I orderd a some (okay a ton) of Threadless t-shirts this week since they're have a $10 shirt sale. Since I've been making shirts all week I thought I'd give a little go at a tote. All the steps are really detailed since I originally wrote this for another t-shirt recon site.
I started off with a XXL Guys "Shakespeare Hates Your Emo Poetry" Tee.
And I cut out all the pieces. For the pattern, cut a rectangle the size you want the finish bag to be and add a little 1-1/2 inch wide rectangle tab to the bottom center.
(1)Shirt: Cut 2
(2)Lining: Cut 2
(3)Interfacing: Cut 2
(4)Strap: Cut 1
(5)Pockets/Key Fob: Optional. Use leftover t-shirt matterial to make up pockets
Okay. Here's where I get on my soap box. PLEASE USE INTERFACING! No matter what kind of bag you're making, interfacing is key to making a top quality, durable, professional bag. It's really not the difficult to do,it just takes extra time. I use iron-on Craft Fuse interfacing, cost about $1.50 for a yard, which should be more than enough for one bag. Place the wrong side of your lining fabric to the shiny side of the interfacing. Using a dry and hot setting, slowly move your iron around until the two pieces are fused together. That's it! Promise you'll do it?
By now you should have your two pieces of lining fused with the interfacing. Nows the time to sew on any pockets or tags you have to one side of the lining.
Now place both lining pieces RIGHT SIDES together. Sew where the red lines are - the side and bottom. Make sure you leave a gap at the bottom big enough to put your hand through so you can turn the bag out later.
Now bring the open corner at the bottom together so that it forms a closed corner. Sew a line across this.
Sew the outside of the bag the same way as the lining but DO NOT leave an opening at the bottom of the bag. Place the outside of the bag inside the lining with RIGHT SIDES together. Here that means placing the Shakespeare quote to the piece of brown WITHOUT the pockets on it. Sew all the way around the top of these two pieces.
Remember the opening you left in the lining? Reach your hand through and grab the upmost corner and start to turn the bag out like you would when making a pillowcase.
When you have it pulled through it should look like this
Push the lining toward the inside. Topstitch around the opening.For the strap, fold it in half hot dog style and sew down the opening to make it a tube. I have one of those loop turning devices (Dritz makes them for like a dollar and some change - best money you will ever spend) to turn it right side out. Top stitch down the sides. Fold raw edges under and sew the strap to the side, make sure to sew an "X" in the middle. And voila! That's it!
I added a little key ring to the inside since I always loose my keys. Also there's a way to sew the straps in when you sew the lining to the outside so you don't have to topstitch them on, but I always forget to do that and end up sewing them on afterwards.