Friday 21 April 2017

Easy DIY Shirt Sleeve Drawstring Bags ~ Tutorial

Last month I showed you my ever so easy to make travel storage bags sewn from the body of a button down shirt. What did I do with the sleeves? Today I'll show you how I quickly repurposed them into drawstring bags.

Half of the work is already done. All you need to do is form a top and bottom for the bag.

  • Cut the shirt at the underarms, or to the desired length.

The cuff opening needs to be about 2½" (6cm). I left mine at 3" (8cm).

  • With the sleeve turned inside out, sew across what will be the bottom of the bag - this is the top of the sleeve, NOT the cuffed end.
  • Neaten

You can leave the bottom like this, or box the corners like I've done. 

  • Measure ½" (1cm) from the corner, in both directions and on both sides of the fabric.
  • Put a mark to show where ½" (1cm) is. 
  • Repeat for the second corner.
  • You will have 4 marks on the front and 4 on the back.

The bottom of the bag can be made wider simply by increasing the ½" measurement from the corners.

  • Pull out the sides of the bag and flatten.
  • Put a pin through the top mark. If the pin comes out through the mark on the other side, your boxed corner will line up. 
  • If the pin is not coming out through the mark on the other side, reposition the fabric until it does.

  • Take the pin out.
  • With a ruler, draw a line across the fabric.
  • Hold the fabric in place while you sew.
  • Sew across the line.

  • Cut fabric
  • Neaten edge
  • Repeat for the second corner

  • Working at the top of the bag (where the cuff opening is), fold over ¼" (½cm).
  • Press or stitch.
  • Turn 1" (2.5am) and stitch.

Thread a cord through the casing and that's it - you've finished. It'll take you much less time than to write up this tutorial.😊 

I originally intended to add these two bags to my collection of travel bags, thinking they'd be perfect for small items such as socks, or maybe even shoe bags. With two bags, I can carry one pair of thongs/sandals (flip flops). This is a women's shirt - of course a large men's shirt would accommodate more.

While taking photos, a wine bottle gift bag came to mind, too, hence the first photo.

However, I ended up utilising them as cutlery utensil bags on our recent trip to Coodravale Homestead and Canberra. They were the perfect size for carrying serving spoons.

Learn how to turn the sleeves of a button down shirt into a drawstring bag - upcycle, refashion - tutorial at Threading My Way

This is such a quick and easy project. Since making these bags, I've already made another set which I'll show you soon.

How would you use shirt sleeve drawstring bags?

I'll be adding my shirt sleeve drawstring bags to both the Drawstring Bags and the Reusing Shirts & Ties link parties here at Threading My Way.

... Pam


  1. what a good way to use shirts that are past their best. Thanks for the tutorial

  2. Your tutorial pictures look so professional Pam. I envy your skill. It always looks so nice.

  3. I love a good upcycle! What a hoot, using a bag for the serving spoons - that's quite brilliant, and who hasn't taken that particular cutlery to a potluck and had them either misplaced or competely lost? We don't drink much wine, so I would probably use them for ... spoon bags, like you did, or for goodies for the greats or neighbour kids - they'd get such a kick out of a shirt bag :D

  4. BTW - I agree with Shirley, above - you DO have mad photography skillz! (skillz are hipper than skills, hehe :D)

  5. I love all the uses you find, how wonderful to receive a bottle of wine in one and they are perfect for packing shoes to go away without making your clean clothes dirty. A lovely upcycle.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #Trash2Treasure

  6. There is no waste in TMW world Pam :) Another great upcycle.

  7. Great idea!! I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for tomorrow that features your tutorial: --Anne

  8. I love this because its so easy and practical! Visiting via sewcando link up! Have a Lovely Day!

  9. What a great idea. Love this Pam :) Thanks for linking up.

  10. Such an inspired idea, and a great way to repurpose shirt sleeves. Thanks for sharing.

  11. This is a great idea. I'll never discard any of my husband's shirts again...Thank you for joining The Really Crafty Link Party. Pinned!

  12. Another great idea, I love using up every part of an old garment. Pinning because I just KNOW I'm going to need this soon.

  13. What a genius idea! I've pinned it and would love if you'd come share with Party in Your Pjs tonight.

  14. This is brilliant! Thank you for sharing the tutorial!


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