The awareness is spreading…..social media and newspapers reporting the harm that single-use plastic bags is doing to the planet. I’ve blogged about Boomerang Bags before but not everyone can start a group or join a group where they live, so let’s talk about making your own sustainable solution to plastic pollution…..the humble no-sew upcycled T.Shirt shopping tote. It’s easy, costs nothing and even a child can make one! Go grab an old T.Shirt and let’s get started!
1. Place a dinner plate (or side plate if you need a smaller template) over the neck area and trace then cut around it. You will be cutting through both front and back layers.
2. Cut off the sleeves. You may want to cut slightly lower than the underarm of the sleeve.
3. Cut open the hem at the bottom of the T.Shirt if it has a large one, or simply cut off the entire hem if it is a smaller hem.
4. Slash up the hem in strips of about 5-6cm. If you have cut your smaller hem off entirely, then simply mark 5 cm up from the edge (on the inside) and slash strips up to the marked line.
5. Working on the inside of the shirt, tie a strip from the front, to a strip from the back, working your way across the bottom of the T.Shirt till they have all been tied together with a double knot.
6. If you want to reinforce the holding capacity of your tote, go back and re-knot each strip with it’s side partner. You can also skip this step if you’re happy with a single knot hold (there may be small holes in the bottom but this is fine).
7. Turn your T.Shirt shopping tote to the outside and Voila! You are finished, unless you would like to take it a step further.
8. Pin the neck you cut off in step 1, as a handy pocket on the back of the tote and sew around the edge (hand or machine).
9. If you added your pocket, you can fold and turn your bag inside the pocket to store it.
9. This T.Shirt shopping tote is a great way to upcycle old T.Shirts that have become stained, may have a small hole or just gone passed their Best Before Date. They make great gifts too, why not make them for Christmas……a great eco-gift for loved ones. The great thing about these shopping totes are that they stretch and carry twice the amount of single-use plastic shopping bags. If you used it once weekly you would have saved 104 plastic bags from entering the environment! Well done!
10. This long sleeve converts into a handy produce bag when you sew the bottom together (I had to do it by hand as my sewing machine had a Hissey fit and decided it would not sew next to the old sleeve seams).
11. Turn the top edge over and snip little holes along the edge at regular 1cm intervals.
12. Thread cotton cord through your holes and tie the ends together.
13. Voila! This upcycled sleeve reusable produce bag can hold up to 5 onions.
The rest of the T.Shirt bits can be cut up for colourful garden ties. They are wonderful in the garden as they stretch as needed (great for tomato ties). Nothing is wasted.
Now off you go….to do your shopping, and bring it all home in your fabulous T.Shirt shopping tote!