Take-along T-Tote

T-Shirt Tote

Like your favorite tee-shirt, this tote bag is just the right fit for so many occasions. Take it to the beach, the pool, on a picnic, shopping, or use it as a diaper bag.

The bag is made of reclaimed 100% cotton yarn from an unraveled thrift store sweater. And, like your favorite cotton tee, it is so soft and comfy. Tee-shirt strips are woven into the rounds of double crochet stitches to add stability, structure, and color.

Sizes and Materials List …
Size: Body of tote = 16” tall x 14” wide , Tote plus handle = 25” tall x 14” wide

US K/10 ½ (6.5 mm)

Yarn: Unraveled 100% cotton sweater, bulky weight
Colors &
Approx. Yardage

Yarn: Off-white, light tan, approximately 200 yards

Tee-Shirt Strips (Tarn): Various colors cut from adult-sized Med/Lg t-shirts, 2 ½” W x width of t-shirt

Notions Yarn needle
Stitch marker
Sharp sewing scissors
Gauge: Not important for project, Model gauge 10 sc sts and 6 rows = 4”/10 cm
Skill Level - Easy Download pattern in PDF format
Notes …
Reclaimed Yarn

Unraveling sweaters in order to reclaim the yarn for other projects is a rewarding, green craft. Not only does one save money while harvesting yarn from sweaters, oftentimes knitted/crocheted with fine yarns, but the environment benefits as well. See http://www.neauveau.com/recycledyarn.html for a wonderful tutorial on unraveling sweaters.

There are several tutorials on making tarn (strips made out of tee-shirts). However, for this project I simply laid the t-shirts on a flat surface, making certain to smooth both layers, and cut across in approximately 2 ½” strips from left to right side. Rotary scissors and a straight edge are not required for this project as the strips will fold in on themselves when they are woven through the stitches.

Stitches Used Chain (ch)
Slip Stitch (sl st)
Single Crochet (sc)
Double Crochet (dc)
Abbreviations Around (arnd)
Each (ea)
Rounds (rnds)
Stitch(es) (st / sts)
Together (tog)
Yarn over (YO)
Special Stitches

Sc two together (sc2tog)

Insert hook into next st, YO, pull through, insert hook into next st, YO, pull through, YO, pull through all loops on hook.

Instructions …
Bottom Gusset
Base Chain Ch 35.
Row 1 Working in the back bumps and starting with the 2nd ch from the hook, sc in each chain bump across. (34 sts)
Row 2 Ch 1, turn, sc in each sc across, do not finish off at last st of last rnd, but continue on with instructions for the sides.


Round 1 Begin side, ch 1, rotate 90 degrees, (working in row ends sc 7 sts evenly spaced, working in front loops only sc in ea st across) twice, join last st to first with sl st. Place marker. (82 sts)
Rounds 2-5 Ch 1, sc in ea st arnd. (82 sts)
Rounds 6-27 Ch 3 (counts as 1st dc), dc in ea st arnd, join with sl st. (82 sts)
Round 28 Ch 3, dc in ea st arnd, join with sl st.
Round 29 Ch 1, sc in ea arnd.
Round 30 Ch 1, sc in next 2 sts, (sc2tog, sc next 8 sts) arnd. (74 sts)
Round 31 Ch 1, sc 2 tog, (sc2tog, sc 8) arnd. (64 sts)
Round 32 Sc in ea st arnd, finish off.
Straps (make 2)
Base Chain Ch 37, leaving long tail for sewing to tote.
Row 1 Working in 2nd ch from hook and in back bumps, sc in ea ch across. (36 sts)
Row 2 Ch 3 (counts as 1st st), turn, dc in ea st across. (36 dc)
Row 3 Ch1, sc in ea st across, finish off leaving long tail for sewing to tote.

Finishing …

Weave tee-shirt strips (tarn) through the rounds of double crochet, alternating colors as desired. Tie the ends in a simple square knot and cut the ends off, leaving about 1 “ to form a bow shape, as in photo. Repeat for all dc rounds, alternating placement of the bow knots.

For strap, weave tee-shirt strip through row of dcs, leaving several inches at the ends. Carefully cut strip down the middle just to the last dc. Weave 1 of the cut sides through the last dc. Tie the 2 ends together to form bow knot.
Add Straps: Lay bag flat on surface, to locate strap placement, count 8 stitches inward from the side edge & pin strap starting at 8th stitch, sew strap securely along top edge of bag. Repeat for other side & for 2nd strap.
Pattern and photos © Nancy Anderson