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Did you know that each year over 500 billion plastic bags are thrown away by consumers worldwide? And that it can take up to 1,000 years for those plastic bags to biodegrade? Kristin St. Clair, one of the crafty minds at The Martha Stewart Show, came up with a great way to replace those troublesome plastic options and get a new life out of some old tee shirts hanging around your closet.

Check out how Kristin and Martha use a couple of heavy-weight cotton shirts and a SINGER® Confidence™ sewing machine to make cute (and reusable!) tote bags perfect for everything from carting groceries to shopping with friends. Check out our own version of the reusable tote with the Charlie Bag free pattern download!

Now that you’ve watched Martha work her magic, let us know what your favorite upcycling project is for a chance to win a SINGER® 7467S Confidence Stylist! You have until 9AM EST on Monday, January 31st to get those comments in and our winners will be announced on February 1st! Stay tuned for next week’s video and more awesome prizes from SINGER®!


SINGER® is sewing made easy™. To learn more about SINGER sewing machines and SINGER retailers, click here!

Tune-in to The Martha Stewart Show, airing weekdays at 10 a.m. ET/9 a.m. CT on Hallmark Channel.

SINGER, the Cameo “S” Design, MODEL NAME, SEWING MADE EASY and SINGER IS SEWING MADE EASY are exclusive trademarks of The Singer Company Limited S.à r.l. or its Affiliates. ©2011 The Singer Company Limited S.à r.l. or its Affiliates. All rights reserved.


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    Jan 10, 2011, 11.21 PMby melaniecout

    That’s a really clever idea, if we use a cami it is even more simple!!

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    Jan 10, 2011, 11.21 PMby berries53

    love to repurpose cardboard boxes! thanks for the tip.berries53@comcast.net

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    Jan 10, 2011, 11.17 PMby hovis1971

    I like upcycle old jeans into purses, totes, or pot holders. Great idea for t-shirts can’t wait to make some I am a t-shirt hog lol!

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    Jan 10, 2011, 11.09 PMby krawley

    Such a cute idea! I hate to wear t-shirts, but sometimes have them from organizations or events that I do want to show off. What a fun, and SIMPLE, idea for repurposing.

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    Jan 10, 2011, 11.08 PMby honolulukelly

    I use old clothing, blankets, rugs and fabric scraps to make small blanket pads which I donate to the Humane society for the animals they keep.

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    Jan 10, 2011, 11.08 PMby emmyloo03

    Great Idea. I like the idea of using the old shirts I can’t wear anymore, since I have lost some weight and they are too big, in a ‘green’ way. Plus, its more fun and has more meaning since you made it yourself!

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    Jan 10, 2011, 11.06 PMby alissaslagle

    Wow, how cool and simple is that!

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    Jan 10, 2011, 11.04 PMby thestoryofkat

    one of my favorite upcycled projects is a quilt of old t-shirts…all my memories of high school trips, track, and orchestra are now in this one quilt! recently, i’ve been learning how to felt old sweaters…the possibilties are endless!

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    Jan 10, 2011, 11.04 PMby ruhammie

    That is such a great idea! I also love taking t-shirts, slicing them up a special way to create one long piece of t-shirt jersey yarn. I have a knitting pattern for another grocery bag out of knitting upcycled t-shirts.

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    Jan 10, 2011, 11.00 PMby swm

    What a great idea! I like to take the plastic bags from the grocery store, cut them in strips and crochet them into rugs for the laundry room, mud room, etc.

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    Jan 10, 2011, 11.00 PMby sewshesaid

    Just taught t-shirt bags to a whole new group of sew stylish kids 8-10. Theme of day was Project Runway, we recycled multiple items. They were super proud of their bags. Left wanting to make more. That is what sewing is about. Teaching it to those who will carry on your dreams…

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.59 PMby bunnyca1

    i love to take my granddaughters too short jeans and make them into cute skirts.

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.55 PMby bemidjirose

    I think the best thing to up cycle is t-shirts into briefs-either bikini or regular. It’s a great use of nice cotton fabrics with fantastic graphics.

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.55 PMby lorilovespink

    I love turning old t-shirts into new things! First of all, you can make an old t-shirt into a NEW very fashionable t-shirt with some clever cutting & sewing back together. Or I’ve made quilts out of t-shirt fronts for the kiddies; those are very soft and you sure don’t care if the dog lays on them! I DO LOVE this idea of t-shirt shopping bags and I’m sure going to try it! Thanks for the idea and THANKS for the great giveaway!!!

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.55 PMby whitneydawncook

    I really like this idea and how it is basically one seam. I end up going through my clothes and the kids clothes and donating them to the Salvation Army. This would be fabulous for that Star Wars t-shirt that my son is desparate not to part with! Thanks for such a wonderful twinkling of inspiration!

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.53 PMby Ramona Kuhn

    What a great idea and way to use those wonderful t-shirts that are really great – but you just don’t want to wear. : )

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.52 PMby rattacool

    We did a recycle theme at a girl scout camp out w/80+ girls ranging from 6yrs. to 15yrs. this was one of the crafts we made! The girls all brought a shirt that they didn’t wear anymore and went home with a bag to carry all there stuff in! We had a great time with it.

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      Jan 10, 2011, 10.56 PMby rattacool

      we put a gusset in the bottom and a piece of cardboard to give the bag more shape, and support

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.48 PMby pnutbudder

    Who here has a closet full of tacky old Prom and bridesmaid dresses? Gorgeous material with out a HOPE IN H… to ever be worn again?! I took a few of my old dresses and cut them all into squares and made a set of gorgeous patchwork pillows that now lay on my bed! I love them, they are elegant, sexy and sparkly (I love sparklies) and match the rest of my room perfectly.

    Here’s a link to a pic on my blog to see… Enjoy!


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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.48 PMby stephanie9732

    I like to repurpose clothing from the thrift store, either by restyling it or using the fabric for a different project

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.45 PMby margaritamama

    I like to use old t-shirts and other favorite pieces of clothing and make quilts. So easy… just cut all squares the same size. Fun to create and a special momento to keep you warm for years!

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.44 PMby velcrokitty

    I make T-shirts into scarves by first cutting into a long 8" strip and then a 6" strip. Then I serge a lettuce edge on both. I place the narrower on top of the larger one and sew with elastic thread in the bobbin. Presto, a curly scarf.

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.42 PMby lbc42

    Absolutely brilliant! I use old shirts as gift wrap!

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.38 PMby yarnho334

    My upcycling project when my Dad passed away was to take his T-shirts and make a quilt for my Mom!

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.37 PMby geronimo

    love the idea!

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.30 PMby cocorara

    I cut up all my scraps of fabric and quilt lining into tiny pieces to use as stuffing for softies.

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.30 PMby elisabethdavis

    My favorite upcycling project is to take a discarded man’s shirt and make it into an adorable little girls dress!

    I’ve done one and posted here to Burdastyle, but was inspired by Dana at dana.made.it.com

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.29 PMby autodidact

    I like to make quilts out of old clothes. I’ve made one with corduroy and one with denim. Hard on the hands but fun. Here: http://anotherjennifermakingstuff.blogspot.com/2010/11/friday-in-november.html

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.28 PMby suebee2

    I cut old towels to fit my swiffer type mop. They wash up great and are reusable. Great for when you run out of the real thing. Old t-shirts are my favorite rag to dust and polish. Soft and lint free. Better than paper towel anyday. Susan

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    Jan 10, 2011, 10.28 PMby audie2002

    i need to do some more recrafting! This would be a great idea for all those blood donation shirts….

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