7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

No sewing skills? No problem!

We'll show you 7 easy ways to make a no-sew t-shirt bag, starting from the very simple to the not-as-simple: not to worry, though, as we'll guide you through it with a video as well as step-by-step instructions. Time to dig through that pile of old or unused t-shirts and give them new life as shopping bags.

T-shirts are made of knit fabric that doesn’t fray easily (unlike woven or denim fabrics). Aside from that, they also have a lot of stretch, are lightweight, and long-wearing, making them the perfect material to make bags from.

Best of all? You get to ditch the plastic bags and save our oceans! Just remember to always wash your bags after your shopping trip, especially if you’ve used them while grocery shopping for wet goods like meat or fish. 

Let's get started. Here are the step-by-step instructions to making your own no-sew t-shirt bag:
BAG #1: Tank top with drawstring bottom

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Old tank tops and camisoles are the absolute easiest tops to make bags from, as the handles are already there! The best kind to use are tank tops that have similar front and back necklines, so no racer-backs. All you need to do is line up the armpit holes, as this will become the bag's handles.

First, we'll need to close up the bottom by snipping a hole in the bottom hem. For this bag, we snipped two holes, as there was a seam in the middle of the tank top. 

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Then take a medium-sized safety pin and attach it to the end of a piece of string, cord, or ribbon.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Insert the entire safety pin into the hole. 

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Now that it's inside, use your fingers to then pull the safety pin and the attached string and shimmy it through and all the way around inside the casing created by the t-shirts' bottom hem. If you run into any seams or spots where the safety pin won't go through, just snip holes before and after the spot in order to pull the drawstring through.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Pull the safety pin out of the exit hole and pull the cord to close up the bottom hem.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Pull the bottom hem shut.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Turn the bag inside out so the strings are on the inside. Tie the strings together and pull it tightly, finishing it off with another knot.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Lastly, turn it inside out, and lay it flat on its side, with the arm holes lined up, so that the tank top's sides now become the front of the bag.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Easy, right? Your no-sew t-shirt bag is now ready to use!

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

BAG #2: Tank top with tied fringe bottom

This method will create a bag with a roomier bottom. We used a strappy camisole for this one.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Turn the tank top inside out. Lay it flat on its side so that the armholes line up with each other.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Using a ruler and pen, draw a line to mark the bottom of your bag.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Cut off the extra cloth, leaving about 3 inches or 8 cm from the line you drew.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Using a sharp pair of scissors, snip a fringe along the bottom until the line you drew.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Tie together the strips.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Turn the top inside out, and you’re done!

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts 7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

BAG # 3: Cut-out handles with tied fringe bottom

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Now it gets slightly trickier, as we'll be using an actual t-shirt instead of a tank top for your first no-sew t-shirt bag! We'll be doing some cutting, but just follow these steps and it will be a breeze.

Turn the t-shirt inside out. Fold the shirt in half, with the front of the shirt facing out. Using this red outline as a guide, draw a curved line from below the neckhole to the armpit corner. Then draw a half-circle to make the armhole. 

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Use sharp scissors to cut along the lines.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Open up the shirt. Use a ruler to mark a line about 3 inches from the bottom hem.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Cut a fringe along the bottom.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Tie the strips together.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts 7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Turn the shirt inside out, and you've got a bag!

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts 7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

BAG # 4: Cut-out handles with drawstring bottom

For this no-sew t-shirt bag, we used a kid's old t-shirt dress, with a cute print that was just begging to be repurposed into a bag!

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

First, turn it inside out and fold it in half, with the front facing out. Then copy the outline we made in red and trace it onto the bag.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Cut out on the lines.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Snip a hole in the bottom hem, then take a medium-sized safety pin and attach it to the end of a piece of string, cord, or ribbon. Insert the safety pin into the hole in the hem, and use it to thread the cord all the way around inside the casing created by the t-shirts' bottom hem, creating a drawstring.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts 7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Pull the bottom hem shut, and tie the ends together tightly.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Cut off any excess string, then turn inside-out. You're done!

