Tuesday, September 23, 2008

t-shirt bag

t-shirt bag

i've vowed several times in the past many years to stay away from cheap disposable one-season clothing and focus on quality, timeless pieces. well, i try, but it's been a struggle lately, and somehow an embarrassingly high percentage of my wardrobe comes from target (hey, did you know you can just wheel that whole damn cart right into the dressing room, toddler and all? that's on a good day. most of the time, i just pull things off the rack, try them on at home so i don't have to do it while juggling kids, and return what doesn't fit. lame. you can imagine how well this plan is working for me.)

well, i have big plans. i've been holding off until my body figures out what size it wants to be post-baby, but shortly i plan to equip myself with, say a minimum of two pairs of pants that fit (up from my current total of zero -- it's summer, i've been relying on those roughly three skirts i have. seriously sad.) this time around, i really want to commit to avoiding disposable clothing. i'm sticking to timeless styles, remaking old stuff i have around or that i find resale, or sewing. eek! i've always wanted to have a wardrobe of clothing i've sewn, and have never managed more than a few pieces at a time. of course, now i have less time than ever... so i think i may have to ease into this, but stating the goal is a good a place to start as any.

so, in an effort to clear out some room in my closet, i pulled down a whole stack of t-shirts that are all from 2004 or earlier. remember? back when we were made to believe that it was hopelessly frumpy if the hem of our t-shirts so much as grazed the tops of our jeans? well, i saved all my t-shirts then when i switched into maternity clothes, thinking i'd wear them again some day. i'm pleased that i've more or less fit back into them since then, but lo and behold, they're... short. now it's really important that our t-shirts not only sit squarely below the tops of our jeans, but it's ideal if they extend nearly to the thigh. perfect. and, unlike the hemlines of my mother's day, i can't just raise or lower my t-shirts so that i can keep wearing them. you would have thought t-shirts were more or less a basic item, not so affected by the whims of fashion. but were that so, how else would they get us to buy all new t-shirts every two years?

stack o' t-shirts

lesson learned. that's why i'm not playing that game anymore (as best i can avoid it, in any case.)

all this to say that i used laughing purple goldfish design's strip cutting technique to attack those short t-shirts, and while i was over there, got inspired by her crochet bags. i will say, i didn't bother with the pattern (too lazy to walk over to the computer and remind myself what it was, though i would have been better off if i had), so mine is just made up. luckily, it's the sort of thing you can make up while sitting on the floor attempting to have a conversation with an old friend, as two babies and two kids swirl around the room (we had house guests this weekend, which was really too much fun.)

a few details: i cut the strips 1 inch wide (might go narrower next time?), and used a N hook. (i'd read the metric size for you off said hook, but my daughter took a liking to its novelty-like giant goofiness and now it's somewhere among her things, i'd guess.) i did it single "strand", which kept the colors distinct and formed a stripe pattern (so to speak), but using thinner strips and crocheting double-strand would give a different look if you like. the handles were a twisted rope sort of thing formed by the loops cut off the bottoms of the shirts (to avoid having to deal with the thicker hemmed fabric). i opted not to line it since it's so stretchy, i wanted to go with that rather than work against it with a lining. also, it's heavy. really heavy. just something to keep in mind.

so there you have it. my too-short shirts have become a just-right-sized bag. i like how the colors worked out, but really it's not that surprising. after all, i did choose all those shirts once upon a time. really, the surprising part is that it's not all just shades of green.


Diane Gilleland said...

This is so beautifully done, I would have never recognized it as t-shirts! That little t-shirt applique on the front absolutely kills me. Great work!

Liz Keen said...

This is really a neat idea. I really do like this. I would love to learn how. These would make great gifts.

Cath said...

Great bag, it looks gorgeous. Do you think I could do the same thing but knitting? I want to try rag bags but I'm not very good at crocheting. I need to practise it but until then I'd love to make a knitted rag bag. Do you think it'll hold? :) I've some old t-shirts here lying around too!


Jean Marie said...

What a great idea! My neice makes these bags out of plastic store bags, for the beach. I'll have to show her this!

Kristy said...

Now that I've used this bag for a while, I think it bears mentioning -- it's pretty heavy, just the bag itself, due to the thickness of the knit fabric. I still use it often, but it's not for every application -- find something else for your library books. :)