Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tutorial - Packable T-Shirt Bag

Now, I truly think my market totes are the bees-knees (what the heck does that mean anyway?) But I know many people are looking for something small and portable. I never buy more than one bag worth of groceries at a time, but in a family of 6 there just isn't anyway around it. So I dumpster dived a stack of brand new tees, and set about a little design work...

First some notes about working with Jersey (T-Shirt material).
1. Zig-zag stitch everything. The cloth is stretchy, a straight stitch will burst.
2. To prevent bunching use a large stitch (long and wide)
3. you may want to loosen presser foot pressure, usually requires a screwdriver, read your manual!
4. know that it can be a pain and be prepared for a little frustration.
5. If you have a ball-point needle for jersey it helps a lot!
First you will want to lay out the shirt and line up all your seams. Sleeve seams should lay atop one another. In this pic the string shows my cut line.

Cut sweeping lines around the sleeve seams, and cut around the front hem of the collar. You may wish to give the collar a little extra depth depending on the shape you're looking for.

Lay out the sleeves as shown. If you are using a real shirt instead of a little girly shirt, you can simplify this step. Just cut rectangles and sew one inside and one outside, back to back. I'm using this little cap-sleeved number so I cut along the string and sew the pieces together.

Here's the pocket, and a strip of hemming from the collar. The strip is what will fold it together, so see the folding instructions below to measure it. Trim off the excess close to the hem, but try not to cut it.

Sew the pocket (or pockets) on the back side. It will probably get a little stretched and bunchy, pin carefully and pull the pins out before you sew over them as they tend to catch and pull the fabric. If you have two pockets you should sew the inside one on first, the out side one will cover the seams better.

Now we sew the bottom. Turn the shirt inside-out and sew the bottom. I like to gusset the bottom. Just pin a few inches in from the end and fold the tip into the middle. This makes a nice open corner and prevents you from having pointy little tips sticking out.

Now hem the sleeves and collar. This is where you will want to have a loose presser foot to reduce that ruffle stretch effect. I usually roll the ham as I go instead of pinning it, just as good in my opinion.

Now we choose a button and make a button hole in the strip of hemming you set aside earlier. I make the button hole rather small as it will stretch. Sew on your button and strap. Ta-da! That was quick and easy right?

To fold the bag, lay it on it's front side. Fold the handles down. Fold each side in across the pocket - that is to say in thirds. Now roll it up and button it. Neat!

These bags are best for light things. To see the listing for this bag and some of the others I made go here.

I have one more t-shirt. It's an XXXL night shirt (the tag says "intimates" ::shudder::), and I'm thinking I might make the biggest T-Shirt bag in the world, as a novelty you know...

1 comment:

missknits said...

wow these are very cool!! i love seeing the process of how people make their items! thanks for sharing!