Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sweatshirt to Tote Bag Easy DIY Tutorial

I've been aching for some DIY time and finally pieced together enough kiddie naps to finish something :)  (BTW, don't get me wrong.  I adore my children with every part of my being but I have a bunch of DIY ideas bubbling in my brain and love it when I get the time to see one through).  This one is a result of a closet cleaning.  I found an old sweatshirt from Old Navy that I haven't worn in ages and I thought it would make a cute striped tote bag.

This is the finished tote.

See tutorial after the jump!
What I Used:
  • Old sweatshirt
  • Coordinating ribbon - I used 1.5" wide black grosgrain

1.  Lay out and flatten your shirt.  Cut straight across right under the sleeves for the body of your tote

2.  Cut a rectangle (the biggest one you can manage) from the back of your shirt.

3.  You should now have the tote body from step 1 plus the rectangle from step 2.  The rectangle will serve as your tote bottom.

4.  Center your rectangle to your tote body (unfinished side) and pin tote bottom in place.  It's easiest to pin the longer sides first and then pin the short sides.  Now sew where you've pinned it.

5.  Cut your tote handle from your sleeves.  I sewed my sleeves together to form a 35" by 5" rectangle and folded it in half long ways (wrong side out).  I then sewed the long edge and flipped it inside out (right side out). 

6.  Attach your tote handle to each side of your tote.  I sewed 2 lines of stitching for extra security. 

7.  (Optional Belt Loops)  I cut 2.5" x ~0.75" pieces for each of the 4 belt loops.  Fold in half long ways (wrong side out) and sew down the long edge.  Flip inside out and sew onto tote.

8.  Thread ribbon through belt loops.  Bag can be used as tote (as seen on the left) or ribbon can be pulled to cinch the bag (as seen on the right).

Voila!  You're finished!

If I were to do this again, I think I'd shorten the strap but I'm going to keep it as is for crossbody usage.  What do you think of this kind of tote?  Yay or nay?


  1. WOW! GREAT JOB ON THIS! This is really cute. :D


  2. this is so adorable!! i love it. that's nice that you're getting a little time for you, now :)

  3. Very cute look!!

    I love your new header and Etsy logo!!

  4. OMG, this tote is just so cute.


  5. This is a great DIY project!!! I love it :) and if and when I have time I will def try it out :) You def have the gift of doing crafty arty things :)

  6. This is so cute!! Looks so easy to do. I must try it one day.

  7. WOHA - this is one fantastic DIY! I have a similar tote from AE but I had to pay $22 for it; what a great way to recycle old things - I really should give this a try.

    The only TV I watch is The Walking Dead and Law and Order SVU (occasionally). I'm not one for TV - I prefer video games :P

  8. WOW!!! This is amazing, there is definitely no trace of what was once a sweatshirt! And I love the bow, your DIYs are great :)

  9. WOW!!! You did a great job!!! It's a beautiful tote right now!!!

  10. that is such a cute bag to carry around! Love it the cinched way! :-) Glad you are getting sometime for yourself!

  11. super cute bag! i love that you added a bow. i'd love to see you style it with an outfit!

  12. Hehehe love this bag! I love the nautical stripes and the bow detail! So adorable! In love...LOL

    Not sure if I have said this already but love the new layout!

  13. This is the cutest thing ever! It doesn't look like it was derived from a sweatshirt at all. The addition of the bow is awesome.

  14. Adorable tote/crossbody bag, SPG. Modeling photo soon?

  15. Thank you ladies!! I hope to do more refashioning types of tutorials - it just seems like a great way to reuse existing items rather than buying something new (though I have a weakness for that too) :)

    Jean - Thanks! Yes, I'll definitely have to do a modeling pic. I keep forgetting about bags when I take photos :smacks head:

  16. I'd love to see how it looks full of your pocketbook items and wearing on your shoulder? How does it drape and how large is it exactly..measurements (finished across and top to bottom without measuring handle).. Really cute thanks so much. Wondering about size for child sized tote.

    1. Hi! I left my tote in the office for the holidays, but will measure and get back to you!

  17. Love it. I had to read it a few times, but I finally figured it Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Whoops, sorry for any confusion, but glad you took the time to re-read :)


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