Easy sling bag tutorial

Here is an easy tutorial for making a sling bag like the one pictured below.

This bag is worn across the body or as a regular shoulder bag. You can see other pictures of the bag here.

This is an easy sewing project, perfect for beginners or for those who want a quick and easy bag to make.

What I like about basic simple patterns, like this one, is that you can easily customize them and make them your own. On the bag I used to make this tutorial, I simply sewed an appliqué on the front of the bag and added a small pocket inside.

I’ve posted this tutorial on my French blog 2 years ago and I though it was about time I translated it to English.

easy Sling bag tutorial

easy Sling bag tutorial

Sling bag worn

Sling bag worn by “Georgette”

 The tutorial provides instructions for a lined bag but for those who want a super fast bag to make I will also provide instructions for an unlined one. Beginners : do not be intimidated by the lined version, it isn’t difficult, just a little longer !

Here is the tutorial with step by step pictures

[box]We need[/box]

[custom_list type=”check“]

  • Main fabric : cotton, linen, canvas,…
  • Lining : cotton
  • Needle size : 90 or 100 (at least for steps 3 and 4)

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[box]Cut[/box]

Here is the pattern that needs to be traced

Seam allowance 1 cm (3/8″) is included

patron sac bandouliere

Sling bag pattern

The body of the bag is to be cut on the fabric folded in half, and the “fold” marking must be aligned on the fabric fold.

[one_half]Main fabric : Cut the body of the bag (corps du sac) twice (front and back) and the strap (bandoulière) once.

pièces sac bandoulière

You should have : 1 front, 1 back and 1 strap

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[one_half_last]Lining fabric : Cut the body of the bag (corps du sac) twice.

You should have : 1 front and 1 back.

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[box]Sew[/box]

If you want to add an appliqué or a pocket do it now before assembling the bag !

The seam allowances are 1 cm (=3/8″) (unless otherwise stated).

 

Step 1 : body of the bag

 

A- Assemble

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Sew along the dotted line

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Lay the front on the back, right sides together, stitch the sides and bottom.

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seam opened

 

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Press the seams open.

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[box]

Additional Step for a bag WITHOUT lining

Finish the seams: using a serger, a zigzag stitch or your usual method.

If you make a bag with lining you can skip this step.

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B- Add volume

 

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Dos = back – Devant = front

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It’s a bit hard to explain but in fact it’s quite simple and easier with pictures.

Bag wrong side out : take one of the bottom corners of the bag to form a triangle so that the bottom seam and the side are aligned and in the center of the triangle. In picture it’s clearer.

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Stitch along the white line

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Sew at a right angle, along the white line on the picture, 3 cm from the tip.

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Wrong side

Right side

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Here is what it looks like once a corner is sewn.

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Wrong side

Right side

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Repeat the step for the other corner.

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You can leave the triangles or cut them (you’ll have to finish the edges if you make a bag without lining).

[box]

Additional Step for a bag WITHOUT lining

Finish the opening of the bag: by folding the fabric on itself twice or by using a bias tape if you prefer.

Then go straight to step 3 : the strap

If you are making a bag with lining, ignore this additional step.

[/box]


Step 2 : The lining

A- Assemble

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Leave an opening at the bottom of the lining

 

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Proceed in the same way as for the main fabric body see step 1 – A.

Beware : you will need to leave an opening of about 10 to15 cm (4″ to 6″) in order to turn the bag in step 2 – C.

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B- Add volume

Proceed in the same way as for the main fabric body see step 1 – B.

 

C- Assemble the lining to the bag

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assembler sac et doublure

Pin together the bag opening and lining opening

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Insert the bag into its lining right sides together. Align the side seams of the bag and the lining and pin the openings together.

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Stitch all around the opening

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Stitch all around the opening.

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Tirer le sac par l'ouverture de la doublure

Pull the bag through the opening left in the lining

 

Continue pulling until the bag is completely out

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Gently pull the bag out of the lining through the opening left in Step 2 – A

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Stitch the opening closed

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Close the opening  by folding the seam allowances inside and stitching across.

