Do-Lit-Yourself: Conquer Fabric Waste with No-Sew T-Shirt Totes
July 23, 2018
If your summer, like our summer, means frequent trips to the library, you're going to need a lot of tote bags. This no-sew craft turns a growing source of waste – old t-shirts – into a bag you can use for books, groceries, and everything in between.
Fast fashion is great for those with tight budgets, but it can have a severe impact on the Environment: over the last few years, news reports (
like this one from the UK's The Independent) have started to chronicle the devastating impacts that hoardes of clothes going into landfills has on our planet.
Here's a fun, easy, and small way to fight back: save that old t-shirt from the landfill and transform it into an eco-friendly tote bag that you can use to schlep books, or anything else.
An old t-shirt
Fabric scissors or other sharp scissors
A large bowl
A washable marker
1. Cut the sleeves off of your t-shirt.
2. Using the bowl, trace a circle with your fabric marker along the neck of the shirt, and cut that out. I used the edge from the front cut to make the same cut on the back of the shirt. The handles of your tote now exist!
3. Turn the shirt inside-out. Determine how deep you'd like your bag to be, and then draw a straight line across the fabric – it should be at least 4 inches from the bottom hem.
4. Holding the front and back of the shirt together, cut vertical slits, about an inch apart, from the bottom hem to the line you just drew, making sure the pieces you're creating match up. You'll also have to cut at the seams up to the line. You've created a kind of fringe – if this makes you fall in love with your old shirt all over again, go out with your best, bad, summer-camp self there, you. Otherwise, continue.
5. Starting at the left of the shirt, take the first pair of fringe (front and back) and tie it into a knot. Tie the next two pairs. Now, tie one of the strands from the middle knot and tie it with the first (left) knot. Take the other strand from the middle and tie it to the third (right) knot. Continue tying pairs together and then matching them with other pairs, all the way across the shirt. It's really great if you have a "helper" for this step like my cat (not).
6. Once you're done tying, turn the shirt right side-out. You've got a tote bag! Lug away.
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