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How to Make a Simple Tote Bag From Your Old Clothes

Updated on January 13, 2012

How to make a tote bag, using your old clothes


Take your old T-shirt and turn it inside out. Cut the sleeves off then cut along the side seams and across the top seams to give you two large pieces of fabric.

Right sides together, stitch along the top (where the neck used to be) to make it into a straight seam. Leave to one side.

Take your old trousers and from the crotch area cut across both legs (as if you were making shorts). Now take one leg and cut along the seam to give you one large piece of fabric. Do the same with the other leg.

Take the already stitched ends of the trouser legs and, right sides together, stitch along that end to form a seam. Leave to one side.

For the Tote Bag You Will Need

· An old pair of trousers

· An old large T-Shirt

· A long piece of fabric to make the strap.

· A motif/patch

· Scissors

· Sewing machine

· Pins


Cut out your patches and cut some fabric to make the straps (I used a denim belt that was part of my little sister’s dress).

Take your motifs and decide on how you want them to be placed onto your bag. Pin them into place on what will be the front your bag (on the trouser fabric) and stitch.


Take your outer bag fabric and line it up with the inner lining fabric. That is taking the piece of trouser fabric and lining it up with your T-shirt fabric (wrong sides together). 

Some of My Handmade Tote Bags


Fold over with the inside of the bag showing on the outside. Straighten up the sides, trim them if necessary. Pin along the sides and then stitch together.

Turn out your bag and it’s starting to look great already!


The top of the bag still has rough edges, you need to neaten those up with a simple seam, you could stitch some buttons along here or a zip, or leave it open if you like.


If you need to sew the fabric for the strap then do so now or if you have one pre sewn then great, you just need to stitch it into the inside of the bag. Make sure you do a double stitch in the shape of a square to make it strong; this is the part, which is going to hold most of the weight.

And voila! You have your first handmade tote bag made from old clothes.

Thank you, please take a look at my other sewing how to's below.


Tell me how your tote bag turned out

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    • profile image

      JK girl 5 years ago

      I loves making these. I have bags,jean skirts, headbands, belts, etc.

    • profile image

      lkakdjk 6 years ago

      cute i have to try

    • FranyaBlue profile image

      Jacqueline 7 years ago from London, England

      Let me know how it turns out.

      Thanks for reading!

    • lilly_dens profile image

      lilly_dens 7 years ago

      this is nice :D i'll try my hand on this