Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pleated T-Shirt Shoulder Bag Tutorial

A while back, I wrote about a bag I reconstructed out of an old Phillies tee shirt. I promised I'd do a tutorial. Well, I haven't gotten around to it until now. Better late than never, right? I love this project because I have a lot of tee shirts that are beginning to take out their own personals ads: "I'm a little on the large size, but there's so much more to love. I've seen a lot of livin' but I think there's a lot more livin' to do! Let's start a new life together!"

I'm happy I found a way to repurpose them. The bag is made up of three components: the main section, the top band and the strap. The photos are not the greatest, but I think you probably get the idea. Here are the steps for making your own Milli Vanilli tee shirt bag:

Step 1: Cut out the pieces
a. First, cut off the bottom 5" of the shirt
b. Then, remove the hem from the bottom of the shirt
c. Cut off the sleeves and neck

Step 2: Create the pleats on top
a. Fold over an inch or so from each side of what's now the top of the bag to form a pleat
b. Do the same on the back, but rather than fold over, fold under
c. Pin in place and sew

Step 3: Sew up the main section of the bag
a. turn the tee shirt inside out
b. Pin along the bottom of the shirt/bag
c. Pin along the sleeve edge
d. Stitch across bottom and sleeve edges, forming the main section of the bag

Step 4: Create the diagonal corners for the bag bottom
a. With the bag still inside out, measure up from the bottom of the bag three inches and mark with a fabric pencil
b. Do the same for the side by measuring in 3 inches from the side of the bag and marking
c. Sew a straight line between your two marks
d. Trim off excess fabric triangle

Step 5: Create the top band
a. Using the bottom edge of the tee shirt that you removed in step 1, cut a length that measures roughly double the width of the top opening (mine ended up about 5" X 18")
b. Fold in half so that you can pin and sew along the short side
c. Fold the piece in half so that the seam you just sewed is on the inside
d. Sew band

Step 6: Attach band to top of bag
a. Pin the band to the top of the bag on the right side
b. Sew all the way around the top of the bag
c. Flip band up and press seam toward bag

Step 7: Cut out and sew the strap
a. From the remaining portion of the bottom of the tee shirt, cut a piece that measures 5" by 27"
b. Fold the piece in half the long way; pin and sew along long edge
c. Turn the strap outside in and press so that the seam is centered

Step 8: Attach the strap
a. Pin the strap, seam side facing in to either side of the bag, centering
b. Sew in place by sewing a rectangle 1/4" from the top of the band

And there you have it! It's a project that will probably take you an hour to make, but can be a very simple and fashionable market bag or tote for you to use for many more years to come!


Jen said...

OMG - Why did you have a Milli Vanilli tee??? Do tell.

KristenMary said...

The only thing cooler than this tutorial is that Milli Vanilli T-Shirt. Awesome!

PumpkinGirl said...

Sorry to say, girls, the shirt and subsequent bag are out the door. A custom order on Etsy using the customers shirt!

Threaded Basil said...

milli vanilli? awesome.