Stylish Crochet, Sewing, Bead work, Cakes and Upcycling

♥ The Best kind of therapy comes in the form of a needle and thread ♥

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Upcycled T-Shirt handbag, a FREE pattern

Give old T-shirts new life, go Green, and be stylish all at the same time. Here's how to crochet a really cute bag.

My finished bag measures 12.5 inches (32 cm) wide, by 8.75 inches (22 cm) deep.  Or 13.5 inches (34 cm) tall from top of handle to bottom of bag.

Please note that this pattern is not to be copied, redistributed, sold or re-posted on another blog. You may link to this blog as a resource to obtain the pattern for free. Permission is also granted to sell your finished project.

Materials Needed:
Size J crochet hook
Yarn Needle with large eye
Large stitch markers
5 T-shirts. Adult size large. If you are looking at using the same colors I have used in my pattern.  (2 adult large Navy Blue for 9 Rounds / 2 Mens large white for 11 rounds / 1 Mens Large Grey for topper and handle straps)
12” wide bamboo handles or something similar to what is picture ( I bought mine at Joanne Fabric Stores)

CH = Chain
Sl St = Slip Stitch
SC = Single Crochet
DC = Double Crochet
TC = Treble Crochet
FO = Fasten off

Getting Started:
Best NOT to use T-shirts with seams at the sides. Remove the hem from your shirts, and remove from the armholes upwards. You should have a clean tube now. Cut your T-Shirt in approximately 1 inch (2.5cm) strips. Make sure you do this in a spiral motion to keep the length of your strips as long as possible. Once your Strips are cut, tug at them so they resemble yarn.  (I'd tried forever to get this right, and it wasnt until I came across the PolkaDotPineapple blog that it all made sense. For a great detailed tutorial, you may want to CLICK HERE)

This bag is worked in continuous rounds. Use your stitch markers to identify the beginning of each round.
Ch 31, insert second chain from hook (counts as 1st SC)
Round 1: SC 59 in the round (60 stitches) 
Rounds 2-20: Repeat above
FO at the end of round 20
Using your stitch markers, count 29 stitches on each side of bag and mark so that there is one lone chain in between each stitch marker
Row 1: Insert hook into 1st stitch where marker is, Ch 2 (counts as 1st SC), SC 28 (total 29 stitches)
Row 2: Ch 1, turn, SC 28 (29 stitches
Repeat for Rows 3 and 4
Repeat the above steps on the opposite side of the bag.

Making your Handle straps:
Follow these instructions for each side of your bag
Working on each side of the bag separately
Row 1: Insert hook into 29th Loop, Ch 2, SC 5 (total of 6 stitches)
Row 2: Ch 1, turn, SC 5 (6 stitches)
Rows 3-7: repeat row 2
Row 8: Ch 1, turn, SC 1, DC next 2, SC 1, Sl St 1, FO
In same row of 29, Insert hook into 6th Loop, Ch 2, SC 5 (total of 6 stitches)

Repeat instructions for Rows 2-8 above
To make the center strap, Insert hook into 13th stitch from end of left handle
Row 1: CH 2, counts as first SC , SC 8 (for total of 9 stitches)
Row 2: Ch 1, turn, SC8 (for total of 9 stitches)
Rows 3-5: Repeat instructions for row 2
Row 6: CH 1, turn, SC2, DC 1, TC 1, DC 1, SC 2, Sl St 1, FO (9 stitches)
Place bamboo handles in front of handle straps, fold over, use large safety pins with no coils to hold in place and use large yarn needle to stitch against flat panel
Because the bag is very durable, it will not lose its shape , and nothing will fall through.  Lining the bag is not necessary.  However, if you prefer inside pockets to keep yourself organized, I’d suggest a simple liner with pockets and a magnetic closure.
Unless you have a heavy duty sewing machine, I would suggest stitching the liner on your machine, but attaching the liner to the bag by hand
    ~Happy Stitching


  1. That really is a great tutorial, and a super eco friendly and cool looking bag!!

  2. Thanks Pili, The company that I work for is all about no-waste and going green. They want us to practice this in our everyday lives as well. The dark blue part of the purse is T-shirts that the company gave us in prior years to wear when we do our yearly Global Volunteer day. Since I'm not much of a T-shirt wearing gal, I figured instead of throwing mine after only one use, it might be better to turn it into a bag instead.

  3. Great bag!! I just recently learned the art of crocheting (okay, definitely still learning!) so that bag is way out of my range of knowledge, but can't wait to try it when I'm ready! :) I can actually make sense of your directions though... how about that? ;)

  4. I am a loom knitter, but if I ever need anything crocheted, I am shopping here! You do lovely work :)

  5. The bag turned out great! I never knew you could cut up t-shirts and have them end up looking like yarn! That's amazing!

  6. Thanks for stopping by and checking out the pattern. I'm now realizing that you can re-purpose almost anything. With enough T-shirts, a good project would be to make a small area rug, or a nice decorative one to step on when you enter the front door.

  7. AnonymousMay 26, 2011

    Hello there, can you give me the finished measurments of the bag? And Joanne Fabric online is out of these purse handles, lol...maybe because of your neat pattern! Here is to hoping one of my local stores has them!

  8. Anonymous, Thanks for the comment (and the reminder). I've added the finished measurements to the post. Hopefully you'll be able to find the purse handles this weekend at Joannee's, they have 50% off coupons for this weekend.

  9. Great project and thanks for the permission to sell the final project.

  10. This is an amazing bag.....I do crochet but was wondering if this could be converted into a knitting pattern? I would love to try that.

  11. Thanks Anonymous, I'm sorry to say that as much as I would love to know how to knit, I am unable to convert the pattern to knitting. It is a very simple and straight forward pattern though, and I would bet that if you checked out some of the shops on you would most likely find someone that can convert this for you.

    you may want to visit
    she can both knit and crochet, and her patterns are extremely easy to understand. If she takes a look at the purse, She may be able to create a pattern for you.

    Hopefully this helps. :)