DIY Tote Bag from Outdated Shirt (Step-by-Step Tutorial)

by nurseryblog
DIY Tote Bag from Old Shirt (Step-by-Step Tutorial)

A enjoyable and highly effective DIY tote bag from an previous shirt anybody could make. An important upcycling material venture for stitching fanatics.

diy tote

If you’re something like me—and the 1000’s of like-minded folks on the market—you undoubtedly have at the very least a few previous tees and shirts behind your closets. Both you haven’t worn them shortly, otherwise you’ve been which means to donate them however simply haven’t gotten round to it.

tote bag with accesories

Nicely, regardless of the motive, fret not; I’ve an incredible DIY venture for you! You’re going to be making a wonderful tote bag from a type of previous shirts!

Don’t inform me you don’t want one other tote—everybody does. They’re excellent for carrying groceries, books, towels on a seashore journey…you get the purpose.

diy tote bag
Watch on Youtube: DIY Tote Bag

Provides and Instruments You’ll Want

For those who’re prepared to start, right here’s an inventory of provides you’ll want:

  1. Cotton shirt
  2. Polycotton material (40″x 40″)
  3. Scissors
  4. Stitching pins
  5. Tape measure
  6. Material pencil
  7. 52″ cotton webbing

craft supplies

Find out how to Make a DIY Tote Bag

For those who occur to choose a button-down shirt or one with cool decal work, embroidery, or stylish designs on it, your tote will look much more fabulous. So go forward and pick a shirt out of your stash.

Additionally, know this: the dimensions of the bag would be the size between the sleeves of your shirt!

Step 1

Step one after you’ve picked out your shirt is to mark the spot slightly below the sleeve on both aspect.

craft supplies
measuring shirt

You also needs to work out how lengthy you need your bag to be and measure out the proportions on the shirt, marking it with tailor’s chalk or a material pencil.

measuring shirt length

Then, go forward and join all 4 dots, and also you’ll be capable of see the scale of your bag.

traced tote shape

Step 2

Earlier than you begin chopping into your material, it is best to in all probability use a number of stitching pins to pin the 2 layers collectively. That method, they gained’t transfer round whilst you reduce them.

pinning shirt outline
cutting shirt

When you’ve reduce the shirt, it is best to have two swatches of material like this.

cut out shirt

Step 3

Subsequent, it’s good to measure and reduce out one other material to make use of as lining. In case your outer material is sturdy, then you are able to do and not using a lining inside. However lining will make sure that the bag is sturdier.


Merely pin the outer material on the liner material after which seize your scissors and begin alongside the sides.

pinning shirt to fabirc

You must now have 4 swatches of material, two every for the liner and the outer materials.

cut our fabric squares

Step 4

Right here’s a bit of word for you to bear in mind: in the event you’re utilizing a button-down shirt, there are sure to be gaps between the buttons. Simply slide a number of stitching pins to safe and shut these gaps earlier than you begin stitching.

pinning shirt together

Subsequent, pull out your stitching machine and stitch all the way in which down the button gaps to close them.

sewing shirt

Step 5

You’re additionally all set to stitch your bag; you simply need to align the material swatches in the correct order first.

Place the 2 squares of outer material one over the opposite with the correct sides going through inward in direction of one another.  Make it possible for the ends are aligned.

folding shirt

Seize a number of stitching pins and safe the 2 swatches on solely three sides—the left, proper, and the underside. Depart the highest open, after all.

pinning edges

Step 6

Repeat the identical for the 2 swatches of lining material, and pin them in place accordingly.

pinned fabric edges

Subsequent, go forward and stitch the three sides of the liner material.

sewing fabric

You may sew the outer material, as effectively.

fabric squares

Step 7

Subsequent, take your lining material and flip it out with the correct aspect going through out. Use your fingers to push the sides out whilst you’re at it.

Nonetheless, depart the shirt as it’s with the unsuitable aspect going through out for now.

truning fabric inside out
fabric squares

You’re going to take your shirt material and push it into the liner material. Make it possible for the bottoms of each materials are aligned—use your palms to smoothen out the outer material inside the liner.

putting shirt inside fabric pocket
shirt inside fabric
shirt inside fabric

Step 8

You in all probability observed that you just nonetheless have a number of ragged or uneven edges proper on the mouth. It’s time you handled these!