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

BAG # 5: Drawstring top, backpack-style, with tied fringe bottom

With this style, we'll be using the shirt upside-down, so it's best to use a plain or solid-colored shirt, or one with a design like stripes, where the orientation won't matter. We'll also need two long pieces (around 1 meter/40 inches long) of string or cord to make the drawstring/backpack straps. We repurposed the laces from a pair of boots, so they're extra long.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Lay the shirt flat. Cut off the sleeves.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts 7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Mark a line across from armpit to armpit. This will be the bottom of the bag. Then cut off the excess, leaving about 3 inches/8 cm for your fringe.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Cut a fringe.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Knot up the fringe.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts 7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Turn the shirt inside out.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Now we'll make the drawstring backpack straps. First, we'll make the holes. We need to make two holes on both corners of the shirt, one on either side of the seam. See the marks in red? That's where we'll snip holes/short lines with our scissors. Be sure to cut holes only on the top layer of cloth and not all the way through.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Insert the end of the shoelace or string into a safety pin.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Insert it into the hole in one of the corners.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Use the safety pin to pull the cord inside and along the bottom hem, all the way through and around, coming out of the same side you started. Repeat, but this time on the opposite corner. You should end up with two pairs of loose ends coming out of each corner. Pull and adjust the strings until both ends are even.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Insert the end of the strings into the corner below it, through the holes between the knots (don't insert them into the same hole, but into two holes beside each other.)

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Tie the strings together inside to secure. 

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Repeat this on the other side.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Pull the drawstrings in opposite directions to shut the bag, and pull apart to open.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Your no-sew t-shirt bag, and a backpack at that, is now ready to use!

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

BAG # 6:  Long-sleeved t-shirt with tied fringe bottom

For this no-sew t-shirt bag, we'll be using the sleeves on a long-sleeved shirt to make the handle of the bag! Take a long-sleeved t-shirt and turn it inside out.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Mark a line about 3 inches/8 cm from the bottom hem.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Cut a fringe.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Knot the fringe ends together.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Turn it inside out. Gather up one shoulder, from the armpit to the neckline (see the red dotted line) and tie a knot.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts 7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Do the same for the other shoulder.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts 7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Tighten and adjust the knots. The excess fabric forms a sort of round cap, which you can use to cover the knot. 

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Tie the ends of the sleeves together in a double knot to make the handle.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

The neck hole will be the opening of this bag. You're done!

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

BAG # 7: Rope handle with tied fringe bottom

For this last no-sew t-shirt bag, we're upping the game by making a rope handle. Your friends won't believe you made this one yourself! We used a t-shirt, with a cute floral design, that unfortunately is now too small to wear, so now it's going to be repurposed into a shopping bag.

We'll be using the shirt upside-down, so again, it's best to use a plain or solid-colored shirt, or one with a printed design where the orientation won't matter.

Lay the shirt flat. Cut across from armpit to armpit to create a rectangle.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Turn the shirt inside out, with the bottom hem at the top. Remember, the cut edge will be the bottom of the bag. Mark a line about 3 inches/8 cm from the cut edge.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Cut a fringe and knot together.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts 7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Turn the shirt right side out again, and lay flat. 

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Fold the top edge in half, then in half again. Mark the folds, this is where your handles will be. Unfold. In this picture we are pointing to where the marks are.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Cut through the bottom hem at all 4 points.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts 7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Take a long piece of rope or cord (about 1 meter) and stick a safety pin in one end, then secure it with some tape.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts 7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Thread the safety pin and cord into a hole going towards a corner. Use the safety pin, through the cloth, to pull the rope through the hem, then out the next hole, inside the next, and finally out the last hole. Pull and adjust the rope to make the handles the length you'd like, as well as making them even. When you're satisfied, tie the rope with a double knot, cut off the excess, then pull the knot into the hem, all the way into the corner of the bag, to hide it. Finally, pull and adjust the rope again until the handles are even.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts 7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

And that's it! Your bag is now ready to rock.

7 ways to make a no-sew bag out of T-shirts

Need a quick recap? Watch how we made these eco-friendly bags in the video below!

 

We hope you've enjoyed this step-by-step article as much as we enjoyed making these bags, and that you've been inspired to try make it yourself. If you do end up doing it, please do show us what you've made in the comments below!

Read also: 8 steps to keeping flowers fresh and how to save wilting ones