The Show Bags

Here’s a couple I made earlier…

We showed off these and a couple of other show bags at school assembly this week and were very impressed with ourselves. I think our audience was reasonably impressed too, especially at the other items we showcased – wallets made from fruit juice and soy milk containers!

The T-shirt bags are very easy to make and don’t need sewing. I chose this method because anyone can have a go at making them – even the kids. But no-sew does mean the bags can’t carry tiny items – small things would fall through the knotted base of the bag – but they can carry the items we plan to give away or sell at the stall.

The shape and pattern is based on plastic supermarket bags. The T-shirts are cut to that shape – really a tank top or singlet shape. The bottom of the T-shirt is cut to make a fringe and the fringe strips are knotted together to make the base of the bag.

There are plenty of patterns and instructional videos online for T-shirt bags with various methods to cut and finish them. This one at leethal.net uses the hem at the bottom of the shirt to pass a cord through and tie the bottom of the bag. An Instructable posted by someone going for their Girl Scouts Gold Award (achieved!) suggests sewing the bottom of the bag – a sturdier and safer option than tying. Wild Onion also uses this method, as do many others – just go a Googling for your method and demonstration of choice.

I can’t remember where I found the method I’ve used here with the fringes but I had no problem finding others who have posted tutorials on the process: Tealou and Sweetpea; Recyclart; cutoutandkeepClever Wren; and plenty more no doubt.

I also liked this T-shirt version of the string grocery bag by Pascale posted back in 2010. I think this was the first T-shirt bag I saw. Pretty gorgeous styling too. Parisian.

My pattern is a mix of a couple of these ideas, but basically cut off T-shirt sleeves, cut out neckline, cut fringe, knot fringe. I follow the shape of a plastic shopping bag by folding the side seams into the body of the bag by about 3cm and knotting the fringes beneath to keep this shape. Just seems a better shape and a bit stronger on the sides of the base of the bag. But not a huge difference to the other patterns.

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