One can’t ever have too many market totes. We use ours for everything from trips to the super market and hardware store, to sojourns to the pool. I also give them away to friends if I send them home with leftovers or other items that need to be bagged up. I’m always happy to do so, because I know they’ll reuse it, but that does mean I’ll be down a bag. You can usually find an inexpensive reusable grocery bag at the grocery, and that’s usually where I replenish my stock, but these bags all seem to lack the “cute factor.” Since “cute” is of utmost importance at my house, I was ever so happy to come across this recycled tote tutorial. Best of all…it requires NO sewing! Here’s how we made ours:
DIY No-Sew Reusable Grocery Bag
- Old t-shirt
Tips on choosing a t-shirt: If you want a deep bag, choose a longer T. Keep an eye on the quality; shirts that have worn thin might not be substantial enough to hold produce and the like. If you like longer handles, choose a T with large/wide armholes in a big size. You can also achieve this with a smaller size shirt by extending the cuts far beyond the lines where the sleeves attach to the shirt.
Step 1: Lay the t-shirt out on a flat work surface and try to flatten as many wrinkles as possible before you start to cut anything.
Step 2: Cut the arms off the t-shirt by cutting through both the front and back sides.
Step 3: Cut around the neck opening on the t-shirt so the opening is now even on both sides. Trim the hem of the shirt if it is scalloped so that it is one straight, even line.
Step 4: Cut slits into the bottom of the t-shirt. Cut them so they are approximately 1″ wide and 3″ to 4″ long. I used the length of my scissor blades as a guide. Be sure to cut slits into the edges along the sides as well, and separate the front slit from the back.
Step 5: Turn the t-shirt inside out and begin to tie the strips together. Tie one strip from the front of the t-shirt to the corresponding strip directly on the back of the t-shirt. Continue down the line until each strip has been knotted. (If you happen to be cutting up an old rocker T, you might want the fringe on the bottom to show, if so, don’t worry about turning the shirt inside out!)
Step 6: The previous step “closed” off the bottom of the bag, but if you were to turn it inside out again you would find tiny holes at the bottom of the bag between each tied strip. We’re going to close off these holes by tying one tied strip to the tied strip right next to it. Pull the knot tight to secure.
Step 7: Turn the bag right side out so the fringed pieces are hidden away inside the bottom of the bag. The bottom should now look like the photo below:
There you have it, your very own recycled t-shirt market tote! If you have even more t-shirts you’re not using, here are more creative DIY projects to upcycle them.