Sunday, March 24, 2013

Green Grocery Bags

My sister has been organizing swaps through Facebook.  Sometimes I've been able to join in, and sometimes I haven't.  The swap she coordinated for March was The Green Swap.  Because this swap fell during my spring break I was able to join.

I'm not sure what she had in mind when she picked green (I'm thinking she was probably influenced by St. Patrick's Day) but when I think of "green" I think of "eco."  I wanted to come up with something that incorporated the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra that I live by.  The project I decide on--t-shirt bags--is by no means original (Martha Stewart featured this in 2007, and I'm sure they are all over Pintereset), but because I used my own t-shirts, it is unique.

You start by cutting the arms off a t-shirt.
Then you cut out the neck.
Most of my t-shirts had a higher neckline, so I used a plate to trace a half circle cutting line.  You want the neck to be open enough to get stuff into the bag.
Then (and I don't have a picture of this part) you turn the shirt inside out and sew the bottom shut.  I think we can all imagine what that looks like.  You end up with a big cotton grocery bag.
I thought about zig-zagging the raw edge of the handles so they don't unravel like Lindsay Lohan on court day, but I didn't.  For one, it seemed like a lot of work for the dozen bags I made.  And two, I've never noticed a problem with t-shirt fabric unraveling before.  Most guys have (unfortunately) made muscle t-shirts out of regular t-shirts, and those always (unfortunately) hold up well.

The best thing about these grocery bags is they are washable, unlike the bag that most grocery stores sell (the ones made out of recycled soda bottles).  I also love that they take something that might have gone into a landfill and made it useful.  I think using t-shirts like this actually extends their life longer than if I had dropped them off at a charity store, where they would get used for a bit and then thrown out.  And I love having unique bags at the grocery.

And the whole whack of them, waiting to be packed up and sent along to the fabulous ladies in the swap.
I would love to go shopping with these colorful bags!


  1. I have been wanting to do this project for a while now. It is nice to see someone I know do it. I also wondered about the edges unraveling. Thanks for posting this one.

    1. You should definitely try it! I think youth-sized t-shirts might be the best size, since these are a bit large and might be too heavy (depending on what you stuff them with). Everyone in the swap loved them, too. They would make great Farmer's Market bags, since you could easily wash out the dirt from the fresh-from-the-ground veggies.