Recycled T-shirt Tote Bag

As I continue to turn greener and greener (not literally of course!), I have started to think it might be time to re-think ALL THOSE PLASTIC GROCERY SACKS I bring home (and throw away) every week! To be honest…it almost pains me to even consider giving them up. They are a part of my weekly existence….completely ingrained into my grocery shopping routine. And with 4 boys/men at home….I buy a lot of groceries! Replacing all the plastic grocery sacks I bring home is NOT a small undertaking!

But then I came across this idea for making your own tote bags out of recycled t-shirts at and I was immediately intrigued! I mean who doesn’t have like a million t-shirts they never wear tucked away in probably every closet in the house? Especially all those “event” t-shirts you get from one organization or another that you wear MAYBE once and then they never see the light of day again. Sports teams, golf tournaments, 5 and 10K runs, family reunions, school spirit shirts….we all have them!

Now there is the PERFECT use for them! With a couple of simple cuts with your trusty pair of scissors and 2 quick seams on the sewing machine… have a STRONG, WASHABLE, and RE-USABLE tote bag!

Perfect for groceries, library books, tennis balls, gym clothes or pool supplies – anything you need to carry!

The below photos show the entire process.  But CLICK HERE for the step-by-step instructions.

I already have MORE THAN ENOUGH t-shirts in this house to make dozens of these bags…..and I may just need that many!  But with a project as easy and clever as this….I actually can’t wait to get started! :-)

UPDATE: (10/11/11)  I was not kidding when I said I couldn’t wait to get started…..I literally couldn’t wait! :-)   Here is my first bag!  Made in roughly 5 minutes this morning in between fixing breakfast, making lunches, chauffeuring kids to school and getting ready for work! :-)   It was sooooooooooo EASY!   And FUN!  

 (I think I’ll go make another one before I have to leave for work!)

And that’s today’s….

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  1. julie cargo says

    I owned a consignment shop fot a time. If I found tees unacceptable for resale this is how recycled them.

  2. mel says

    I have also made clothspin hangers out of toddler t shirts. Just cut the arms off, sew the arms and bottom shut, put it on a hanger and hang it on the clothes line.

  3. Audra says

    GO COUGARS!!!! Fantastic idea! We’re having a clothing exchange at Church next week – I may have to pick up a few more t-shirts…. (And smaller shirts can make great veggie bags, I think!)

  4. Tasha says

    Going to try this with tank tops too…even quicker with no cutting!!! Awesome idea!! Thanks!!

  5. CTY says

    Sweatshirts make great bags and are stronger/more durable. I also make no sew bags out of dog/cat food bags. You know people food like flour & sugar come on paper bags (mine always seem to rip on the check out conveyer belt); but pet food is in these specialty woven plastic bags, I have never had one rip.

  6. Sharla says

    gave this a try, didn’t have my machine at home so I hand stitched it shut, that took a while. I was just testing it out, and it came out great, a little big though, cause I’m a bigger girl. I’m going to hit up the local thrift store to find some smaller sizes. Although, my larger shirts would make great cloth shopping bags. I’m going to experiment with a piece of rectangle cardboard in the bottom and see if it makes it easier to pack groceries in. I showed this to my teenager, along with the other post you have for this idea for the scarves & leg warmers. Guess what she wants now? ;)

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