Refashioning: Turn a Basic T-shirt into a Fabulous Bag

You’re looking at the perfect summer remix.

Bye-bye basic white T-shirt, hello sassy summer bag! That’s right, this fun tote started its life as a white T-shirt. Then we got our hands on it and injected some fun: we dyed it, we cut the sleeves off, we added some peek-a-boo holes. Ready to learn how to DIY this bag? It’s a super refashioning project!

Refashioning: Turn a Basic T-shirt into a Fabulous Bag

To make this, you’ll need:

  • White cotton T-shirt
  • Dylon® Permanent Fabric Dye, denim
  • Dritz® fabric marker or pencil
  • Dritz® Liquid Stitch™ fabric glue, original formula
  • Dritz® cover button templates
  • Dritz® styling design ruler
  • Embroidery needle & thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Wax paper or cardboard
  • Large bowl
  • Hanger
  • Old towel

Refashioning: Turn a Basic T-shirt into a Fabulous Bag

Following the instructions on the dye package, prepare your dye in a large bowl, and submerge the bottom half of your T-shirt. 

The dye will slowly seep up, creating a gradual ombre effect. Let sit in bowl for 45 minutes.


Refashioning: Turn a Basic T-shirt into a Fabulous Bag

To rinse, put the T-shirt under a faucet with the water in a constant downward flow. Do not scrunch the fabric or allow the dyed portion to come into contact with the undyed portion. Hang it over an old towel and let it drip dry.


Refashioning: Turn a Basic T-shirt into a Fabulous Bag

Using the styling design ruler to trace smooth and even curves, cut the sleeves off. 

Next, trace and cut a deep scoop neck, through both layers of the T-shirt. The scoop neck should be as deep as the bottom of the sleeve holes.


Refashioning: Turn a Basic T-shirt into a Fabulous Bag

Turn the T-shirt sideways, and open up the sleeve holes; these are now your bag handles. Lay it flat so that the original sides are now the front and back.

Using the cover buttons template and fabric marker, trace your design onto the fabric. We traced the inner edge of the size 36 template for our first circle, and the outer edge of the size 30 and 45 templates for the other two circles. Add an extra 1/4″ of spacing between the circles, to leave room for the embroidery stitches.


Refashioning: Turn a Basic T-shirt into a Fabulous Bag

Insert wax paper or cardboard between your fabric layers and trace your circles with Liquid Stitch. Let dry. This adds durability to the raw edges and gives your fabric some body to stitch over.


Refashioning: Turn a Basic T-shirt into a Fabulous Bag

When dry, cut out the center of all your circles.

Remember, don’t cut off the glue. That is the template for your stitches.


Refashioning: Turn a Basic T-shirt into a Fabulous Bag

To finish the peek-a-boo holes, stitch over the glued edges. Use the weave of the knit as a guide to space your stitches all the way around.


Refashioning: Turn a Basic T-shirt into a Fabulous Bag

To give the openings a little more strength (but still allow them to be flexible), run the needle and thread under all the stitches. Pull the threads until the circle is smooth and round. Tie and trim the loose threads.


Refashioning: Turn a Basic T-shirt into a Fabulous Bag

Turn the T-shirt inside out and sew the bottom of the T-shirt together to close up the bag.

Stitch across the corners to create square edges – or don’t, if you like them to have points.


Now it’s time to load this bag up with summer goodies and head to the pool! Just think of all the different colorways and peek-a-boo patterns you can create using this same basic method of construction. 

Do you have a creative refashioning idea you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!

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