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Topstitch all around the opening of the bag

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Put the lining inside the bag.

Press the opening.

Topstitch 1 cm (=3/8″) from the edge.

Sewing trick : if your main fabric and lining fabric are different colors, you can use a thread matching the fabric for the spool and a thread matching the lining for the bobbin (like I did for my bag).

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Step 3 : The strap

You must wonder about my sanity, because the piece of fabric you cut for the strap is pretty large. Let me reassure you : I’m perfectly  mostly sane, in the end the strap will  be smaller and also, because of the several layers, more comfortable!

 

A- Fold the strip in two, right sides and long edges together.

The strip is now 9 cm wide and 105cm long.

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sew, leaving a short edge open

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Sew around the long opened edge and one of the small edge, leaving the other short edge open.

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B- Turn the strap right side out. Press.

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Turn right side out and close the opening

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Fold the seam allowance on the opened edge and stitch closed. Iron the strap.

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C- Fold the strap in half again.

It’s  now 4cm by 103cm.

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Stitch along the lines

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Topstitch the two long sides starting and stopping 15cm (=6″) from the short edges.

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Step 4 : Attach the strap to the bag

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Pin the strap to the bag

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Pin the ends of the strap on the outside of the bag, aligning the side seams of the bag with the middle of the strap. Overlap by 2 cm (=3/4″)  (or more if the strap is a bit too long).

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Stitch as shown

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Attach the strap by topstitching a rectangle and two diagonals (see image)

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And voilà your sling bag is done !

Sac bandoulière tête de mort

Sling bag

Now that you know how to make a basic sling bag, you can vary the size, change the shape of the opening… Happy sewing!

Easy breezy pillowcase tutorial

Easy sewing tutorial to make a removable pillowcase without any buttons or zipper.

And all this with a single rectangle of fabric and achievable in half an hour for beginners. I have a little practice and sewed three in 30 minutes.

 

easy pillowcase tutorial

Coordinated fabrics – Salt water

Envers du coussin : on voit le rabat par où insérer le coussin dans la housse.

Back of pillowcase : you can see the opening through which you’ll insert your pillow.

 

+ More pics of the easy pillowcases

Cut

 

A rectangle of fabric :

Length = (length of pillow x 2) + 10 cm (=4″)
Width = height of pillow + 2 cm (=3/4″)

Seam allowance are included and is 1 cm (= 3/8″)

 

Tuto coussin portefeuille

Cut a rectangle.

Examples

[one_half]

  • For a 40 x 40 cm pillow:

Length : (40 x 2) + 10 = 90 cm

Width : 40 + 2 cm = 42 cm[/one_half]

[one_half_last]

  • For a 50 x 50 cm pillow :

Length : (50 x 2) + 10 = 110 cm

Width : 50 + 2 cm = 52 cm

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Trace

With chalk, trace the fold lines on the wrong side of the fabric. This fold lines will be used in step 2.

Here is how to trace them :

L = length of pillow

  1. 1st fold line  at L – 5 cm (= L – 2″) from the edge
  2. 2nd fold line at L from 1st fold line
Tracer les repères de pliage à la craie

trace the fold lines with chalk

Examples

[one_half]

  • For a 40 x 40 cm pillow:

1st fold line at 35 cm from the edge

2nd fold line at 40 cm from fold line #1

[/one_half]

[one_half_last]

  • For a 50 x 50 cm pillow :

1st fold line at 45 cm from the edge

2nd fold line at 50 cm from fold line #1

[/one_half_last]

Sew

Step 1 : hem the 2 short edges

Create a narrow hem by folding 0,5 cm (=3/16″) to the wrong side and folding 0,5 cm (=3/16″) again.

Stitch.

Press.

Ourler les bords courts

hem the narrow edges

 

Step 2 : Fold

Fold the fabric, right sides together, along the two fold lines.

Fold the large panel first and then the small one.

Press the folds.

