Living in New York, my shoes get especially dirty (it’s a special kind of filth). On the occasion that I’m traveling away from New York (which I am very soon!) and packing for that trip, I like to protect the clothes in my suitcase from all of the grime that collects on my shoes. (The streets may be paved in gold, but that’s definitely not what’s sticking to the soles of my shoes.) Here’s a simple project that makes use of an old T-shirt, requires very little sewing (you use the T-shirt hem as the drawstring casing!), and keeps the rest of your wardrobe fresh and clean. And, because the bag is made from an old T-shirt, it’s easy enough to toss in the laundry when you get home and unpack.
-T-shirt (M or larger)
-Sewing machine (with a ballpoint needle and thread), or Needle and thread
-Alphabet stickers (or make your own; I used letter-shaped sticky notes)
-Fabric paint and paint cannon (black)
1. Turn the T-shirt inside out and lay it flat. Measure and cut a 12″ x 16″ rectangle extending in from one side and up from the bottom hem. Cut a 1″ strip from the top of the rectangle, through both layers. Set aside the strip.
2. Sew a straight stitch along the two cut edges of the rectangle, leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance, and stopping at the hem (this becomes the drawstring casing. (I used contrasting thread for visibility, but matching your thread to the fabric color is recommended.)
3. Turn the bag right side out and lay it flat, oriented with the hem (the opening of the bag) at the top. Stretch out the fabric strip to make a drawstring cord and set it aside again. Arrange the letters across the side of the bag. (Note: Use stickers to achieve a “clean” edge along the letters…I like the rough edges that a little paint seepage creates, so I let the edges of my letters curl up a bit.)
5. With the fabric paint, spray lightly over the letters and let dry completely. (Paint will seep around the sides of the letters that are not sealed flat, creating a rough-edged look to the lettering.)
6. Carefully peel off the letters to reveal the reverse silhouettes. Attach a safety pin to one end of the cord and draw it through the entire drawstring casing. Remove the safety pin and tie the ends together in a knot.
7. Now spin the globe, land your finger, and buy a ticket! If your shoes are made for walking, this T-shirt shoe bag is made for packing. Bon voyage!
-Differentiate your various shoe stashes by making multiple bags–do away with the generic “shoes” label and instead indicate heels, flats, sneakers, and so on.
-Scrap the shoes altogether and use the bag to pack pajamas for a slumber party!
P.S. Happy National Craft Month! How will you celebrate?