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


tutos sac t shirt

lay down flat



tutos sac t shirt etape 1

cut out the sleeves



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.


tutos sac t shirt etape 2

I used a rectangular box cover as a guide



tutos sac t shirt ouverture

Opening done !



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.







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 :


 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)




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.


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



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