Sew Lining Repeat the steps for sewing the outer bag using the lining. However, on one of the side seams, leave a 6″ opening in the seam for turning the bag inside out.

Sew the outer bag to the lining. Place the outer bag inside the lining, right sides facing. Pin the lining to the bag around the top. (Wonder clips work really well and I used them later!)

Turn inside out using the open side seam.  Stitch the opening closed. Push the lining inside and press around the top edge.

Pin or clip the top edge and top stitch.

Add Straps Cut two straps, each 28″ long. (If you don’t have webbing, use the extra sweatshirt fabric from the sleeves.)

Cut two 1.5″ squares out of extra sweatshirt fabric. Place the webbing 5″ from the side seams and cover with one of the squares. I put the fuzzy side facing out for some interest.  Stitch around the square and in an “X” shape to secure the webbing beneath.

Other Images

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Contributor

Image of CraftyPod.com
CraftyPod.com

Diane Gilleland has made things her whole life, and would gladly give up most household chores for an afternoon of serious crafting. She has a bi-weekly Pod Cast that is all about Making Stuff.

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