My friend is not a T-shirt wearer, but that doesn’t stop her daughter from picking up cute T-shirts with animal designs that her mom would like. 

My friend’s daughter knows that T-shirts aren’t just for wearing.  Sometimes they are just begging to be transformed into a purse or tote bag.  That’s exactly what happened with this “Mother Hen” T-shirt!

This is not my first Tee to Tote project, so I knew what I needed to do.  The first step is to find fabrics that coordinate with the T-shirt fabric color and the embroidered design. 

Naturally, I wanted to go with chicken themed fabric for this bag. When choosing fabrics, remember the wise words from Stacey and Clinton from What Not to Wear.  The fabrics don’t have to match, they just have to go together.

After I chose the fabrics, I cut out the design from the shirt and stabilized that square with woven fusible interfacing.  I then began to build the front of the purse, adding cuts of fabric until the rectangle was the correct measurement for the pattern I had chosen to use.

When the pieced rectangle was finished, I added Pellon Fusible Thermolam Plus to the back and quilted it using the “stitch-in-the-ditch” method as you can see here.

I had a difficult time deciding on thread color, so I used a light tan thread except for the stitching around the T-shirt piece where I used a matching shade of pink.

Now that the piecing was finished, I constructed the purse per the pattern instructions.  I was using the Baja Traveler pattern from Quilts Illustrated, and the only change I made was to add a zippered pocket on the inside of the bag.  I often add a zippered pocket to purses that will have a magnetic snap closure.  The zippered pocket offers a secure place for a wallet or money.

The other side of the purse is lined with pockets making organization easy.  The pocket and base fabric that you see here was from my fabric stash.  It was not part of my original plan, but I like the way it coordinates with the T-shirt fabric.



For the back of the bag, I used just two prints:  my favorite yellow fabric with the chickens which is a Robert Kaufman print and the egg print. 

I like the way these two prints look together, and I really like the egg print for the handles.  I try to stay away from directional prints like this yellow one for handles since I don’t like to have the chickens upside down or lying on their sides.










This purse with its cute Mother Hen would make a dandy Mother’s Day gift for my friend.  One thing is for sure …. She will get a lot more use from this bag than she would have gotten from the T-shirt. 

This Tee-to-Tote method of constructing a purse offers lots of great options. Why not leave a comment and give me your suggestion for a great Tee-to-Tote project?