Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Men's shirt to handbag - an upcycle tutorial


Once again, I'm working my way through my stash of clothes to be upcycled. I have a few men's shirts in that stash, so set to work on one of those and created this bag!


Here's how you can make your own cute bag from a men's shirt:

You will need:
A men's shirt
Fabric for the bag lining and trim
Two round wooden handles

First cut a rectangle from the centre of the shirt - through both layers, the size you'd like your bag to be.
Mine was 42 x 34cm (16.5 x 12.5")


Cut 2 rectangles of your inner fabric the same size:


For both the inner and outer bag fabric, pin the rectangles right sides together along three sides. Leave what will be the top opening of the bag open.

Stitch around all 3 sides.


To 'box the corners out', Put your hand inside the 'pocket' you just made and flatten one corner out like this

Stitch across that corner about 5cm (2") in from the tip:


Then cut off the point beyond the stitching.

Repeat this for both bottom corners of the inside an outside bag pieces. Then you should have this:

Now you need to gather the tops of both pieces. To do this, run a line of stitching around the top of each piece around 5cm (2") in from the top. I use an elastic band to mark where this is on my sewing machine! You stitches should be on the longest setting for this:



It's probably best to stitch two separate lines one on either side of the bag:

Then pull the threads at each end to 'gather' the tops of the bag pieces - sort of like you were closing a drawstring bag:


One both bags are done, make sure the outer bag has the right sides out, and the inner bag has the right sides facing inwards and put the inside of the bag, in the outer bag:

Adjusting the gather if need be as you go along so that it's even, pin the two pieces together along your line of stitching.


Then stitch through both layers:


Now to make the top rim of the bag.
Fold the top of the outer bag over,

then, fold the inner fabric over the top of that and tuck the raw edge under just past the line of stitching. Go all around the top of the bag doing this, and pin into place.

Then top stitch all the way around.


Now you just have to add the handles.

Cut two rectangles of the inner fabric 
- mine were 15 x 8cm (6 x 3")

Double fold all the short edges of these rectangles over and stitch.

Then for each handle, wrap one of the rectangles around it and tucking the raw edges in, pin together:




Using the zipper foot on your machine so you can get close to the wooden handle, stitch where you have pinned on both handles.

Then pin and stitch the handles to the bag:


And there you have a cute new handbag!
I decorated mine with a simple fabric yoyo with a button in the centre.



For the free downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.


For more ideas on shirt upcycling, take a look at my 

Or you can browse over 600 clothes upcycling projects and add your own to the ongoing linky party here.

And for over 100 of my free sewing tutorials go here.



50 comments:

  1. I <3 your shirt up cycle!!! The purse is super and the colors are cool. Pinned New follow for your page and social media:)

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  2. Oh my goodness, this is your best upcycling project yet! I love, love, love it!

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  3. Super cute, Jill. Love the gathered effect with the wooden handles.

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    1. Thanks Pam - yes the handles turned out well, I wasn't sure how to approach them, but I'm happy with how they turned out!

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    2. Hi Jill, Just letting you know I included your gorgeous handbag in a roundup of upcycled shirt projects. I've also taken the liberty of adding it to our latest linky - reusing shirts and ties. Hope that's OK. I'm sure you have lots more you could add, time permitting.

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    3. Thanks so much Pam. I'll pop on over and take a look!

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  4. Thank you, Jill, for pointing me in the direction I need to go with my son's shirts! I wanted to keep them around and now I can with this brilliant idea! Thank you!!!!!!
    When I get a couple finished, I will email you the photos!
    Maria

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    1. Thanks Maria! As always, look forward to seeing what you come up with. I still have a couple of shirts I want to try different style bags with - will post those when I do them too!

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  5. What a cute project!! It's a great upcycle idea!

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  6. It is very cute and looks fun to make! You did a great job with your tutorial.

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  7. Very clever purse idea. Thanks for the detailed tutorial!

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    1. Thanks Tammy - and you're very welcome, always happy to share the how-to!

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  8. Smart upcycle for old shirts! The outcome is so cute!

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  9. Oh that's a great upcycle now I need to go through hubby's wardrobe lol

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  10. I saw this linked to Thursday's Favorite Things. How fun, I like it!

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  11. Very clever and I always wondered how one 'attached' round handles. :) Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Kate! This is actually the first time I've used those round handles, so I'm not sure if that's the 'right' way to attach them!

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  12. Totally adorable! I wish I had the patience for sewing- maybe it'll kick in some day!

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    1. Thanks Betty! Upcycling is a great way to start sewing and not worry about the patience thing - it doesn't matter if you make mistakes on old clothes!!

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  13. Wow! What a great upcycle project! I love the pop of orange and the wooden handles. Totally cute bag!

    Navy Wifey Peters @ Submarine Sunday Link Party

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  14. cool cool cool!One of the best and easiest bag Diys I have seen. ;-)

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  15. Wow !!! Jill, this is a awesome project and a great tutorial! Thanks for sharing!
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    Hugs and love from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft
    www.lovecraft2012.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks so much Ana. Hope you have a lovely weekend too!

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  16. What a cool idea!!!
    I wanted to invite you to the {Handmade Café} Link Party, the new and very unique linky! I hope you'll join us and link up. You will meet many exceptional international crafters/bloggers!

    Oksana @ Oksana Plus Hobbies
    http://oksanalikesit.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks Oksana! I'll make sure and stop by your party to link up too! Thanks for the invite!

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  17. Too cute! Thanks for sharing at the Upcycled Linky Party!

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  18. Haha, this is fabulous. Can we be friends so I can convince you to make me one? :) I'm totally featuring you at our blog hop tonight!

    mothersniche.com

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  19. Thank you for sharing at our TGIF Link Party at A Peek Into My Paradise! Congratulations! Your post will be featured at the TGIF Link Party this week and will be pinned to the TGIF Party Board! I can't wait to see what you link up this week!
    Cathy @ http://apeekintomyparadise.blogspot.com/

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  20. Hi Jill, I've featured your bag today...

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  21. Amazing bag,Jill!Well done!
    Great tutorial too!
    hugs

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