Category Archives: Made from T-Shirts

Simple Hobo Drawstring Backpack


I’m going to be making at least 60 of these bags for a women’s event in March. I wanted to be sure my concept size would be appropriate for holding a full sized folder, Bible, water bottle and a few personal items before I made all of them so IΒ  whipped up just one. Luckily, my prototype was perfect!

In a nutshell, I cut a long rectangle 13X36 inches. I folded the rectangle right sides together and pressed down 1/2 inch on the 13″ sides.

Then I folded it again 1 inch and pressed again. Repeated for the other 13″ side.

Now, the top part will be the casing for straps so if I was using a t-shirt I could leave the edges raw. However, this is woven cotton. So I unfolded my presses and pressed in 1/4 inch on each casing end then redid my folds so that the raw edge was hidden in the casings.

Next I stitched the casings in place. Then I stitched together the upper bag sides with my regular machine. I switched over to my serger at this point and finished the sides. After turning right side out, I stitched two dime sized circles on the bottom corners through both layers of fabric.Β  This was stay stitching for where I threaded through the straps in the last step. Alternately an eyelet could be used but that would raise the cost and not look as “hobo” as I wanted.Β  I used a seam ripper inside the circle to create a 1/4 inch gash. Then I cut two strips from cotton jersey, 2″ X 60″ each. T-shirts could have been recycled for this at a slightly lower cost but yardage was more convenient for making so many bags. Jersey doesn’t have to be finished and it very comfortable for weight bearing straps. Using a safety pin, I threaded one strap through one side of the casing and all the way around and out at the same side it was inserted. I did the same with the other strap on the other side. The last step was to pull the strap ends through the backpack gashes and tie knots to secure. Strap length is easily adjusted by trying on the backpack and pulling the straps to cinch. Then just retie the knots higher and trim the excess.

I will try to add pictures for these steps as I work on more bags in the next few weeks. πŸ˜‰


Finished Diapers


Just some shots of the finished diapers for my sister’s baby. πŸ˜‰

I kinda forgot to photograph some of the large ones but they were just plain blues and browns. I still owe her the covers and I’ll be working on those today.Β  πŸ™‚

And more diapers


You are so sick of posts about diapers right? I have more interesting projects coming up. Right now I’m dealing with a need issue as my toddler has outgrown all her medium diapers and has only 12 large diapers. That’s too few for my liking. So I again copied Motherease and made a paper pattern of the One-Size style diaper.

I had a $2 cut of stretch terry from the thrift store that yielded 3 diapers and overnight soakers . I used a pink t-shirt for the binding and they turned out not too horrible. πŸ˜€

Just wanna say again how much I prefer snaps over velcro. When babies are small, the velcro is fine. As they get to be toddlers they like to undo the velcro just for fun. It drives me crazy. But these will be overnight diapers so we shouldn’t have that issue since she’ll be sleeping in them.

100 t-shirts into cloth diapers


How’s that for a title? I was going to call this “The super big project I’ve been working on” but it just wasn’t as catchy. πŸ˜‰

My sister is having her first baby and informed me that she wanted to use cloth diapers. Yay! So I promised to make them for her as the baby’s gift.

Well, I decided to make 18 smalls(7-11lbs), 18 mediums(10-22lbs), 4 covers, and 36 cloth wipes. Each diaper required 3 cotton t-shirts. I needed 9 t-shirts for the wipes. So that’s over 100 tees needed. Luckily I know a church thrift that sells them for $.10-15 each. It’s a significant investment of time finding the tees, since there are just piles of clothes to go through, but I enjoy treasure hunting. πŸ˜€

So the last few weeks I’ve cutting all the pieces needed for this project. Each diaper has 4 pieces. The soakers for each diaper need 8 pieces. Wipes are 2 pieces each. All in all I needed about 500 pieces cut. They’re almostΒ  all cut out now(just a dozen inserts left) and I’ve have started sewing.

I need to finish by Thanksgiving.

Work in progress:

Frugal Baby Gift Basket


I only had a couple of day’s warning to put together a nice gift for an expectant mom. I love baby showers and I love making gifts for babies so I felt no pressure at all making something on short notice. I spent a couple of days assessing what materials I had on hand and the time I would have to work(seems like there’s less and less of that these days).Β  I had such a therapeutic morning assembling this gift! With a good plan and a supportive hubby I was able to get this gift done with plenty of time to spare.

The first gift made was a tie dyed onesie. It’s supposed to be black with accordion folds but I forgot that black often comes out purplish. It’s been a long time since I’ve dyed anything! It’s a gift for a boy so I thought I’d better make it look more boyish. I quickly downloaded some clip-art and printed it on iron-on transfer paper. Adorable and gender neutral! It’s also much darker in person.

Next up was a crinkle tag toy. This one was insanely easy to whip up! I saw it somewhere on my internet search for frugal baby gifts but I can’t recall where. But basically it’s 6 bits of folded ribbon, 2 6X6 inch squares of flannel and a layer of plastic in between. It took about 8 minutes to make it and I had to fight my 11 month old to keep it for a gift. She was really loving it!

Last was the bucket to present the gift in. I had posted a tutorial for this project on my old blog but that blog is, sadly, no more. 😦 It’s pretty simple though. You cut 4 exterior and interior pieces 6.5X8.5 inches and 1 interior and exterior pieces 8.5X8.5 inches. Assemble the exterior box by sewing together the 4 exterior side pieces face-to-face on the short sides to form a bottomless box(like a box kite). Then attach the 8.5 inch square to the botom face-to-face.

Repeat steps with interior pieces.

Place right side out exterior box on flat surface and insert right-side-out interior box.

Starting an inch down from the top edge, sew in-the-ditch on all four corners.

Cut a square of cardboard to fit the bottom of your box and slip it in down one of the sides. Then cut 4 cardboard pieces to fit the sides(1/2 inch shorter than the top edge of your fabric).

When your cardboard pieces are all in you can fold in the outer and inner edges, pin and sew shut.

I’ll make a tutorial again one of these days. I wasn’t thinking about it this morning or I would have taken pictures of my work in progress. Duh!

Anyway, I added handles and a little pocket on the front to slip an index card into. That way the bucket is reusable as a nursery organizer. πŸ˜‰

I added aΒ  Baby Gap hat I picked up on clearance, tissue paper and a recycled card festooned with a recycled ribbon.

All in all this gift cost about $5 and 2.5 hours of crafting.

More homemade fitted diapers from t-shirts


I used the Fern & Faerie pattern again to make some medium sized diapers. My little one grew out of the smalls in 4 weeks. I guess then that smalls fit 8-12lbs. I think the smalls would have fit longer if the side flaps were larger. So I enlarged them for more waist room when making the mediums. I also skipped the top stitching. So far I don’t see it affecting functionality.

It took 22 cotton knit clothing items to make 7 diapers and 14 inserts. Notions cost $2.50.

Sequined T-Shirt Gift Bag and Fix for a hole in a Tee


Another gift bag I made from a couple of t-shirt scraps. I made a quick ribbon from my scrap box. This is a single layer bag but I think from now on I’ll be doubling up when I use tees for gift bags. The extra layer will support large/heavier gifts and prevent a lot of the stretching that happens with knits. It will also help the bag last longer in its second life. πŸ˜€

I also did a quick(hence the messiness)reverse applique fix for a big hole in the front center of one of my son’s tees. It’s a bit sloppy but it works.