I had crafts on my mind as soon as my husband told me he was getting rid of his old dress shirts and ties -- I just hand't figured out what to make.
After much thought, I decided to make a lined tote bag out of one of his shirts and to use a neck tie as the handles. It was my husband's idea to add the tie to the front. I just love how he gave me a tie clip too!
One large button-up dress shirt
Lining fabric (about 1/2 yard)
One neck tie
Stiff iron-on interfacing
Sew a seam along the buttons so that you can no longer button and unbutton the shirt. There should be seam already there for you to follow.
Measure two 15x16-inch squares of the lining fabric. Do the same on the dress shirt, but make sure the buttons are centered at 7.5 inches. The shirt pocket may need to be sacrificed a little bit.
Cut the interfacing a little bit smaller than the body of the bag and iron it to the wrong sides of the exterior fabric.
Turn down the top edge of all the bag parts by one inch.
Sew the edges and bottom of the exterior fabric, right sides together. Do the same for the lining.
Iron open the seams. Turn exterior fabric right side out and slip the lining inside it (keeping it inside out)
Pin the top edges together, making sure the lining doesn't poke out above the exterior.
Now you'll need to figure out how long you'll want your necktie straps. Add an inch to each side of the strap once you know how long you prefer it. Cut the tie into to equal lengths. One strap will probably be wider than the other because the tie is tapered, but I think it's cool that way!
I measured two inches out from the center buttons and pinned my first strap in place, nestling the raw strap edge between the lining and exterior fabrics. I eyeballed the second strap based on the placement of my first.
Make sure the straps are equal lengths by holding the bag the way you normally would. Make adjustments if necessary.
If you'd like to add the tie to the front, measure how long you'd want it to lay and add 1.5 inches. Set the raw edge between the lining and exterior fabrics and pin in place so that it sticks up and away from the bottons. You'll be sewing a seam and the tie will flop over, hiding the seam.
Sew all around the edge of your bag, leaving a one-inch seam allowance. Sew another seam all the way around, but very close to the edge.
If you'd like more photos or would like to know how to give your tote a flat bottom, visit my blog posting at http://knitnatak.blogspot.com/2011/09/i-just-nearly-had-heart-attack.html
(I'm not sure why Blogger decided to label the link the way it did, but it will take you to the tutorial).