Tutoriel coussin facile

Fold along the lines

 

Step 3 : sew

Sew along the 2 open edges, with a 1 cm (=3/8″) seam allowance.

Tuto housse coussin facile

Sew to close the sides

 

Step 4 : finish the seams

Finish the 2 previous seams, with a serger or your sewing machine using a zigzag stitch.

Finir les marges

Finish the seams

Step 5 : final touches

Turn the case right side out and push out the corners (with a chopstick for ex.)

Press the pillowcase especially the upper and lower edges.

 

Just slide your pillow inside and your done !

Tissus coordonnés - Salt water

Coordinated fabric- Salt water

 

Tube scarf tutorial

Here is the tutorial for the tube scarf / infinity scarf shown here: An infinity of infinity scarves

Super easy and fast to sew : I made 16 in 3 hours … Well I must say that I’ve had some training in infinity scarf sewing but I assure you, it is really fast.

Note: the tube scarf is NOT recommended for children. This is dangerous because there is a risk of strangulation.

The scarf is worn wrapped 2 or 3 times (depending on its length).

Echarpe tube

Tube scarf – Infinity scarf

We need

Fabric:

Jersey, lycra, panne velvet, cotton, cotton voile…

Overall a fabric that’s soft (you don’t want itchy fabric around your neck) and preferably stretchable (but it is not mandatory, I’ve made some in cotton voile). Personally I find cotton jersey very comfortable to wear around the neck.

A serger or sewing machine :

For stretch fabrics, a serger is very convenient, but if you have a simple sewing machine, it is perfectly doable, you can read this Threads article about it : A primer on sewing knits.

If you use cotton, a sewing machine is just perfect.

We cut

We will simply cut a rectangle.

Length = total width of the fabric. In France it’s usually 150 cm or 140 cm. In the US you’ll be fine with a 54″ to 66″ (or more) width.

Width = final width desired x2

 

Tuto écharpe tube - Coupe

Tuto écharpe tube – Coupe

I’ve made scarves of varying widths and I would say any width between 25 cm and 50 cm ( = 10″ to 20″) can do the trick. It is a personal design choice depending on if you want a rather thin scarf or a rather large one. For example, if you cut a width of:

  • 25 cm (10″) your final tube will be around 11 cm (5″) large
  • 50 cm (20″) your final tube will be around 23 cm (10″) large

We sew

[one_half]

Envers

wrong side

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[one_half_last]

Endroit

Right side

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seam allowance : 1cm = 3/8″.

1- Fold your rectangle in 2 lengthwise, right sides together.

Tuto écharpe tube - étape 1

Infinity scarf tutorial – step 1

2- Stitch along the long opened edge starting and ending at 5 cm (= 2″)  from the edges. We end up with a tube.

It’s  important to leave 5cm – 2″ at each end, this will allow us to sew step #4.

Infinity scarf tutorial - step 2

Infinity scarf tutorial – step 2

 

3- Turn your tube right side out ! Very important if you don’t want to end up with a USO (Unidentified Sewing Object !).

Infinity scarf tutorial - step 3

Infinity scarf tutorial – step 3

4- Align the two short edges (ends of the tube) right side together and stitch.

This the most “painful” step because the edges are not flat anymore and we can’t align them from one end to the other.

Start as on the illustration by stitching from one side,  and then align the edges right sides together as you sew until you reach the other side. At the end everything will be very tight but the openings left in step 1 will allow you to finish the seam.

Tube scarf tutorial - step 4 - Start like this

Tube scarf tutorial – step 4 – Start like this


5- Slip stitch closed the small opening left in step 1, folding the seam allowance inside the opening.

Tube scarf tutorial - step 5

Tube scarf tutorial – step 5

And voilà, tube scarf done !

Poncho-Sweater Tutorial

Here is a repurpose tutorial to recycle your sweater into a poncho and make a Poncho-Sweater … Or is it Sweater-Poncho ? ^ ^.

It’s really easy to make: 2 seams to rip and 2 seams to stitch and you’re done!

