Super Easy Summertime Tote Bag!

I just LOVE old t-shirt crafts because….

A)  We ALWAYS have a plethora of old/outgrown t-shirts available in this house of 4 men/boys.

B)  You can make some REALLY COOL stuff with them! :-)  Things I’ve made to date include t-shirt grocery bags and t-shirt headbands. Things I WANT to make include this amazing t-shirt QUILT!

But that’s for another day……TODAY it’s all about these great knit produce bags I spied at Delia Creates!

I was initially quite taken with this idea because I really despise those little plastic produce bags at the grocery store!  Lately I’ve just been putting my produce in my cart WITHOUT the bags because I can’t stand fighting with those stupid things…and I hate coming home with a bunch of plastic bags that I immediately throw away. You really can’t even save and reuse them like regular plastic grocery bags.

Sorry….sort of went off on a rant there. Back to my point….

I DO like the idea of using these for produce bags….but the more I thought about it…the more I realized these would ALSO be perfect summertime totes!  The open weave would be perfect for sandy beaches or the playground at the park. Sand and dirt would slip right through!  They would also be nice for toting your beach towel and sandals to and from the beach or pool. 

So let me show you just how EASY they are to make! 

t-shirt tote bag

#1  Cut a large dome shape out of the body of the t-shirt.

#2  Sew around 3 (rounded) sides (I sewed a small seam and then when back over and zig-zagged the edge.)

t-shirt tote bag

#3  Mark cuts with WASHABLE pen/pencil.

#4 Snip slits with scissors or with rotary cutter. (The rotary cutter was a super slick way to do this. I got my cutter and the small cutting mat for less than $20 at Walmart)

#5  Cut off top corners and an opening for the handle

t-shirt tote bag

#6  S  T  R  E  T  C  H the bag to open up the “vents” (and make it look ruffly and pretty! It will look even more ruffly after being washed and dried.)

#7  Start toting stuff!


t-shirt tote bagt-shirt tote bag 14t-shirt tote bag
These were a lot of fun to make! By the third one I had the steps down cold and feel like I could have made a dozen more.

What other uses can you think of?


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  1. says

    These are really awesome…not only are they practical but they are so stylish! I’m always looking for ways to recycle clothing…I have a 4-guy household as well and man-stuff abounds! I made a pillowcase for my son a few months ago out of one of his favorite t-shirts and now my younger boys want some as well. (in case you would like to see…here it is! )

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Mary says

    Yuck! I saw a documentary once about how filthy shopping carts are and I can’t believe you put your produce in them without a bag, or in bags with holes like that where the produce could still touch the cart. You wouldn’t if you knew what was growing on them! Flesh eating bacteria among others!

    • Sherri says

      Do you think the harmful things in plastic are better? This is why you should ALWAYS wash all produce, whether you eat the “skin” or not. Bring your own reusable shopping bags and it solves both the plastics problem and the bacteria problem!

  3. Heather says

    I love this idea! I don’t know how to sew, but I suppose it’s time to learn! My question is, what size t-shirts did you use? Is there a size that works particularly well for this project? I ask because I too have a house full of boys who wear out/don’t want/outgrow t-shirts constantly! They vary in size from a kids medium to adult XL! Any guidance on this one? Thanks!

  4. Kim says

    An idea for those plastic produce bags that you hate so much: if you have a little one in diapers, stash a few in your diaper bag to seal up the particularly offensive dirty ones when disposing in an open garbage can in public!

  5. Sherry says

    I just made one. It will make a great laundry bag for college.
    I used a Large man’s Tshirt and I used the full width so I didn’t have to sew up the sides!
    Thanks for a great recycling tip.

  6. Abigail says

    I made these for party favor bags for my 4 year old son’s beach birthday party. I used my hubby’s old white t-shirts and made two bags side by side (using existing side seams for one side of the bag) out of each shirt. Then just below the handle, I used puffy paint to write each child’s name and drew a little beachy picture (fish, bucket, sunshine). I then got a bucket and shovel or a blow up ring for each kid, this was such an easy, cheap and adorable party favor! Thanks for the great idea!

  7. Alice says

    Thanks for this idea! I also made a laundry bag for college, out of a giant, ugly tank top I got for free. I just sewed up the bottom and left the straps to use for handles. Now I’ve got something to do with all those shirts people hand out to advertise various student-oriented apartment complexes. Yay!


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