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How to Make Closure Strings for No-Sew T-Shirt Tote Bag

Learn how to make an old t-shirt into a no-sew tote bag with designer Jennifer Wiese in this Howcast video, part 3 of a 4-part series.


Now that we have the handles of our tote bag made, it's time to make the bottom portion. To do that you need to take your sleeves, or else we have these tiny little short sleeves here, which is fine. No matter what size sleeve you have you'll be able to make your closure. What you want to do is cut a strip out of the sleeve that we're going to use to tie off the bottom of the bag, and what I like to do is to cut off the sleeve hem.

You'll see right here the hem of the sleeve, and I want to cut just to the side of it, so that I keep that stitching in with the hem. We'll cut all the way around. Now if you're working with the T-shirt that for some reason that does not have a hem, you can make the same tie out of the body of the sleeve, that's fine. This is what it looks like now that it's cut off, but if you want to go ahead and make your tie out of this portion that's fine too. I like to use the hem because it's a little bit stronger, the fabric is less likely to rip because we have that stitching on the hemline, makes a little sturdier bag. And what you're going to do is just cut it open, like so, so we have a string, and then we're going to thread this string through the bottom of our T-shirt. You'll notice at the bottom of your T-shirt you have a hem, and basically it's just the end of the fabric folded over and sewn. So all you're going to do is take some scissors and slice a little hole right into the bottom of your hem.

Now you'll notice we have a tiny little opening we've created that allows us to put our tie through this casing, so you can go ahead and take your shirt and lay it down, go back to the tie that we've made, and this is where the safety pin comes in. So take your safety pin, at the end of your tie, and just thread it through, close the safety pin up, and you're going to use the safety pin to help feed this tie all the way through your shirt. So to do that you'll start at one end of your opening, and you're just going to put the safety pin in, and work your way through the casing that you've made, pulling your tie through. Now as you are doing this, because our tie is not as long as the T-shirt casing, you need to be careful about losing the end in the casing. If that happens, you'll have to start over, so just be mindful of that as you go along. Now you can see it's kind of bunching up here, which is good, we don't want it to fall off the end of our tie. So you can just kind of pull it through and keep going.

All right, we've come to our second side seam, so it's helpful if you'll just kind of push down from the bottom of the hem, kind of open the casing up a little bit, and that helps the safety pin go through much quicker, and here is our safety pin. So we want to pull the tie through, so now we have the two sides of our ties are through our casing, and now we're ready to finish the tote.

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