I recently posted instructions for making your own t-shirt yarn. Now you’re probably wondering what to do with that t-shirt yarn. It’s very simple: Make a t-shirt tote bag.

t-shirt tote

A tote bag is the perfect project for homemade t-shirt yarn. You don’t really need to worry if some of your t-shirt strips are bigger than others (mine were!) and the more multi-colored your project, the more interesting it is. It’s perfect for library books, a trip to the beach, or your gym clothes, since you can easily put it in the washing machine. (Warning: It will take quite awhile to dry!) For this project, you’ll need a big old Q hook and of course, your t-shirt yarn. As I said in my instructions, it’s easy to add on yarn once you’ve gotten started, which makes the color changes easier. I also worked on a few rows to get an idea of how much yarn I would need, then cut more accordingly. It’s super-easy to adapt to what you want, and it’s a super-easy project: single crochets all the way!

What you’ll need:

Q hook

T-shirt yarn (for this project, I used white and rainbow stripes)

A vacuum (the t-shirt yarn creates lots and lots of little fuzzies that will get everywhere!)

Stitches used: 

sc=single crochet


Time needed for project: 

Eh… It’s hard to say. Working with such bulky, and sometimes inconsistent yarn may take some getting used to, not to mention the added time to stop and make more yarn. But once you get the hang of it, I’d say you could finish in 3 or 4 episodes of The Crown on Netflix.

t-shirt tote in progress

The pattern

With your Q hook and white t-shirt yarn, ch 18

Rd 1- sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch, 3 sc in last. Working on the other side of ch, sc across, 2 sc in last ch (36), join to 1st sc, ch 1

Rd 2-18- sc in each st, join, ch 1

My color pattern:

Rds 1-6: white

Rds 7-13: color (one row each of each of black, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple)

Rds 14-18: color

Handle: For the handle, I added one strip of each color to create a multi-colored handle

Rd 19: sc 4, ch 20, skip 10 sts, sc in next 8, ch 20, skip next 10 sts, sc in remaining 4 sts, join, ch 1

Rd 20: sc in 1st 4 sts, 24 sc in ch 20 sp, sc in next 8, 24 sc in ch 20 sp, sc 4, join, fasten off.

t-shirt tote and hat