BuyNothing Upcycling: A No-Sew T-Shirt Bag

By Rebecca Rockefeller & Liesl Clark
Reducing textile and clothing waste is one impactful way we can each make a difference as we participate in BuyNothing. Among the top 10 items in our list of "50 Things We Never Buy", from our book The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan, are reusable cloth bags. These are the bags you bring with you to go shopping so you don’t have to use a store’s “paper or plastic.” Most reusable bags are made of microplastic textile fibers and we believe you never need to buy these. If you don't have any reusable bags for grocery shopping, you can always ask for them in your BuyNothing gift economy, or make your own.

Rebecca’s no-sew T-shirt bag takes 10 minutes or less to make, and is a simple alternative to the plastic and paper bags found in stores.
Rebecca’s No-Sew T-Shirt Bag:
By repurposing a used t-shirt and cutting down on single-use bags, this T-shirt Bag is a Buy Nothing win-win.

● Cut off the sleeves of an old T-shirt to make the outside edges of the bag’s handles. You can turn these into rags; these are especially good for drying glasses, both the kind you read with and the kind you drink from.

● Cut off the neckline to form the bag’s opening and the inside edges of the handles. Set the neckline loop aside for another use - I love to use these around my journals, as head or hair bands, and to tie up my tomato plants in the summer.

● Does your t-shirt have a turned-over and stitched hem at its waist? If so, you can cut it off and save it with the neckline to make this next step easier.

● Fold the shirt flat on a table and take the right and left corners of the bottom in hand. Tie them together in a square knot (right over left, then left over right) to form a closed bottom for your bag. If they’re too short to tie, use that neckline loop to gather and tie them together on the inside or outside of the shirt (either works, pick the look you like best). Your bag is ready to use.