Have a bunch of t-shirts that you never wear? Turn them into free drawstring gift bags that you can use again and again. This project requires almost no sewing, since it uses the existing hem of the shirt as the drawstring channel.
Use the body of the shirt to make a large gift bag. Then, use the sleeves to make two smaller bags. Here’s how it’s done.
T-Shirt Gift Bag Tutorial
What You’ll Need:
- Sewing pins or sewing clips
- An air or water-soluble marker, or some other marking tool
- A sewing machine (This is the machine that I have)
- A safety pin or bodkin
What You Do:
Flip your t-shirt inside out. Then, spread it out on your work surface, and pin, or clip, the bottom hem together. Cut straight across the shirt, just below the arm holes.
Sew along the edge you just cut. This will become the bottom of your gift bag. I double-stitched mine to make it extra sturdy.
Flip your shirt around, so that the t-shirt hem is at the top …
and cut a small slit at each end, to create a channel for the drawstring to go through. Be careful not to cut through the stitching.
Turn the bag right-side out, when you’re done.
To create the drawstrings for your bag, just cut two one-inch-wide strips of t-shirt material. Then, stretch them, so they curl in on themselves. Each piece needs to be twice the width of the bag, plus an additional eight inches. If you need a long drawstring for your bag, my t-shirt braided rug tutorial has instructions for cutting long, continuous pieces of t-shirt yarn.
To insert the first drawstring into your bag, use a safety pin, or bodkin (that’s the green bendy thing in the photo) to stick it in one end of the front drawstring channel.
Keep feeding it through, until it comes out the other end.
Then, insert it into the back channel on the same side …
and keep feeding it through, until it comes back out on the side that you started.
Even up the two ends of the drawstring. Then, tie a knot, so it can’t pull through the channel. Repeat the process on the other side, so you have a drawstring at each end of your gift bag, and you’re done.
How to Turn T-Shirt Sleeves Into Gift Bags
As I mentioned at the beginning of this tutorial, you can also use the t-shirt sleeves to make little gift bags, perfect for gifting small items or party favors. They’re just as easy to make. Here’s what you do.
Lay the t-shirt sleeve out flat on your work surface, and cut it off just below the hem that connects it to the rest of the shirt.
Then, flip the sleeve inside out, and match up the bottom hems.
Draw the biggest rectangle that’ll fit on the sleeve. Then, sew along your lines. Start just below the hem, so you don’t close your drawstring channel.
Trim the excess fabric from the edges.
Then, cut a slit in the closed end of the drawstring channel, so it’ll be open on both ends.
Turn the bag right-side out. Then, insert your drawstrings. Easy!
Ways to Embellish Your T-Shirt Gift Bags
Add a special touch to your gift bags by embroidering them, sewing on some buttons or trim, ironing on a patch or decorating them with fabric paint. There are endless ways to make these bags your own.
More Uses for Old T-Shirts