a peek inside the fishbowl

02 Jul, 2015

Is it Pinworthy? Making tote bags out of old t-shirts

Posted by andrea tomkins in: File under crafty|Pinteresting challenges

I am taking a closer look at some of the ideas I’ve bookmarked via Pinterest and actually DO something with them instead of just admiring them. This is the third in the series so far. You can read the others right here.

This was a little project I pinned awhile back. Mostly because (a) even though there are times when there’s a regular tsunami of reusable bags lying around the house, I can never actually find one when I need one and (b) it seemed to be a pretty cool summer project that actually has A Useful Purpose and (c) it’s all about no-sew craftiness, which I totally dig because I can’t sew.

I had a lucky day at Value Village, and among the many things I found was four or five men’s t-shirts for this project. They were only a couple bucks each. Note that there are only two pictured below! Certain individuals and the t-shirts were deemed too good to cut up and had to be worn. That’s fine by me.

Here’s what we started with:

T-shirts before they're cut up

Here we are cutting the fringe after we turned the t-shirts inside out. The fringes are tied together to create the bottom of the bag. (This is the no-sew part.) I struggled a bit with this, but luckily my eldest came to the rescue and figured out how to tie them so there aren’t any holes in the bottom of the bag.

Cutting the bottom

This is what the bottom of the bag looks like when all the fringes are tied together:

This is what the bottom looks like

And here’s the finished project!

Finished t-shirt bag #2

Finished t-shirt bag #1

Read the post by the original author for the full tutorial.

Not bad! And it really only took about 10 minutes.

These would make a great beach or swim/gym bag. I have yet to wash them, but you can probably throw them in the laundry with the towels afterwards. They are quite roomy and the handles are easy on the hands, which, strangely enough, is a common issue for me as I don’t like rough and picky straps.

My tips to you:

  • Don’t use t-shirts that are too big, otherwise your bag ends up too big.
  • Cut the fringe at the bottom long enough so it’s easy to tie together. I think you need about 4″.
  • I would only pack light groceries in these bags if/when I use them for grocery shopping. That being said, I think they’d totally work for the farmer’s market!
  • Next time I would let my teens choose their own t-shirts for this project. It’s a nice way for them to express their own DIY style!

So is this project pinworthy? I say yes!

Follow me on Pinterest right here, for many other “pinworthy” ideas I haven’t done anything with yet. Sigh.


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  • SJM: My father sent epic care packages when I was at Uni - one per term. It included a 6 pack of beer and lots of food. This was when postage was much chea
  • andrea tomkins: I KNOW. It's crazy that we are now the parents of an adult. I can hardly believe it myself most days! :)
  • Allison: What!!??!! How is your daughter in university?!! That just cannot be!!! So glad to hear she is adjusting well and having fun and enjoying her classes
  • andrea tomkins: Great ideas Joy! Especially the POST-its! They're actually an expensive purchase for a student, so they'd make a nice addition to a care package.
  • joy: cute and fun - I would love to receive things like this! How about notebooks, magazines, post-it notes, seasonal treats, lip balms, gift cards for fav
  • andrea tomkins: Ooh! Good one Alison! A good (long!) phone charge cord could be welcome as well.
  • Alison in Ottawa: Another pair of ear phones. My daughter can never keep track of them.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!

 


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