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Groovy T Shirt Tote

By: Barbara Matthiessen for Earth Safe Finishes

Why go green and sacrifice style?  With this Groovy T-Shirt Tote, there's no need to.  This bag is made from recycled and earth-safe materials so feel free to strut your stuff and be groovy.

See this project and more T-Shirt sewing projects in 9 Ways to Transform Old T-Shirts, a free eBook to download!


  • T-shirt any size
  • Thread to match shirt
  • Earth Safe Finishes
  • Fabric Magic
  • Generation Green Acrylic paint in Glacier and Sunflower
  • Black fabric marker
  • Wine cork
  • Sponge (I prefer smaller celled sponges.)
  • Palette
  • Sewing machine with stretch knit stitch
  • Scissors
  • Sheet of scrap cardboard


  1. Cut bottom of shirt off even with bottom of underarm seam. Cut off sleeves. Cut strip across width of shirt just under neckline. This will create 2 pieces for tote handles.

  2. Slide a piece of cardboard into bottom section of shirt. The cardboard will keep any paint from seeping through to other side of shirt. Pour small puddles of both paints out onto palette. Mix 2 drops of Fabric Magic into each paint. Dip cork into Glacier paint for each flower center.

  3. Dip side of sponge into Glacier paint. Press one end of sponge onto Glacier center then roll or press sponge outward forming a petal.

  4. Repeat 5 or 6 times working around center to form flowers. Add flowers as desired, refer to project photograph.
  5. Dip cork into Sunflower then onto flower centers. Allow paints to dry.
  6. Outline flower petals, add dots around centers and in clusters of threes using black marker.

  7. Turn painted shirt section inside out. Stitch across bottom using matching thread and a stretch stitch. Turn½” hem to inside along top edge, stitch down.
  8. Fold sides of strips (Handles cut from shirt in Step 1.) into center.

  9. Most knits will automatically roll inwards with gentle guidance. Stitch down length of strip.

  10. Sew ends of handles next to side seams. Each handle will span one side of tote with ends on opposite side seams. Shown is one side turned up into position it will be used and other end as it is stitched.

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This is a bag I've got to make. It would be the perfect bag to take to the lake to put shells and stones in for my jewelry projects!

Another amazing craft to do with T-Shirt. I am loving these ideas on recycling. I really like this tote. It is so simple and you use almost the whole shirt except the sleeve.I love that you even included how to paint the flower in the instructions. That is such a big plus. Anyone tried this yet? This is a for sure project for me.Thanks.

Wow the flowers look so easy to make, such a nice detail, I can't wait to try!

I think its neat going to try it:)

I like the easy steps and the ability to use this pattren in different colors. It is very cute and can be changed just by adding my on ideas for decorating.

Very cute.I even like the green.

Thanks for the step-by-step photos. Very helpfull. More please!!


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