Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Finds, Upcycled Style: T-shirt Totes and Bags

Tomorrow I shall be rising early in a zombie stupor to sell heaps of clothes, VHS tapes and trinkets at Relay for Life's Long Neck Yard Sale. Last year, I finally talked myself into letting a few of my favorite baby doll tees from my teenage years free from the dark recesses of my bureau. I'd been nostalgically hoarding them away with aspirations of adding interesting fabric to the bottom of them so my belly didn't show when I raised my arms, or patching the cute faces of Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite and Eeyore onto decorative pillows. The problem is I don't know how to sew and I'm too easily distracted by images on shiny screens to learn. So I practically gave the shirts away at the last yard sale to shorter girls with less curves.

I braved my closet today for items I no longer wear and was faced with the same dilemma. Will I regret giving away another beloved shirt I could have transformed into something useful? Or be ecstatic that the next time I'm tempted by that towering wall of pop culture t-shirts at Baltimore Comic-Con, I'll have a justification to buy a new one that actually fits? That's when I turned to Etsy to see how others are upcyling rad t-shirts, and found these awesome bags. Dance your cares away, because the Fraggles will get to play in my closet a bit longer while I figure out how to give them a proper makeover.

Upcycled T-shirt Bag Finds on Etsy
1. Mario Kart Reusable Bag / Tote by Fashion Green T Bags

2. Evil Skull T-shirt Tote Bag by Evil Lily's Eclectic Whimsy

3. The Misfits Handmade Purse by Claire Baby Designs

4. Urban Skate T-shirt Drawstring Backpack by Ojamiya


  1. Thanks for stopping by to say hi! Following you back...Beth @ Two Monkeys & a Washtub - these are some amazing em! BTW - that is only like a third of the Friday hops..there are too many on fridays! I returned the favor and voted for you on picket fences...but I don't see a link on your page so thanks for leaving it on mine :)

  2. you know, there's a thing called Stitch Witchery, and it's strips of fusible web. no-sewing :D now get going!

  3. Thanks so much for featuring my Evil Skull Tote!!

  4. DON'T get rid of your shirts! I promise some day you will find a great project and if they're gone, you'll be super-pissed:) FYI you can cut a buncha tees into squares or rectangles and sew them into a blanket (or wall hanging). Just straight lines - not too hard:) Or find someone on Etsy to make you something.

    Oh BTW thanks for including my Misfits bag!

  5. I am going through the same thing right now with some of my teenage clothing. It's hard to let go of, but, I don't have enough time to do something crafty with them. I wish I did. Anywho, I love the Mario Cart tote.

  6. Ah, I too have a ton of t-shirts from high school that I haven't had the heart to get rid of. I still wear the ones that fit but would love to try out some of these ideas to repurpose the ones that I've sadly outgrown. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Thanks for featuring my upcycled skate shirt bag. (Though it was my son's button up shirt instead of a t-shirt. It still was easy to repurpose into a bag.) It is really hard to purge items with sentiment.

    My friend Karen made a fabulous t-shirt quilt for her son and made a great tutorial for making t-shirt quilts -

  8. I have a ton of old t-shirts that I refuse to get rid of, but don't actually wear anymore. Heather found a tutorial on craftster to turn them into yoga pants... and the girls ended up with some way cool comfy pants that they wear all the time. There are still a lot of t-shirts that I can't let go of, but that helped reduce the numbers a little, plus now someone else is loving them like I do!

  9. ha ha, i feel like this is the eternal battle i wage with my closet...

    a number of years ago, i cut up like 50 old tiny tees into 12" x 12" squares. i then hand sewed them together, to form the top layer of a large quilt....and then promptly abandoned the project. i think it's still sitting in my parent's basement. :P i too find images on shiny screens oddly compelling and distracty...

  10. Oh man, t-shirts! When I get one that's too small or just not wearable anymore, I usually stitch the bottom hem together, then cut out the arms, making the top half look like a loose tank top. You can add a lining if you want, but it makes a great little tote in no time!

    If you just want the graphics, then cut them off and stitch them to a hoodie, sweater, bag, vest, anything. It can look polished or punk rock depending on how you play it. :D


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