Small purse from a dress shirt

A quick upcycle sewing project

Upcycle a men's dress shirt into a cute small purse with a front pocket | suzerspace.com

Recently I became the new owner of a really nice sewing machine (thanks mom!).

I hadn’t been sewing lately, so I didn’t really have much of a stash of fabric to work with. But Mr. SuzerSpace has recently lost quite a bit of weight, and he had a nice pile of old shirts in the give-away box. I decided to spend a rainy weekend morning cutting those shirts into usable sections. I didn’t have any real projects in mind – I was just looking to square up large sections and salvage interesting bits (cuffs, button plackets and buttons, etc.)

One particular shirt had a pocket on the front, and suddenly I had a quick project idea.

I didn’t use a pattern for this – I just centered the pocket left and right and cut straight down on the sides until the material could no longer be straight (the shirt had tapered seams, so I cut off above where that started). So the width of the bag was determined by that measurement.

To chose the height of the bag, I folded the material to simulate the bottom and then adjusted the top edge until I could fit in what I wanted (my wallet, phone, keys and sunglass case).  I added a bit more for seam allowances, boxing the corners and general sewing mistakes 🙂 , and then trimmed carefully.

I pressed down a hem on the short sides, and sewed it with a straight stitch. I turned the wrong sides together and sewed them on the long sides to make a bag. This quick tutorial helped me remember how to make a box corner. For the handle, I used the buttonhole side of the button placket – I stitched each short end inside to the side seam. I topstiched around the entire top to catch the handle again and to give it a nice finished edge.

This little bag is perfect on weekends when I only need essentials, or I can drop it into my backpack during the week to keep those items separate from all my other work items. I’m definitely going to make another (there were several shirts with pockets!) – next time I’m going to step up and tackle a lining.

Featured at Snickerdoodle Create Bake MakeI was featured at Craft Schooling Sunday

9 thoughts on “Small purse from a dress shirt”

  1. What a sweet little bag, a lining with a contrast shirt next time might look great. I love projects that upcycle an old thing into a new thing . Thanks for sharing with us at #HandmadeMonday

  2. I’m totally going to try this. I live in a city condo and take my pug for walks all the time, and I need to take my glasses, phone and keys each time. This would be perfect! thanks!

    1. You should totally try this – it’s all straight seams so it’s super easy. And as a former dog walker, I know this would be a good accessory. Maybe you could make one of those cute pug collar bow ties from another part of the shirt?

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