Saturday, March 23, 2013

Race Shirt Tote Bag Tutorial

A few weeks ago I posted about a tote bag I made from my Disneyland Half Marathon race shirt. If you're like me and your shirts are just hanging in your closet, here's a tutorial to make your very own race shirt tote. If you have questions, leave a comment. :)

Apologies in advance, I forgot to take some pictures, but tried to explain it as best as I could. There are also no measurements because you may have a different sized shirt to start with. 

Finished product vs original shirt

Materials Needed:
- Race shirt (mine was a small)
- Fabric for lining (~ 1/2 a yard)
- Heavy interfacing (~ 1 yard, for shirt layer and lining)
- Matching thread (I used white to match the lining and for contrast of the outside)

First, lay your shirt down flat. I ironed mine on a low setting (too high and the tech fabric will melt) to get out some small wrinkles. Cut off the sleeves (save them- you'll need one of them for the "runDisney" logo later). Cut off the collar of the shirt. To maximize the size of your tote bag, cut as close to the seams as possible. 

Iron on heavy interfacing to the back side of the front panel of the shirt. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture.) Make sure to cover as much as possible. 

Fuse the heavy interfacing to the back as well. 

Next, measure around the logo of your shirt. Be sure to add a couple inches to the bottom to account for the boxed corners. At this point, measure your back panel. You need to make sure the back panel can be the same height as your logo piece. I.e. If your logo piece is going to be 9" x 9", your back piece should be at least 9" tall x the width of the original shirt. 

Cut out your logo piece. 

Unfortunately, this is where I got carried away with making the bag and forgot to keep taking pictures...

I trimmed the back panel to the same height as the logo piece. From one side, I cut a piece the same size as the logo piece. Measure the remaining fabric and divide that by two to create two equal pieces. Don't waste any fabric or your bag won't be as big. 

You should have 4 pieces:

Cut off the "runDisney" logo from the sleeve (or any other little touches you want to add). I zig zagged around it. The top left corner of the logo piece has some of the original seam from the race shirt. 

*More missing photos... Sew all four pieces together in this order:  

Logo piece + skinny piece + Back panel + skinny piece

Use lots of pins! The tech fabric is slippery! 
Then sew the Logo piece to the last skinny piece to create a big tube. 

Match up the seams- the skinny pieces should be the sides and the logo and back panel should match up.  Sew the bottom of the bag. You'll have the outer layer of your bag. 

Sew boxed corners on the outer layer of the bag. I measured ~ 1" in from the corner, or 2" across. 
Making boxed corners: Pinch the corners so that the bottom seam matches up with the side seam. This is more difficult with how I made the tote because there aren't any side seams to go by. You can estimate or iron your sides down to create a guide. Then measure 2" across, marking a line perpendicular to the bottom seam. Sew across. Don't trim the corners off. Instead, fold them in and tack them down. It'll provide more shape and stability for you corners. 

Make your lining. (No pictures for this either...) Iron the heavy interfacing to your lining fabric. Cut pieces slightly smaller than your outer layer. I only cut two pieces, instead of the four for the outer layer.
Note: don't sew the bottom seam all the way. Leave a 4" opening to flip the bag inside out.
Box the corners as well. Fold them in and tack them down. 

You should now have your outside piece and lining, both with boxed corners. Flip the outside and insert your lining piece. They should fit snuggly together. 

Sew straps for your bag. From the lining, cut two pieces 24" long by 4" wide. Fold in half and iron, then fold the sides in to line up with the crease. You should have two long skinny pieces that are 1" wide. Top stitch along both sides of the strap. 

Flip the lining and outer layer inside out again, sandwich the straps between the layers and pin. Sew along the seam. Back stitch over the handles for extra strength. 

 Flip right side out through the hole in the lining. 

 Sew up the hole in the bottom of the lining. 

And you're done! 

Some pictures of what my finished product looked like. :) 


  1. I love this idea! I wish I'd found it before I got rid of so many shirts.

    1. It's super easy as well. I'm sure you'll collect more shirts soon!

  2. I love it! I wish I had that shirt! 3 of my 5 runDisney race shirts are white. :(

    1. :/ I'm not a fan of white shirts, though they keep you cooler than a black shirt. What races are they from?