Instructions for Making Rag Bags

Written by nicole carlin
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Instructions for Making Rag Bags
Use old T-shirts to create a new bag. (T-shirt image by Antonio Oquias from

Making a rag bag is a fashionable and eco-friendly way of reusing old bits of fabric, damaged and stained T-shirts and ripped denim. You can let your creativity run wild with a blending of different fabrics and textures. With simple sewing and braiding skills you can create a multipurpose rag bag with ease.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Two yards or more of non-stretch fabric (e.g. cotton from old T-shirts)
  • Needle
  • Strong thread
  • Scissors
  • Safety pin

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  1. 1

    Cut or rip the fabric into strips measuring 1 to 2 inches wide. Use either scissors to cut the fabric or your fingers to tear it. Cutting or ripping the fabric will change the look of the finished bag. Cut fabric will have a cleaner look, while ripped fabric will have a distressed, rugged look.

  2. 2

    Secure the ends of three strips of fabric together using a safety pin and secure the safety pin to a cushion. This will provide stability while braiding the fabric.

  3. 3

    Braid the three strips of fabric together tightly until you reach the end of the fabric.

  4. 4

    Unpin the ends and make a knot in both ends ensuring the braid does not unravel.

  5. 5

    Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 until all of the strips have been braided together.

  6. 6

    Unknot the end knot of two braids and sew the unsecured ends to one another using a needle and strong thread. Make one long braided rope by sewing the ends of every braid together.

  7. 7

    Create a coil with one end of the long braid. Coil the braid around itself to create the base of the bag. Stitch the coil together tightly. Continue coiling the braid until the base of the bag is at your desired size.

  8. 8

    Sew the braid on top of and around the perimeter of the base coil. You are creating the sides of the bag. Continue spiralling the braid, laying the next ring on top of the previous ring. Work your way upwards, stitching the spiralling rings together as you go.

  9. 9

    Sew the ends of the last braid to the inside of the bag when you have reached the desired height of the bag.

  10. 10

    Cut two braids to the same length and sew the ends to the insides of the bag to create two handles.

Tips and warnings

  • Add a lining to the rag bag for extra reinforcement and longevity.

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