The idea came to me because I have some sweaters in my closet that I do not / no longer wear for various reasons. It’s the case of the sweater I used for this tutorial… I wore it once in 5 years because I do not find it very flattering on me. But I could not bring myself to give it away because I like the shawl collar so much. So, instead of letting the moths eat it, I had nothing to loose trying to give it a second life.

This repurpose tutorial is also perfect for recycling children sweaters, as long as the neck opening is still large enough for their heads. You can transform their favorite sweater, that became too short and too tight, into a shrug or a short poncho. That way they can continue to wear it a little more time.

The pics of the finished poncho-sweater are at the bottom of the article.

let’s go for the tutorial!

We need

  • A seam ripper
  • A knit sweater
  • A sewing machine or a serger or simply a needle and your little hands !

[box]Note : My sweater in this tutorial has 3/4 sleeves, the “crenel” that you’ll see at the end is specific to this sweater. With long sleeves the “crenel” will be different. [/box]

The final length of the poncho will be the same as the sweater used.

Sweater used for this tutorial

 

Let’s rip

 

 

1- Using the seam ripper we are going to rip the two side seams and two underarm seams. This should in fact be the same seam running from the lower edge of the side to the lower edge of the sleeve.

 

tuto poncho pull

coudre = rip the seam

In most store bought sweaters sleeves are sewn flat so the side seam and underarm seam are sewn in one go, as a single seam. This is perfect for us as it will allow us to unpick the side+underarm seam without touching the armhole seam.

Running vertically is the  side+ underarm seam that crosses the armhole seam.

To check if this how your sweater was made : just look at the intersection of the side and armhole seams (at the armpit). If the side seam is above the armhole seam then you can fearlessly rip the side+underarm seam.

It is clear that the side+sleeve seam runs above the armhole seam.

In a knit sweater stitches can be difficult to see, so pull away the pieces gently to see the thread clearly.

Écartez bien les mailles pour couper le fil

Coutures côtés et sous les manches décousues

Coutures côtés et sous les manches décousues

 

Let’s stitch

 

1- Lay one sleeve on the back, right sides together, align edges and stitch from the armhole seam to the lower edge.

[box] Note : the bottom of the sleeve and lower edge of the back do not match and this is normal! On my sweater the sleeve is shorter, on your sweater the sleeve might be longer.[/box]

2- Repeat with the second sleeve.

That’s what it looks like on the wrong side, once the two sleeves are attached to the back:

You can see the two white stitching line I serged.

 

On the left : the front of the sweater, on the right : the back with the sleeves attached on each side.

Poncho-Sweater done !

 

[box type=”info”] To make a classic poncho completely closed, you can then attach each sleeve to the front. As previously put sleeves on the front, right sides together and stitch..[/box]

Pictures of me in my poncho-sweater. Petite Chérie took them so uh… Approximate framing with ugly background and exposure … I have to let her learn, right… 😉


Back

Back again

Front !

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Easy sewing : mittens

Here is a tutorial to sew mittens. This is a super easy sewing project and so simple that it can be fully done in less than 30 minutes.

The measurements given should suit most women’s hands. You’ll find in the tutorial how to adjust for narrower or wider hands .

Here’s what it looks like in fur (do not mind the nail polish, it was a test for a costume ^ ^):

 

easy fur mittens

fur mittens

mittens tutorial

Fur mittens

We need

Fabric: Boiled wool, fleece, faux fur (if the canvas is stretchable) … In short you need a stretch fabric that doesn’t fray.

You’ll need a 24 cm by 40 cm piece of fabric.

For this tutorial I chose fur.

 

 

We cut

Cut the 24 cm x 40 cm piece of fabric to get 4 rectangles of 12 cm x 20 cm.

The cut should be clean, especially since the short edges will be visible as is.

 

cut 4 rectangles of 12 cm x 20 cm

 

We sew

Seam allowances of 1.5 cm are included

1 – Place 2 rectangles right sides together and pin along one of the long edges.

