As part of the shirt project the first item to be remade was this cute tote bag. Using the ten collars from the initial shirts a patchwork styled bag evolved.

Because the shirts were different in styles and sizes I decided to place the smaller ones to the top and the larger to the bottom. Luckily it all worked out.

How to make:

  • Sew five of the collars together, creating one panel of fabric, repeat for the back of the bag.
  • Place the two panels of material together and trim away any uneven sections on the left and right hand sides.
  • Use this as a template to cut out the lining for the bag. I used one of the darker coloured shirts to line the bag. Cut the shape x 2.
  • If you would like a pocket cut the size you want now x 2.
  • Decide on the length of your straps. I usually cut the strap 8” / 20 cm wide by the length required. You will need to join together pieces of shirt material to make the longer straps.


  • The easiest way to make the straps is to cut out, fold in half, length ways and iron. (Right side facing out) Turn in another fold on the front and the back, all the way along the newly ironed crease. Iron flat. You now should have a strip of material 2” / 5 cm wide x the length. Machine-sew along both sides of the length-ways edges.


  • Taking the two pieces of pocket material, place right side to right side.
  • Sew all around the piece leaving a small space to turn along the middle of one of the sides.
  • Trim away the excess material in the corners and turn right side out. Iron flat.
  • Taking one of the lining pieces place the pocket where you would like it to be in the finished bag.
  • Pin in position, if you place the unsewn section on the base of the pocket there will be no need to sew closed as you will be sewing over this area when attaching the pocket to the lining.
  • Machine-sew the pocket in place, leaving the space at the top unsewn.


  • Place the lining material right side to right side, sew along the two sides and the base of the lining. Leave aside.


  • At this stage I decided to add a flap to cover the top of the bag. Using one of the shirt cuffs I cut into two section, section one to go from the back to the front of the bag over the opening and section 2 (smaller) to be sewn in position on the front of the bag. Section 2 contained the button holes, I folded the raw edge under and machine sewed two lines parallel to each other securing it to the front of the bag. Leave aside the longer end of the cuff.
  • Place the outside of the bag right side to right side and sew along the two sides and the base. Turn right side out.
  • Attach the straps to the top of the bag. Measure in from the left and the right sides so as the straps are positioned equally.
  • At this point also attach the cuff section to the back section between the straps, ensuring that you have left enough length to comfortably button the cuff into the buttonhole sections on the front of the bag.
  • Pop the unturned lining into the bag, leaving a section over at the top. Turn a hem over the top circumference of the bag. You will initially have to turn the straps & the cuff down and then back up again. Sew the hem in position all the way around the top of the bag.

Shirt Collar Tote Bag

Front of the bag

shirt collar to tote bag

Back view of the tote bag.


  1. Pingback: The Shirt Project News | Missy Bonkers

  2. Pingback: Tutorial: Shirt collar tote bag – Sewing

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