DIY: Sweatshirt Market Tote Bag

Turn a Sweatshirt into A Tote Bag
This sweatshirt was no longer as slouchy as I would like (one too many tumbles in a too hot dryer…yep!) and was languishing unloved in my wardrobe. So I thought I’d turn it into a handy little market tote, (complete with reinforced handles) ready for my next shopping trip… here’s how….

Turn a Sweatshirt into A Tote Bag

Start by pressing and laying out flat with shoulder seams lined up….

Turn a Sweatshirt into A Tote Bag

Cut off the sleeves using the seams as a guide…

Turn a Sweatshirt into A Tote Bag

Cut a big “U” shape out of the neckline…

Turn a Sweatshirt into A Tote Bag

Turn inside out, remove ribbing, sew opening closed (I curved my corners), then turn right side out again….

Turn a Sweatshirt into A Tote Bag

Now for the handles. Cut 2 x 7″ sections from the ribbing you just removed….

Turn a Sweatshirt into A Tote Bag

Fold in half lengthwise and serge (you could also zig zag or stretch stitch) all the way along the open edge. Look what it does! Cuurves into a perfect handle shape!

Turn a Sweatshirt into A Tote Bag

Feed one side of a handle through the tube…

Turn a Sweatshirt into A Tote Bag

Secure/stitch the 2 handle/strap pieces together…

Turn a Sweatshirt into A Tote Bag

Then slide the tube of ribbing over the join to hide it and distribute evenly. Repeat for both handles….

Turn a Sweatshirt into A Tote Bag

and you’re done!

The beauty of this is that it provides a little more structure and support to what would otherwise be rather stretchy handles, which has kinda what put me off the idea of T Shirt bags in the past. Plus sweatshirt fabric is sturdier to begin with. I think this bag could take a few fresh apples and bananas without breaking into a sweat (unintentional pun 😉

Do you use reuseable shoppers? Handmade or shop bought? My worst habit is actually remembering to take them with me to the shop…doh!

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25 Comments

  1. Rita February 23, 2015

    A fantastic idea!
    I use reusable shoppers, but they are not that pretty hmmm… like this.
    I have to make some!

    Reply
    • portia February 23, 2015

      Thanks Rita! Be sure to show me if you do! Px

      Reply
  2. Toria February 23, 2015

    Fantastic idea! I’m so pleased to have discovered your blog 🙂 This would be perfect as a bag for chucking my daughters’ bits and pieces in when we’re out and about. I like that it’s sturdy too; I’ve made a bag from a vest top before and it was pretty useless with being so stretchy.

    Reply
    • portia February 23, 2015

      Exactly my thoughts. Who wants their free range eggs being bungee’d into the pavement, right, lol?!

      Reply
  3. Willo February 24, 2015

    Wow,how much fabric could fit in that bag

    Reply
    • portia February 24, 2015

      Quite a bit I should think! Px

      Reply
  4. Anne February 24, 2015

    Awesome bag!! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post that links to your tutorial here:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-sweatshirt-market-tote/2015/02/24/
    –Anne

    Reply
    • portia February 24, 2015

      Thanks Anne! Px

      Reply
    • portia February 26, 2015

      Thankyou Anne 🙂 You are awesome!

      Reply
  5. Kate February 24, 2015

    Great idea – thanks so much! 🙂

    Reply
    • portia February 24, 2015

      Shucks! You’re welcome Kate 😉

      Reply
  6. Timi February 25, 2015

    What a great idea!!! Thank you for the tuto!!!

    Reply
    • portia February 25, 2015

      Thank you Timi! Glad you like 🙂

      Reply
  7. Ginger February 25, 2015

    Clever!!! I’ve got a grease-stained sweatshirt that I’ve been mulling over a refashion for some time… this will be just the ticket, I think!

    Reply
    • portia February 26, 2015

      Patch pocket from the leftover sleeves could hide the grease marks? Or maybe some abstract appliqué over the affected area with leftover sleeve fabric….hmmmm…

      Reply
  8. Carol March 3, 2015

    HOW COOL!!!!!! I will be making these. I always need a sturdy bag to carry all my work stuff in. THANKS! Carol

    Reply
    • portia March 3, 2015

      Ah you’re welcome Carol

      Reply
  9. Penny Mann March 5, 2015

    What a brilliant idea.
    I am going to go through my husbands wardrobe now to see what sweatshirts I can make bags out of – hehehe!!!
    xx

    Reply
    • portia March 5, 2015

      Couldn’t possibly condone that Penny, he he 😉

      Reply
  10. Tina Barner March 10, 2015

    I have been very leery of anything “stretchy” and was quite afraid to even try! However, this tutorial is so incredibly easy and awesome, I can’t wait to get started! I like to get materials from a local thrift shop as you can recycle just about anything. I am, however, only looking for pillowcases and now sweatshirts! Thanks SO MUCH for this awesome idea!

    Reply
    • portia March 10, 2015

      You’re welcome Tina! I thoroughly approve of your choice of shopping venue! 😉 Px

      Reply
  11. Mania May 4, 2015

    this is soooo cool!!!!!!!

    Reply
  12. MALIKA February 8, 2016

    Good idea.

    Reply
  13. Susie June 26, 2016

    I love this and want to make it! However, I got confused when you referred to feeding the handles through the tube. I didn’t know what tube you were talking about. Can you explain what or where it is?

    Reply
    • Portia Lawrie June 26, 2016

      Hi Susie! Apologies for any lack of clarity. The tube(s) I refer to are the handles made from the ribbing in the previous step. Does that help?

      Reply

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