Monday, May 16, 2011

DIY project: "quick" and easy t-shirt bag

I have a lot of reusable shopping bags, but I don't have enough cool, interesting, unique ones, so in comes the t-shirt shopping bag!

I spotted this video eons ago and since then, I've seen many other t-shirt bag tutorials pop up, but the video continues to be my favourite example. It seems to be the simplest and most straight forward to follow.

I used my super old Beastie Boys shirt I found at the thrift store years ago. So it was already used when I got it, then I wore it for a couple years, then I retired it to pajama status, and then, when it developed crazy armpit holes (like, how does that even happen?), it got scrunched in a bag with other scraps of fabric.

I totally forgot I even had it and found it in that scrap bag completely by accident while looking for other scraps (for another project, of course). I thought now would be the perfect time to scratch the t-shirt bag off my list since I finally had the perfect t-shirt for the job. How's that for a great recycling story?

And when I remembered that the Beastie Boys had just released a new album, it was almost as if finding the t-shirt again was meant to be. So turn on some Beastie Boys and get to work!

Fold the t-shirt in half, making sure to align the sleeves.

With some sharp scissors, cut off the sleeves and the neck to form the handles. I had to cut my sleeves off a little lower due to the holes in the armpits, but it would have been much better to aim for cutting only the sleeve portion off with as little of the body fabric as possible. Look at it this way, the less fabric you cut off the sleeves, the larger your bag will be and the more in proportion your handles.

You have to use your judgement for where to cut off the neck portion. If you don't mind cutting through whatever print is on the shirt (if yours has one), then go right ahead. Or you can cut it just above the print like I did.

Next, turn the t-shirt inside out and do a straight stitch along the bottom to close it. Then stick your hand in one of the corners and form a triangle and sew that. Do this on both corners.

The triangle thing is kind of tricky and I wish I could better describe it now that I've done it. It's best to watch the video a couple times. But don't sweat it too much. Just figure it out best you can. I looked at the bag without the triangles, too, and you could really skip that part if you're a little uncomfortable with it. The bag will still be a bag.

Now's the part where I explain why this was a "quick" project for me. I don't know why, but any time I have to use my sewing machine, I'm almost guaranteed to either have just enough thread on the bobbin to make me think I can get the whole job done or something happens to the bobbin thread which causes it not to be picked up or gets it stuck and knotted so it doesn't want to work. Both happened on this project. So when I was trying to stitch up the last triangle (something that should take about 2 seconds), I had to readjust the bobbin, then readjust again, then take the last little bit of thread off of it and rethread it, and adjust a couple more times before I could run that 2 seconds of stitch along the corner. Sigh.

Now turn the t-shirt right side out, and you've got a really sweet shopping bag! I've been keeping it folded up in my purse for spur-of-the-moment purchases. The last thing I had in it was a couple of 2 L bottles of pop and aside from some stretching (since the fabric is stretchy), it handled the load perfectly.

And while we're also talking about the Beastie Boys, I listened to their new album when it was streaming for free and it sounds a lot like Hello Nasty to me, so I really liked it. Unfortunately it's not streaming anymore, but they do have a really interesting video up now (fyi it's nsfw). I thought it was going to be some kind of documentary type of revist and then suddenly, it turned into one of those "which famous person am I going to see next" kind of games and I couldn't turn it off. I know 29 minutes is long in internet terms, but if you have time, it's fairly amusing. (Will Ferrell -- cow bell. Need I say more?)

the entire diy list is here


Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot said...

Love it! And cool t-shirt too!

GALaxy said...

Aww thanks! I had mixed feelings about the shirt when I first bought it. I liked the graphic and hated the colour. Then I tried to wear it about like I was cool or something and I still kept really hating the colour. That colour never works with anything! Dumb boys and their picking of dumb colours. I'm glad it's a shopping bag now. It was always meant to be a shopping bag.

Laeli said...

That's really neat! I like how it doesn't look like its been up-cycled too.

GALaxy said...

Lael: Thanks, that's good to hear! Idle Husband keeps making fun of it whenever we're out!