2 rectangles endroit contre endroit – épingler sur un côté

 

2 – Draw 2 markings :

  • one 2.5 cm from the top
  • the other 7.5 cm from the top

The space between these two markings will not be closed : that’s where the thumb will go through.

 

tuto mitaines

2 markings

3Sew with a seam allowance of 1.5 cm breaking stitching between the markings.
Reinforce stitching at markings.
Open the seam

 

tuto mitaines

Coudre selon les pointillés. NE PAS coudre entre les repères.

4 – Still right sides together, pin the remaining long sides together.

Stitch with a margin of 1.5 cm.

Open the seam.

 

Stitch the remaining side.

5Turn the mitten right side out and try it on. In 90% of cases it should fit without adjustments.

But just in case:

– It’s really too loose: redo the last seam with a larger allowance (eg 2 cm)

– It’s really too tight: redo the last seam with a smaller margin (eg 1 cm).

 

6 – Turn the mitten inside out and cut the four corners of the seam allowances without cutting the seam!

 

Cut the corners

Turn the mitten right side out : it’s done !

7 – Repeat the steps with the other two rectangles.

And voilà : a pair of mittens!

 

[box type=”info”] Customise : You can decorate your mittens with buttons, embroidery, appliqués, ribbons or, why not, lace along the openings (top and / or bottom), … Depending on what you want to add (embroidery, appliqués for example), I suggest you do it before Step 4: Before closing the second side because it can be easier to work with the mitten completely flat.[/box]

See, sewing mittens is really quick and easy !

tutoriel mitaines fourrure

voilà, done !

Easy sewing : strapless dress

This is a sewing tutorial to make a very easy strapless beach dress “sarong style” for girls.

This tutorial can also be used to make a skirt or a tunic, you’ll just need to change the length / width measurements.

The dress is quite simple : two layers of fabric attached together at the top with an elastic holding the dress up.

The genesis of this strapless girl dress is here and another dress can be seen there. You’ll see, on these articles, pictures of the finished dresses.


tutos de la robe paréo fillette
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We need

  • Two coordinated fabrics: cottons, voiles, …
  • Elastic (I used a 2cm wide elastic)
  • Optional: ribbons, buttons, … as embellishments

 

Measurements

Measure bust, waist and hips and retain only the largest measurement.

Width = above largest measurement + 15 cm (6 inches)

To give more fullness to the dress simply add more than 15cm/6 inches.

Length = underarm-knee length + 2 cm (3/4″)  + elastic width (2cm in my case)

 

Example for Petite Chérie:

The hip measurement is the greatest with 71 cm, so :

Width = 86 cm (71cm+15cm)

her underarm-knee length is 56 cm, so :

Lenght = 59 cm (56cm + 2cm + 2cm)

We cut

Mea culpa :  I’m really bad with drawings, I hope it will stilll be clear enough. But I assure you, it’s quite simple.

We cut on the fold :  through a double layer of fabric.

 

For the upper fabric, we don’t need to calculate the length of the diagonal edge, simply connect the 2 points.

strapless dress free pattern

We sew

Step 1

Create a tube : Fold the lower fabric right sides together, aligning the edges. Stitch with a seam allowance of 1 cm.

Finish the seam and press it open. This is the center back seam.

strapless dress tutorial

Step 2

Finish the raw side edges of the upper fabric, by turning under 1cm.

sarong dress tutorial

Step 3

Attach together the upper and lower fabric pieces by  sewing them together at the upper edges :

  • Right side of lower fabric facing wrong side of upper fabric.
  •  AND aligning the center back seam of the lower fabric with the center of the upper fabric.

Sew using a seam allowance of 0.5 cm, or you can just serge them together as I did.

 

Sewing tutorial

 

Step 4

Create an elastic casing at the top of the dress. Don’t forget to leave an opening large enough to thread the elastic !

Slide the elastic in place, adjust its length.

 

Step 5

Hem with a narrow hem (1cm) the 2 lower edges separately.

