Embroidery Library

T-Shirt Tote Bag

 

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.


A simple T-shirt gets a big makeover with this tote bag tutorial! In just a few steps, you can rework an old, unused tee into a terrific carry-all -- perfect for farmers markets, or a trip to the beach!
 


Project Needs & Notes

-
One crew neck T-shirt (women's large)
- 3/4 yard sturdy cotton fabric like denim, twill, or lightweight canvas for lining
- Medium-weight (2.5 ounce) cutaway stabilizer
- Temporary spray adhesive (Gunold KK100)
- Air-erase pen for marking
- 5 1/2" x 12 1/2" piece of foam board (for bottom of tote)
- Bowl or lid to trace 8"-9" circle

The design featured in this tutorial is L2919, Turtle Trio with Flower Shells.

Finished Size: 
17 1/2" x 13" x 6" deep

This project was featured in the following:
Totally Totes Lookbook
 

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Begin by embroidering the design on the T-shirt.

A template is a printout of a design, and it's an excellent tool to plan where to stitch.

Print a template of the design from your embroidery software.
If you do not have embroidery software, Wilcom's TrueSizer is
a free program to use.


Position the template where you want to stitch the design. In this example, the top edge is 3" down from the bottom of the collar ribbing.

Center the design between the shoulder sleeve seams.

After the template is positioned where you want to stitch, mark the center point as well as the vertical and horizontal axis lines.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Remove the template and draw lines connecting the marks.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Turn the shirt inside out.

Cut a piece of cutaway stabilizer a bit larger than your hoop.

Spray the stabilizer with temporary adhesive, and smooth the stabilizer on the back of the area that will be embroidered.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Turn the shirt right side out again.

Insert the bottom hoop inside the shirt, and align the marks on the top hoop with the lines on the shirt.

Hoop the shirt and stabilizer together.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Hair clips or chip clips are helpful for ensuring the excess shirt doesn't get caught while embroidering. Roll the excess fabric up and around the hoop, then secure in place with the clips.

Attach the hoop to the machine and load the design.

Move the hoop so that the needle is aligned with the center point on the fabric and embroider the design.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

After embroidering, turn the shirt inside out and trim away the excess stabilizer.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Keeping the shirt turned inside out, lay it with the embroidered side facing up (the backside of the embroidery will face up).

Measure and mark 18 1/2" down from the bottom middle of the front collar.

Draw a line at the mark parallel to the bottom edge of the shirt.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Trim the shirt (through both layers) along the line.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

To make the handles, place the bowl or lid on top of the collar with about 3/4 of the bowl or lid on the shirt.

Trace the shape of the circle.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Trim through both layers of the shirt by cutting along the traced line.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Also, trim off the sleeves along the sleeve seams; once again, cut through both layers.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

To create the lining, lay the sturdy cotton (such as denim) flat with the wrong side facing up.

Lay the trimmed shirt flat on top and trace the shape of the shirt.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Remove the shirt and measure and mark 1/2" out from the traced shape.

Draw lines connecting the marks (this is the seam allowance of the lining).

Lay another piece of the fabric under the first piece, right sides together.

Pin in place, and cut through both layers by cutting along the outer lines you just drew.

Sew a 1/2" seam along the side, bottom and top edges of the fabric -- do not sew along the curved side and center edges.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Trim off the seam allowance along the curved side and center edges.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

To square off the bottom of the lining, align the side and bottom seams together and pin in place.

On both sides, measure and mark 4" in starting at the outer point.

Draw a line perpendicular to the seam.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Sew a seam along the line and trim the fabric leaving about 1/2" excess to the outside of the seam.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Now that the inner lining is prepared, square off the bottom edge of the outer shell just as you did the lining.

Insert the outer shell inside the lining, right sides together. Align the seams and raw edges together; pin in place.

Sew a 1/2" seam along the center curved edges leaving about 3" open along one of the top edges (near the top seams).

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Turn the fabric right side out and insert the lining inside the outer shell.

Turn the fabric of the opening in 1/2" and pin in place.

Top-stitch a 1/8" seam along the entire middle curved edge.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

Add a piece of foam board or heavy cardboard to the bottom of the tote to give it more support.

Cut a piece of the board to 5 1/2" x 12 1/2" and insert it between the fabric layers at the bottom (insert it through one of the side openings).

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

To finish, turn the fabric (the outer shell fabric and the lining fabric) of the side openings in 1/2" to the wrong side.

Pin in place and top-stitch a 1/8" seam along the side edges.

Free project instructions to create a t-shirt tote bag.

A T-shirt tote is the perfect grab-and-go bag for hauling groceries, beach gear, or hanging at the mall.


Questions or comments? Let us know! Send an email to us; the address is stitch@emblibrary.com.

Products used in this Project:

Summer Love $3.99 - $5.99

Available in 4 Sizes:

7.80" x 6.70" | 6.83" x 5.86" | 5.65" x 4.84" | 3.86" x 3.31"