Based on anecdotal evidence I’ve gathered at countless thrift shops, I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people come home from Disney with t-shirts that made sense at the time, but quickly lose their appeal once the vacation is over. For some reason this seems especially true of Eeyore shirts, but I digress.
If you’ve got some t-shirts like that yourself, or if you’re willing to scavenge the thrift shops for other people’s purchases, there’s plenty of ways to transform a discarded t-shirt into something you’d actually like to wear.
Cashing in on the green and DIY aesthetic of books such as Sew Subversive: Down and Dirty DIY for the Fabulous Fashionista and Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt, Simplicity has a “go green” line of sewing patterns which incorporate re-purposed materials. I made the bag pictured below using Simplicity 2972, using a t-shirt I’d found in a local thrift shop, an old pair of jeans, and about $4 worth of interfacing and lining. Strictly speaking, it’s not a Disney t-shirt…but this girl grew up with Disneyland’s Matterhorn, you know what I’m sayin’? And amusingly enough, I just so happened to finish the project on the Matterhorn’s 50th birthday.
Now, I do have a couple complaints about the pattern. For one thing, the packaging (of course) heavily stresses the “go green” angle, but only one of the five bags pictured is actually made from recycled materials. Also, while they tell you any men’s L or XL t-shirt will have sufficient fabric for the required pieces of the bag, this simply wasn’t the case. I don’t think even a XXL would have made it, as there simply wasn’t a long enough piece of shirt to cut the main front/back piece from. Instead, I needed to throw that old pair of jeans into the mix to have enough fabric, in large enough pieces.
But those quibbles aside, I’m quite happy with my bag. And actually I kinda like it with the denim in the mix, though making the straps was a little trickier than it would have been with jersey. (Also, the interfacing simply wasn’t necessary with the denim, which saved me a step or two.)
If I were to do this project over again, I’d likely use the t-shirt only for the flap, and perhaps use the rest of the t-shirt fabric as lining (more re-use, more better), using denim for the side pieces. I’m a bit concerned that the denim strap attached to the jersey sides of the bag may not hold up well over time, even with the interfacing to support the jersey. Or, I’d buy a couple t-shirts that color-coordinate and work well together thematically, and make the entire bag out of jersey (as Simplicity envisioned), but that would be a much slouchier bag than I prefer.