On my DD’s dresses I started hemming the upper fabric with a 1cm seam allowance, I then did a slightly deeper hem (1,5cm) on the lower fabric.

Step 6

Attach your embellishments (button, ribbon) to the center front of the dress and you’re done !

 

Easy sewing project: T-shirt bag

I don’t know about you, But I keep old T-shirts at the bottom of my closet. I probably won’t wear those again because they don’t fit me anymore, are washed out, or distorted… but I keep them anyway because they remind me of happy times.

It’s a bit sad to leave them at the bottom of the closet or stashed in the corner of a drawer so here is a tutorial to give them a second life: turn your old T-shirts and tank tops into bags !

This is a very easy and fast sewing project. Plus it’s eco friendly because it’s a recycling project and the bags can be used as shopping bag instead of plastic bags, or even as a casual summer bag. Finally these bags are strong and can be laundered in the washing machine !

So go grab your old T-shirts and tank tops and let’s get started on this tutorial.


Here is a simplified diagram, the detailed tutorial is below.


We need

  • 1 T-shirt or Tank Top
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Serger or sewing machine (you can always do it by hand if you feel like it … not me ^^)

[box type=”info”] I’ve used a 4 thread serger for this project. If you sew on a sewing machine use a zigzag stitch and a stretch needle. You can also check out this article on sewing knits at Threads to learn more : A primer on Sewing knits.[/box]

 

Step 1

Cut to create the handles

1- Lay your t-shirt flat and cut out the sleeves along the seams. The seams should remain intact with the body of T-shirt : this will make the bag stronger.

If you’re starting out with a tank top go straight to step 2

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tutos sac t shirt

lay down flat

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[one_half_last]

tutos sac t shirt etape 1

cut out the sleeves

[/one_half_last]

 

Step 2

Cut to create the opening

There are several ways to do this (see below), choose the one that seems the easiest to you.

The shape of the opening can be oval, rectangular, V, etc.

T-shirt laid down flat : take a plate or a dish and place it at the neckline. The plate must go well over the T-shirt in order to create an opening large enough to carry the bag over the shoulder (if you wish to do so). Trace around your plate and cut along the line.

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tutos sac t shirt etape 2

I used a rectangular box cover as a guide

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[one_half_last]

tutos sac t shirt ouverture

Opening done !

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Or

T-shirts folded in half :  like in the previous option take any shape you wish as a guide or use a ruler to create a V opening. Then, as before, cut along the line.

 

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Step 3 : sew !

1-The bottom of the bag

Here are 2 ways to do this, which will give you 2 different results, pick the one you prefer :

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 Version 1 “grocery bag”

Turn the T-shirt inside out and lay it down flat

Pin the two bottom edges together.

Sew the opening close by stitching throughout. If you are using a sewing machine, sew a second line near the first one to make it stronger.

 

I used a serger to sew the bottom (black thread)

 

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Version 2 “shoulder bag”

Turn the T-shirt inside out.

Lay the T-shirt flat aligning the side seams. the side seams should now be right in the middle.

Pin the two bottom edges together.

Sew the opening close by stitching throughout. If you are using a sewing machine, sew a second line near the first one to make it stronger.

 

T-shirt bag

This version is better suited for blank T-shirts as the side seams will be right at the center front and back of the bag.

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2-The handle/shoulder seams

They were already sewn… But we snipped through them at step 2 and with time and use, the seam will fall apart.

So with the T-shirt still inside out, sew along the shoulder seam (twice if you use a sewing machine).

If using T-shirts that don’t have shoulder seams, you obviously can skip this step. 


Step 4

sew to give dimension (optional)

Align the bottom seam of the bag with one of the side seams and sew at right angle .

Then align the bottom seam with the other side seam and sew at right angle also

Tutoriel sac T-shirt fond sac

You have to do this on both sides of the bottom seam – This is shown on one side.

Here is what it looks like once finished and serged. If you use a sewing machine you’ll  have 2 triangles at the bottom.

Finished T-shirts bags