T Shirt Gift Bag Upcycle

T Shirt gift bag an easy upcycling idea

The personalised book wrapped in this gift bag was gifted to me by In The Book.

Today I’m bringing another recycled gift wrap idea, a fun and fairly easy way to wrap a gift from things you already have. Less waste, less needed to buy new more all the time! Win win!

Today’s idea is a reusable gift bag made from an old t shirt. This is a really simple sewing project.

Our son’s had a bit of a clear out of old t shirts the other day, I have quite a few from them so you will see more t shirt upcycling ideas here on the blog in the coming months! Waste not want not as my nan used to say!

This cartoon t shirt had a few of those annoying little holes on the front, I think they are caused by a metal belt buckle rubbing on the fabric. The truth is that this t shirt has had these little holes for quite some time but as they were small and not really noticeable our son kept wearing it round the house. They’ve finally got a bit too big to ignore so he passed it to me for upcycling.

t shirt before.jpg

To turn an old T shirt into a reusable gift bag you will need:

  • An old T Shirt

  • Scissors

  • A sewing machine and thread

  • Ribbon

Lay the T Shirt flat on a smooth surface.

Cut a rectangle from the ‘good’ section of the shirt. You want to remove the neck and sleeves and any part that is damaged or holey. You are cutting through both layers of fabric.

turn an old t shirt to a reusable gift bag

Place your 2 pieces of fabric right sides together and pin in place. Use A LOT of pins. T shirt fabric tends to move and stretch so a lot of pins will really help with this.

Stitch around 3 sides, leaving the top edge open. Remember to do a few back stitches at the beginning and end of your stitches to make it secure.

I found the best stitch is a long stitch - I used 3 on my machine - and a slight zig zag, I used just a 1 on the zig zag setting. The top tip for stitching this T Shirt fabric is to GO SLOW. If you do that you massively reduce the risk of puckering and bunching up. Honestly, the slower the better, it really makes all the difference.


Turn the bag the right way out and that’s it - you’re done already! I told you it was simple :-)

Pop your gift inside and tie the top with a length of ribbon.

how to make a reusable gift bag from an old T Shirt

I found some lovely Christmassy printed ribbon in my ribbon stash. I never throw away stuff like this so have usually got something that will do. I must have saved this from a box of chocolates or something similar a few years ago. It has to be at least 2 years ago because you can see this ribbon in some of the photos I shared when I talked about how I got my extensive ribbon stash under control!

upcycled gift bag from old t shirt

The book I wrapped in this recycled T shirt gift bag is another from In The Book. This is one from their hard backed babies book selection. Super cute isn’t it? This book is personalised throughout with the name you add appearing on each page. Finley is much too young to read the blog here so I’m definitely not spoiling any surprise for him by sharing here!

thomas book.jpg

In the Book are currently running a competition on their Instagram right now, it’s all about coming up with creative ways to wrap a book and you could win a year of Disney + ! How exciting, you have until 20th December to enter.

turn an old shirt into a reusable gift bag

This is such a simple sewing project it is ideal for beginners. If sewing is a hobby you’ve always fancied having a go at then I’ve got a whole load of information in an article about “What you need to get started sewing” where I list all the essentials that you’ll need.

Do you have any old holey t shirts that could be turned into reusable gift bags? They are really simple to make.


I’ll be sharing this idea at these link ups