Eco-friendly uses for swag a.k.a old t-shirts

In New Zealand, there is a push to stop using single-use plastic bags. This trend is surely happening elsewhere as well.

Sometimes children grow out of their t-shirts before they look worn or you end up with far too many t-shirts or t-shirts the wrong size for you to wear. (Yay for summit swag).

Problem meets solution!

Adult t-shirts can become grocery shopping bags and children's sizes make great produce bags.

Sewing method

  1. Cut inside the arm seams and cut a scoop around the neckband. Cut the front and back at as the same time so they match.
  2. Cut the hem off the bottom of the t-shirt.
  3. Turn the t-shirt inside out and sew with a zig zag stitch.
  4. <Optional> Sew in a box bottom if you know how or just Google for the instructions.

No-sew method

  1. Cut inside the arm seams and cut a scoop around the neckband. Cut the front and back at as the same time so they match.
  2. Cut a fringe 4cm into the shirt all the way along the bottom (shorter cuts for children's t-shirts).  Each cut should be approx 1.5cm apart. The first cut of the fringe will have a piece of the front and back of the t-shirt and will include the side seam. Cut carefully along the seam to separate and begin the knotting process using these two pieces.
  3. Begin knotting a piece from the back and front together. Do this all the way along the bottom.  You can either have the fringe on the inside of the bag or showing as a tassel along the bottom of the bag.

tshirt bags.jpg


Kimberly Deal Community Champion Jul 04, 2018

Ooh.  Awesome idea.  Easy to pack swag bags for Summit too!

I love this idea of recycling - tried the non-sewing method but with only one big knot, but that took a lot of space from the bag.

Will try out to sew it. 

Confession time ... I have not made a bag like this yet. It is my mission for this weekend.

Kimberly Deal Community Champion Jul 06, 2018

 I like the fringe knot idea for the no sew. 

I suppose this would give me practice sewing knits, which I don't do :-)

Love the kitty gif! @Fabienne Gerhard

thanks @Kimberly - love kittys, gifs and would love to be better at sewing - what would be better than combining this

I stumbled across another idea that is similar to the bag idea:

Make pillows out of shirts and also business shirts (who doesn't love a good sleep)


I love the idea behind those shirt pillows with a memory.

For pillows made of t-shirt it seems like there are several ways to realize them starting with knots, braiding up to sewing.

Did anyone try this?

@Kat Warnerhow did your weekend mission go?

@Fabienne Gerhard - it went well but I have not taken a photo yet. I'll get on to that!


The shirt pillows seem like an amazing way to remember someone special.

Kimberly Deal Community Champion Jul 09, 2018

@Fabienne Gerhard

Like anything, the more you do it the better you will get at it.  I've been sewing for a long time, and I still find challenging projects.  :-)

Would love to see the results @Kat Warner

I will definitly work on my sewing skills - especially working with jersey fabric, I have a lot of respect for! Kimberly Deal

Here is my first attempt. My husband was not so keen to have one of his gaming t-shirts sacrificed to this experiment in case I failed completely. I'm happy with the result.


Kimberly Deal Community Champion Jul 17, 2018

Awesome!  It looks great.  Now he can wear a gaming shirt *and* carry a gaming t-shirt bag!

Oooh I will have to try this with my Unisex Conference Shirts of Sadness, aka, shirts that try their hardest but don't fit. 

Give the shirt a different purpose - it did not want to fail. :P


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