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Upcycled t-shirt flat bottom drawstring bag pattern

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Upcycled t-shirt flat bottom drawstring bag pattern

Upcycled t-shirt flat bottom drawstring bag pattern

Another way to wrap your gifts without buying wrapping paper that will end up in a landfill! I couldn’t resist these silly holiday shirts at the thrift store but they weren’t the right sizes for me or my husband, so they got chopped up.

flat bottom bag tutorial                    

This is similar but not the same as a smaller drawstring bag I upcycled from a tshirt earlier this year – this one sews up more quickly and the flat bottom is a better fit for larger bags/tshirts because it can sit upright with larger gifts instead of just laying flat.                                        

elf upcycle sewing project

I added beads to the ties on the second version, aren’t they festive!

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tutorial Upcycled t-shirt flat bottom drawstring bag pattern

Ready to make your own?

Tutorial for sewing a drawstring bag from an upcycled tshirt


  • Iron
  • Acrylic ruler [Shop: Amazon ]
  • Rotary cutter [Shop: Amazon ]
  • Bodkin [Shop: Amazon ]
  • Dritz Ezy-hem
  • Narrow ribbon or cording for the ties; I used plastic canvas cord here [Shop: Amazon] (lighter/fray check if desired for the ends)
  • Wonder clips  & pins
  • 1 tshirt 
  • Marking pen – here I used a white clover chaco marker [Shop: Amazon ]


tshirt christmas craft

Step 1- Chop off the sleeves, neckline, and hem to make a rectangle. Keep it as balanced as you can – most tshirts seem to have the design pretty high up so keep as much of it as you can!

metal iron hem tool

Step 2– With the “right side” (aka the one with the design) laying down, iron a hem back towards the wrong side that’s 1/2″ wide. Then sew it down on both sides, from top to bottom.

top hem drawstring bag

Step 3– Iron the top hem down for both front and back, 1/2″ down. This will eventually become the casing your drawstring goes through.

drawstring beginner tutorial

drawstring tutorial step

Step 4– With right sides together, clip almost all the way around on both sides and bottom, folding in the top hem on one side -see pictures above. you won’t sew through this the whole way, just barely catch the bottom or go right under it.

sewing drawstring bag

Step 5- Once the bottom and sides are sewn, re-fold the top hem (future drawstring casing) that you already ironed and sew it down around the entire way right along the edge. This will leave the open end of one side looking like the above!

box corner tutorial

correct boxed corner

Step 6- Time to box the corners! Wiggle the corner so the seams are matching up and laying flat on the same side, pin, and then mark off about 1.5″ down from the corner tip. Use a BASTING stitch (as long as it will go) and sew along the line you marked. Turn it right side out and make sure the seams match up as shown. Turn it back wrong side out and sew with a smaller stitch. Check one more time and then chop off the excess corner. Repeat for the other bottom corner.

threading drawstring

Step 7- Time to thread the drawstring! Use a lighter or fray check to burn the ends so they don’t fray and pull it through carefully.

upcycled drawstring holiday bag

Step 8- Ta da you’re done! This pulls the drawstring out one side and has nice boxed corners at the bottom.

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