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How to Turn a T-Shirt Into a Gift Bag

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How to Turn T-Shirts Into Gift Bags

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:

What You Do:

Pin Bottom Hem of Shirt Together

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 the Top of the Shirt Shut

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.

Cut a Slit in Each Side of Hem

Flip your shirt around, so that the t-shirt hem is at the top …

Slit for Drawstring Channel

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.

Ball of T-Shirt Yarn

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.

Insert Drawstring in Gift Bag

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.

Pull the Drawstring Through the Other Side

Keep feeding it through, until it comes out the other end.

Insert Drawstring in Back Channel

Then, insert it into the back channel on the same side …

Bring Drawstring Back Out on the Side You Started

and keep feeding it through, until it comes back out on the side that you started.

Tie a Knot in the Drawstring

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.

Gift Bags Made Out of T-Shirt Sleeves

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 T-Shirt Sleeve Flat

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.

Flip Sleeve Inside Out and Match Up Hems

Then, flip the sleeve inside out, and match up the bottom hems.

Sew Around Two Sides of the Sleeve

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

Trim the excess fabric from the edges.

Cut a Slit in the Closed End of the Drawstring Channel

Then, cut a slit in the closed end of the drawstring channel, so it’ll be open on both ends.

Two Drawstring Gift Bags Made From T-Shirt Sleeves

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

How to Make a T-Shirt Tote Bag

How to Make a T-Shirt Tote Bag

T-Shirt Dog Tug Toy

No-Sew T-Shirt Dog Tug Toy

Rug Getting Bigger

How to Make a Braided T-Shirt Rug

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