T-shirt Tote Bags and Drawstring Pant Leg Pouches are a great way to participate in this year's national Sewing Month. They are easy to make and eco-friendly to boot.
President Ronald Reagan declared September as National Sewing Month with the issuance of Proclamation 5368. The home sewing industry at the time of the proclamation consisted of around 50 million women and men.
The home sewing industry has taken some hits over the last couple of decades. It has also seen growth in the areas of crafting and home decorating. The people who love to sew, however, have long recognized the sense of satisfaction and pride that comes from creating a unique and special handcrafted item.
The trend toward eco-friendly, green living has drawn even more attention to home sewing. Many people are now repairing worn items that might have been sent to the trash heap in the past. According to nationalsewingmonth.org, this year (2009 - was) the perfectly timed theme of National Sewing Month is "Reuse, Remake, Restyle."
The fabric from T-shirts that don't fit right or pants that have ripped beyond repair in the seat area can get new life by being made into something else. T-shirt Tote Bags and Drawstring Pant-Leg Pouches are two easy to make and useful craft ideas that fit perfectly with this year's National Sewing Month theme of "Reuse, Remake, Restyle".
Making t-shirt tote bags is a great, nearly free, way to get eco-friendly tote bags for shopping - or anything you might need to carry. Some t-shirts shrink so much when washed that they can n longer be worn. Sometimes a keepsake t-shirt gets outgrown before it wears out.
The supplies needed are an old t-shirt, sewing machine with universal or ball point needle installed, scissors, pins, and thread.
Lay t-shirt out flat. Pin bottom edge in three or four spots. Cut just inside of the sleeve seams. As close as possible to the neck edge, cut straight across - or as close to straight as you can without ruining any logos on the shirt front. Sew across bottom edge closed with a zigzag or stretch stitch. Pin or mark 2-3 inches up from the bottom.
Turn shirt inside out but only to the marked fold at the bottom edge. Make sure the folded edge is tight against the side. Run a side seam down the edge of the shirt even though it probably didn't have one before. Make sure to catch the folded edge because this will form a boxed bottom on the bag to make it slightly stronger.
To make the straps cut the sleeves into 3" strips at the longest edge. Fold in so raw edges meet in center. Sew folds closed and top-seam the other side. Sew the straps onto the bag but make sure the seam is about an inch down because when the top edge of the bag is finished the finishing seam should catch the strap as an extra reinforcement.
Drawstring Pant Leg Pouches are even easier to make than t-shirt tote bags. Pouches make good gift bags for anything long and slim.
The supplies needed to make Drawstring Pant Leg Pouches are Sewing machine, drawstring cord or ribbon, scissors, and thread. Cut the hem off of the pant leg. Add 3" to the desired length of the pouch. For example, if a 12" pouch is needed cut the pant leg at 15". Turn the pant leg tube inside out. Sew the bottom edge shut with a ½"seam. Fold the top edge down 1/4 "and sew with a loose stitch. Make 2 buttonholes close together just inside of the seam. Fold again at 2". Sew right on top of ¼" seam line. Insert drawstring in one button hole, going all the way around the 2" seam, with it coming out the other. If more color is desired, try fabric paint or an iron on appliqué.