Accessories Style

No-Sew Tote Bag

I want to get back. I am currently experiencing a serious case of holiday-hangover, and it’s probably no wonder since I left behind 26°C and a crystal clear blue sky for 11°C and rain. I could cry. I guess everybody knows this feeling, and it’s only been a week, but one of the most beautiful ones of this year so far (there are still many things to come, but this vacation set the bar pretty high).

So what’s left? A stack of wonderful digital reminders that I have to see this place again someday, about 2-3 kilos more on my hips and a strong craving for Italian wine and food. That’s a lot for the beginning of a week, but ask me in a week and my head will probably and sadly be swamped with work/uni/unimportant things again. I do have to begin planning for my next vacation…

Anyway, since I have been back since Saturday the time for crafting has been pretty limited, but I was lucky enough to have a quick project in my head which requires no sewing machine and little time:

You need:

  • Old shirt
  • Sharp pair of scissors
  • Fabric colour in white
  • Paintbrush (coarse and fine)
  • Sheet of paper
  • Xacto knife

tote-1Start by designing your own ‘hipster’ logo either by drawing it by hand or using a design program. Or you use a funny quote, or anything you like. I used Photoshop for my design and printed it out on an A4 paper. Use your paper knife or xacto knife to cut out the negative form of your design, i.e. your stencil. Attach it to the front of the shirt with adhesive tape.

tote-2 Take the paintbrush and carefully paint your design. Try to hit the surface with your brush from above so no paint will come under the stencil. Repeat this process a few times until the paint covers the fabric sufficiently. Let it dry, then carefully remove the stencil and fill in the blank spaces with a finer paintbrush and fabric paint. As the details (for example the dotted line) were too small for the stencil I painted them by hand. Let everything dry and set the paint by ironing the shirt (instructions are on the paint).

tote-3Now for the easiest part: Cut off the neckline to make it bigger, then cut off both sleeves, making the holes just as wide as the neckline-hole. Cut off the hem as well.

tote-4Cut small stripes into the hem of the shirt (same length) and knot together two at a time with a double knot. Proceed with the rest of the strips. Done!

This has been one of the easiest ways to reuse an old shirt, and instead of throwing away (it was about time) I get to use it for grocery shopping. I’m always happy when I can save something from the trash, so I’m especially happy about this little project. You can easily do this in ten minutes if you leave out the design, and it’s a perfect little gift as well. Hope you are inspired!


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  • Avatar
    Hanna Marie
    24th May 2016 at 6:13 pm

    This is such a cute DIY idea –Hanna Lei

    Latest Post: TapaReef Sunscreen Remover Towelettes + GIVEAWAY

    • Michelle
      25th May 2016 at 9:01 am

      Thanks a lot!

  • Avatar
    Trang Do
    26th May 2016 at 8:27 am

    Wow! Such a cute idea! Looks amazing!
    Kisses and hugs from {a lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and food blog}

    • Michelle
      29th May 2016 at 7:13 pm

      Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Beauty Follower
    31st May 2016 at 8:27 am

    Such a great idea!

    • Michelle
      2nd June 2016 at 6:18 pm


  • Avatar
    Annie Abbey
    8th June 2016 at 1:57 pm

    I love this! I have seen a few similar tutorials but they kept the fringe on the inside and cut it, I love the idea of letting it hang off!
    xx Annie

    • Michelle
      9th June 2016 at 5:48 pm

      Thanks, I’m glad you like it 🙂

  • Avatar
    Jan Limark Valdez
    10th June 2016 at 10:34 am

    Great job <# let's live for the Tote life =)

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  • Reply
    DIY | Safety Pin Statement Sweater - Make&Mess
    27th March 2019 at 5:01 pm

    […] it looked like a whole new sweater! I just love repurposing old clothes, just like I did with my No-Sew Tote Bag or my Patched Denim Jacket. That one was my grandpa’s, and now it’s one of my favourite […]

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