Sunday, January 21, 2018

Top to Tote

Back before Christmas, a colleague asked me to turn a shirt into a bag of whatever sort I could manage. She doesn't wear the shirt anymore but loves the print and wanted to make it usable. I originally thought it was a blouse, and was trying to think how I was going to do this without it looking like...well, a blouse. It wasn't a blouse, though, it was a fairly plain, not overly stretchy, knit shirt.

The shirt itself was an extra small petite. That is not a lot of fabric, but I cut oh so carefully to get as much usable fabric as I could. I used ShapeFlex 101 interfacing to stabilize the fabric for a small tote. I had just the right amount of ivory muslin, and a roll of black strapping whose purchase eludes me, in my stash. I love using things I have on hand.

From the body of the shirt, I was able to make an insanely easy tote. And from the upper sleeves I was able to make a front zip pouch.

The knit was actually thick for a knit fabric, so with the interfacing added these pieces turned out to be nice and sturdy, yet soft. It makes me regret a blouse I got rid of a few years ago because it didn't fit (buxom girl problems--I either play peek-a-boo with a certain area, or I look pregnant in others). The fabric was so darling it would have made a cute frame purse. Oh, well. Sometimes inspiration comes to us too late.

Both of these pieces took me maybe two hours total. Very easy, very satisfying sewing for a Saturday afternoon. I haven't really been feeling like sewing lately (I'm sure you've noticed), but I'm hoping this gives me a little motivation to get started again (as I do have ideas rolling around in my noggin).

If you'd like to make your tote or zip pouch, you can find the instructions for both by clicking on the 'Tutorials' tab and scrolling down.

Happy stitching!


  1. I love this! I haven't been into sewing lately either. Getting all the sewing gear out, puts me off a little (if the alternative is flopping on the couch with some crochet).

    1. I agree! Snuggling on the couch with yarn is a much more enticing adventure, lately.

  2. Great looking bags! I like that print on the shirt, so I would have wanted to re-purpose that shirt too. I am sure she loved it!

  3. You did exceptionally well with repurposed clothing! So cute, I'm sure your friend enjoys your talents!

  4. Great set, and a good use of the fabric. I have used old jeans, so now I need to look at some of the shirts around here.

  5. Greetings Bethany. While searching and searching for a particular zipper insert technique, I found your blog and the wavy top pattern. It's so wonderful of you to share. Hope to make it one day soon. Keep blogging, we're out here, albeit a bit slow.

  6. How cute! I've never thought of using knit for a bag- I should have thought of interfacing it!



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