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Crafty Friday: Turn your unworn Mariners tee into a grocery tote

They don’t call me the crafty lefty for nothing (note: no one actually calls me that)

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Seattle Mariners
so many t-shirts being worn the first and only time
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

If you are like me and attend a bunch of games, you probably have a stack of Mariners-related tees taking up space in your dresser drawers. And if you are like me, you probably don’t wear all of them all the time, or even some of the time, or like, at all. I love the King’s Court, but look terrible in bright yellow, leading to a range of variously-hydrated tees that I can’t get rid of for sentimental reasons all taking up space in my t-shirt drawer, where space is already pretty limited. So this off-season I decided to start hacking these t-shirts into things I’ll actually use or wear, and provide instructions here on the blog in case it’s something you’d like to try. We’re starting with a pretty easy project, so don’t be afraid to jump in even if you don’t have a ton of experience with sewing. All you need to know how to do here is trace a basic pattern and sew a straight stitch, and all you really need are the most basic tools: fabric scissors and needle and thread.

First, take the t-shirt you’re working with, turn it inside out, and lay it on a flat surface. I picked a King’s Court shirt with a big, strong graphic that I wouldn’t wear on my body, but think looks really cool on a bag. I use a cutting mat because I use a rotary cutter, but good old-fashioned fabric scissors will work too. (You do need fabric scissors. Regular ones won’t...cut it.) You will also need a fabric marking pen (a sharpie will work) and a plastic grocery bag to use as a pattern. You will not need a helper-cat.

Trace around the grocery bag. I extended mine down a little lower than the actual bag.

Cut the neck off the shirt first. You’ll notice it makes sort of a soft “w” shape. Next cut the sleeves off the shirt, and then fold the shirt in half to make sure the edges line up, trimming as necessary. Cut the bottom off the shirt.

This is the only part that is even a little tricky: measure four inches in on both sides of the shirt and mark the dots on each side. Then, grasping the left corner of the shirt, fold that corner in to meet the dots on the left side of the shirt, creating a little accordion-style pleat. This is so the bag can expand when you start filling it with goodies.

Pin this pleat in place, and then pin across the bottom of the shirt. Pin the sleeve hole up about halfway (put your arm through the bag handles to get a sense of how high up to pin; it will vary).

Sew the bottom of the bag up with a double row of stitches for extra durability, leaving a seam allowance of 14 inch. A sewing machine is the easiest way to do this, but you could do it by hand while you’re watching TV or something; just make sure to keep the stitches close together for strength. Sew an extra row of stitches in on the shoulder seams for extra strength. Sew the sides up as well. If you want a more polished look on the raw edges of the bag, you can finish the edges by just rolling them over and zigzag stitching (or hand stitching) around the edges.

That’s it! Take this baby out on the town when you go shopping. Chained to a drawer no more!