Simply fold the liner and the shirt inward towards the within of the bag.

holding purple fabric
folding fabric

You must guarantee that your complete line is even and aligned earlier than you safe each material hems with stitching pins.

folding fabric
pinning edges
pinning fabric

Repeat this step throughout the mouth of the bag till you’ve a fair and aligned rim.

pinned fabric

Step 9

You additionally need to make straps on your tote bag, so let’s get to it! Reduce two strips of cotton ribbon or webbing, every round 36 inches lengthy. You may at all times customise the size of the straps.

strips of cotton ribbon

Subsequent, tuck the ends of 1 strip of webbing into the bag between the liner and the outer material, as you’ll be able to see beneath.

pinning straps

Seize a stitching pin and safe the straps in place. Keep in mind to test if each straps are even and of the identical peak.

pinning straps
pinned straps

Step 10

You’re all set to start out stitching your tote bag. Go forward and arrange your stitching machine earlier than you begin stitching.

sewing tote
sewing straps

If you wish to be additional cautious and ensure your straps are safe and in place, you’ll be able to sew across the ends to create a sq., as you’ll be able to see beneath. It will maintain the ends in place fairly effectively.

sewn in straps

Simply flip the bag inside out, and your tote bag is able to use!

completed tote bag

How A lot Material Do I Want for a Tote Bag?

How a lot material you want for a tote will rely on how large you need your bag to be. Additionally, the shirt you utilize may also decide how large your bag seems.

You have to to make use of bigger shirts for bigger luggage—males’s shirts are sometimes my go-to alternative once I want greater luggage that pull extra material.

For those who bear in mind, you narrow the shirts from sleeve to sleeve. That’s usually a superb marker to bear in mind to find out how a lot material you’ve at hand and the way rather more material you want for the liner.

hung up tote bag

How Do You Make a Tote Bag With out a Stitching Machine?

You can also make a tote bag and not using a stitching machine. The primary methodology can be to easily sew it by hand. This methodology will certainly take you longer, and also you may need to stitch across the material a few occasions to safe your stitches.

Alternatively, you need to use material tape, bonding tape, iron-on fusible applique, or material glue to make your bag. Which means your bag might be a no-sew DIY project!

holding totebag

Different Crafts You Would possibly Need to Make

Prep Time
10 minutes

Energetic Time
40 minutes

Complete Time
50 minutes


Estimated Value


  • Cotton shirt
  • Polycotton material (40″x 40″)
  • 52″ cotton webbing


  • Scissors
  • Stitching pins
  • Tape measure
  • Material pencil


  1. Collect all of the provides and instruments you’ll have to get began on this DIY tote.
  2. Lay your shirt flat on the work floor and mark the spots slightly below the sleeve. Additionally, measure the size of the bag as per your wants and mark these two spots as effectively. Use material pens to make your markings and likewise to attach all 4 dots.
  3. Use stitching pins to safe each the back and front of the shirt in place whilst you reduce the material.
  4. Subsequent, take one other material to make use of as lining and place your shirt swatch over it, aligning it and pinning each in place. Reduce two swatches of lining, each the identical dimension because the outer material.
  5. For those who’re utilizing a button-down shirt, additionally, you will have to pin the gaps between the buttons after which sew down the size of your material to shut these buttonholes.
  6. If you’re prepared to stitch the swatches, go forward and lay each of the shirt materials down with the correct sides going through inwards in direction of one another. Pin them in place.
  7. Repeat the identical for the liner as effectively.
  8. Go forward and stitch each the materials, however bear in mind to go away one aspect to make use of because the opening for the bag.
  9. Now, flip solely the liner material pocket out with the correct aspect going through outward. Then, fastidiously place the shirt material inside the liner and align all of the ends. Use your palms to smoothen out the insides of the material.
  10. Fold the ragged ends of each the liner and the shirt inward and towards the within of the bag. You’ll want to guarantee that the folded ends are neatly aligned and even. Pin the hem in place whilst you make the shoulder straps.
  11. To make the shoulder straps, reduce two strips of cotton webbing, every round 26” lengthy.
  12. Tuck the ends of their applicable spots between the liner and the shirt material. Use pins to carry the strap between the 2 layers of material.
  13. Go forward and stitch your bag on all three sides. If you’re stitching the straps, you’ll be able to sew the ends in a box-shaped sample to safe them.

Simply flip the bag out, and it’s prepared to make use of!

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