Earlier in the week I showed you the Library Journal I made for my son to encourage him to be excited about reading over the summer months. Part of the excitement of summer reading will come from our trips to the local library too. In order to have an easy way to carry all our library finds, I made a quick and free tote bag using an old t-shirt. And when I say a sewing project is easy, you know that it is!
To make a T-Shirt Tote Bag, you will need:
Any adult size t-shirt you have on hand will make a free, easy tote bag. It’s a great way to reuse shirts that are no longer being worn, without throwing them out. I used this shirt as my clean-up rag when I helped in the I Love to Create tie dye booth at the 2012 Michigan International Women’s Show. If you want to dress up a plain old t-shirt before sewing your tote bag, I recommend Tulip’s One-Step Tie Dye kits. They are easy to use, and much less mess than traditional tie dyeing methods.
Begin by cutting the sleeves off of the t-shirt just OUTSIDE of the seam. The seam will act as reinforcement for the handles of the tote bag. Save the sleeves for later.
Position a large dinner plate over the neck hole of the shirt. Trace around the plate with a marker.
Cut along the marker line. This should give you a neat hole at the top of the tote bag.
Using a sewing machine, sew the t-shirt together just above the bottom hem. I didn’t pin the fabric together because I am lazy, but it would be easier to sew a straight line if you do.
NOTE: You can see from the picture that I sewed the wrong sides of my t-shirt facing each other. I did that because I actually liked the way the inside of the tie dyed shirt looked better. If you would like the outside of your t-shirt to show on on the outside of your tote bag, you should sew the right sides together.
After you have sewed the bottom of the bag, fold the hem of the t-shirt over each side of this new hem (one over one under). Sew another hem through this doubled-up fabric. This will reinforce the bottom of the tote bag so it is definitely strong enough to carry all the books you check out!
Remember that I told you to save the t-shirt sleeves? Mark off straight lines in the sleeve fabric and cut it into a rectangle.
Flip your finished bag right side out and pin the sleeve fabric onto the front of your tote bag, making a small pocket. Use the sleeve hem as the top of the pocket and sew the other three sides to the bag. You can even stitch down the middle of the pocket to make compartments to fit both the book journal and your library card.
You know have a handy, sturdy tote bag to take with you to the library, and it didn’t cost you a thing!
- Child’s Library Book Journal = FREE
- T-Shirt Tote Bag = FREE
- Summer trips to the library = FREE
- Helping to instill a life-long love of reading in a child = Beyond Priceless
If you are like me and have a thing for tote bags, be sure to check back in here ALL next week. HINT HINT.
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