Monday, July 11, 2011

Shirt Sleeve Bag Tutorial

I guest posted on My Own Road with this tutorial a few weeks ago as part of Jen's Button Down Rehab series. I asked my husband for a shirt, but he reminded me that he had just donated a whole bunch of shirts to the Salvation Army, so I had to make a trip to Goodwill, where I found an awesome orange plaid men's extra-large short sleeve button down shirt. It looked so summery that I couldn't pass it up. At this point, I still didn't know what I was going to do with it, though. I spent days thinking about it and finally decided that I wanted to make a bag, but it wasn't until I actually started cutting the shirt apart that I came up with the idea for The Shirt Sleeve Bag...


Cute huh? All I did was cut the sleeves off the shirt, open them up along the underarm seam line, and sew them together with a lining. Simple as that. Want to see how it's done? I thought so...

Materials:
  • short sleeve men's extra-large button down shirt
  • lining fabric - about 1/2 yd, depending on the size of your sleeves (You could use the back of the shirt, but I used a contrasting fabric to make the tutorial pictures easier to understand.)
  • fusible fleece - about 3/4 yd, depending on the size of your sleeves
  • wooden bag handles (I used 6" bamboo D-shaped handles)
  • coordinating thread
  • rotary cutter or scissors

Instructions:

Step 1: Cut the sleeves off of your shirt right along the seam.


Open your sleeves up flat by cutting each sleeve open along the underarm seam. Cut off any serged edges along these open seams.


Step 2: Using your shirt sleeves as templates, cut out two pieces of lining fabric, one for each sleeve.


Step 3: Using your shirt sleeves and lining pieces as templates, cut out 4 pieces of fusible fleece, one for each sleeve and each lining piece. You do not need fleece along the "flange" that sticks up along the top of each piece (the actual sleeve hem)... see the picture below.


Following the manufacturer's instructions, apply the fusible fleece to the wrong side of each sleeve and lining piece.

Step 4: Take one sleeve and one lining piece and line them up with right sides together. Using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew along the top ("flange"). Press the seam open. Repeat with the other sleeve and lining piece. You will end up with two of these...


Step 5: Take your sleeve/lining pieces from Step 4 and place them right sides together, matching the sleeves together and the lining pieces together. Pin all the way around. You are going to leave three different openings when you sew your bag together. The first opening will be along the bottom of the lining so that you can turn your bag right side out. Leave about a 4" opening. The other two openings will be along the side seams where the sleeve meets the lining. These openings should be 4" long each and be centered where the sleeve meets the lining. Make sure to backstitch at every spot where you begin and stop sewing.


Sew all the way around using a 3/8" seam allowance, leaving openings as indicated above.

Step 6: Clip the corners and turn the bag right side out through the hole in the bottom of the lining. Press, tucking in the raw edges of the opening in the bottom of the lining. Sew the opening shut close to the edge.


Tuck the lining inside the bag and press.


This is what you should have so far...


And let's take a moment to check out how well the plaid lines up along the bottom and the side...
That was pure luck. I totally did that on purpose.

Step 7: Now to tidy up the other two openings that you left in Step 5 and create a casing for the handles. This is the tricky part. Take your raw edges along one opening and tuck them in. Pin in place. Repeat for the other opening on the opposite end of the bag.


To close up the opening, you are going to sew up one end until you get to the existing shirt sleeve hem, then sew along the existing shirt sleeve hem, then down the opposite end of the bag. Hopefully this picture makes it clear...



Repeat along the other side of the bag.

Step 8:  My bamboo handles were one piece, so if you buy handles with a removable rod across the bottom, you can skip this step. I needed to create an opening along the bottom of my handle in order to insert it into the casing. A little investigation showed me that the handles were just glued at one point along the bottom. I gently cracked the glue, only to find that there was a metal rod joining the two ends of the bamboo together. With a little gentle pulling I was able to pull one end of the metal rod out so that I could slip my handle into the casing of the bag.


After inserting the handle through the casing in the bag, just slip the metal rod back into the hole on the other end of the bamboo. Repeat for the other handle.

Congratulations! You just made a cute bag out of shirt sleeves!






I'm linking up...

sew many waysTodays Creative Blog

14 comments:

Charisa said...

I followed you from Skip to My Lou. What a cute idea!

Andi @ Jane of all crafts said...

Clever girl!! You always have the most creative ideas!! I am actually going to Goodwill today, may have to look in the men's section. thanks for the inspiration!

chris said...

This was such a great idea, Gwen. I love being able to reuse things. :)

Sandy said...

I have some bamboo handles in my stash looking for a place to land ... think I just found it! Thanks so much for the inspiration.

Beverly @ FlamingoToes.com said...

This is so cute and creative Gwen!! I love the shirt you chose too - that orange plaid is perfect for summer! Thanks for the great idea!

Karima said...

That is great, I love upcycling things. Now google and pinterest following, please pop by, Karima x
www.karimascrafts.com

Carissa said...

What a cute little purse! (and so clever to make it from repurposed shirt sleeves)

I found you through the Made By You Monday link party and am your newest follower. Come check me out, too, if you're interested @ Carissa's Creativity Space

Jen @ My Own Road said...

You've got talent girl! Love the bag!

KAT said...

OOOoooo I love it! great instructions
KAT Griffin

The Hobbit said...

Thanks so "so darn crafty" I'm finding crafters like you!! Looking forward to following your blog.

nest full of eggs said...

so clever !!! these type of repurposing projects are the best !

April said...

this is adorable! I love it!

Michelle L. said...

I love the shape of this bag - soooo cute! What a great repurposed project!

Linda said...

Hi I Really Like your great tutorials!!!

I Link to you on my Blog,

http://paneamoreecreativita.it/blog/2011/07/raccolta-di-progetti-di-cucito-creativo-per-lestate

Thanks for sharing :-)

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