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Tee bags: a tutorial to recycle a tee shirt into a shopping bag

Tee-bags is the name of my 10 year old’s new business. A tee-bag is a tee shirt, recycled (and washed in hot water!) into a reusable shopping bag! He has granted me permission to offer a free tutorial on how he creates shopping bags using t-shirts!

Since his dad (my DH) owns E-cycle Group, a green business recycling printer cartridges, DS1 is very excited to follow in his dad’s green footsteps with his own recycling business. Not only is he preventing the tee’s from becoming landfill, he is also providing an alternative to the age old question, paper or plastic!

A bonus is that the bags are machine washable, which is a nice option to have when you go to the farmer’s market and get bits of lettuce and onion skins in the bag! The tee-bags also fold up to stuff into your purse or glove compartment–so they are convenient to use, which is a key component to making recycling part of your lifestyle.  For more tips on recycling and environmentally friendly choices, visit the eCycle Group Cafe blog!

He was able to obtain free tee shirts from our local Freecycle organization (note: Freecycle is an entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving and getting stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills) He was also able to pick up unsold tee shirts from a local rummage sale.

After a quick lesson on my serger, he was able to whip out some bags. His BFF worked on the marketing end, providing a beautiful poster, as well as rigging up a wagon for a portable display. Their proceeds go towards a 6th grade (next autumn) field trip.
This morning, I took the boys to the local Farmer’s Market, to test the waters. They sold out within one hour!! The boys are really excited, and are already back at work in my studio, getting Tee-bags ready for next week!
Here’s a quick tutorial for making your own tee-bags:
(DS1 says to tell you that first, wash the tee in hot water, to get rid of any germs.)

Turn the tee shirt inside out, line up the bottom hem, and sew or serge the bottom edge together, just above the tee shirt hem.

Line up the sleeves seams and cut off the tee shirt sleeves. It works best to cut off the sleeve seams!

With the shirt still flat, cut out the neck: cut close to the neck ribbing at the sides of the neck

then cut a “scoop neckline” including the back of the tee shirt in the scoop.

Here’s what it looks like when all the pieces are cut off. Knit jersey (tee shirt fabric) doesn’t fray, so you don’t have to hem any of the cut edges!

Turn the bag right side out, and go shopping!

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