Upcycled Gift Bags from Men’s Shirt Sleeves

Hey everybody, it’s me Margaret, and I’m here with another Sustainable sewing project that I’ve been having fun doing. These are wine bottle gift bags or Basically, they could be any kind of gift bags I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it’s so cute that I had to try my hand at it. I actually began to practice With a different shirt, it’s actually made up a more casual material sustainable fabric As a matter of fact, it’s from REI if you’re familiar with that company and I liked the more Casual, look I didn’t think it needed to tie. I Was thinking like it had its own little personality But this one needed a tie I thought so that’s that But this is more of a sew along I think than an actual tutorial Because the steps are not exactly as rigid 1 2 3 You can watch me as I’m making my decisions about how do I want to do this? Would it be like this with that and maybe that’ll give you your own freedom to Put your own twist on things. So I hope you enjoy it So the first step is to mark 14 inches from cuff Down the arm and I will take a one of these disappearing ink markers And put my little marks right here, you know have it lined up straight So now I’m gonna take my ruler and line it up against the marks That I’ve made and my cutting board so that I’m actually cutting straight across It can be confusing because a sleeve is not two straight parallel lines It’s straight here across the top and then it comes out as it goes down to the underarm So we’ve got the sleeve will put this all away for another day Next thing we want to do is take the buttons off the placket eventually This is going to be made into what looks like a color so we don’t need these giant buttons on our little mini collar So remove your buttons save your buttons, you’re going to use those later. Okay, the next step is to turn this thing inside out We’re gonna have to make some seams and we want to press it If we need to so that the placket itself is in the center to situate it So you’ve got some pleats you have to work with over here kind of finagle we’re basically ignoring the pleats, but we want to press it so that the placket is in the center of The thing now what’s going to happen is that this seam over here that underarm seam is actually going to wrap around That’s okay because we really want the placket to be in the center when we fold our little collar down like that To look like a shirt just put it like that now, let’s go press it You don’t have to be too meticulous about the cuff collar yet because we’re going to go back and actually work hard on that When we get to that point, but right now we’ve just set it put the seams Boom, what’s next. This is just an average wine bottle that I am using for my pattern making you know the width around The circumference is actually nine and a half inches just give or take a 8th here and there so we really want it to be loose enough that this comes in and out easily right? Well lucky for us It’s open right here. So that’s easy enough So at this point right here in order to make it fitted like a slim fit shirt We’re gonna have to take this in because it gets really really wide and it ends up looking I don’t know just like a baggy mess if we don’t taper it in like a fitted shirt so Five and a half inches is the magic number. All right, so let me show you what I’m talking about This is five and a half inches. So we’re going to cut off everything out Of five and a half inches this method of centering The template is handy because it guarantees the right width no matter what size shirt you’re working with to go about 3/4 of the way down and Mark Your thing like this Notice that chose to angle it up toward the cuff being careful to stay away from that seam You don’t want to make any unnecessary work for yourself. So keep that cuff untouched. So I can do a quick mark like this And I’ll turn it around like this since I’m right handed I want to trace Like this and I’ll pretty much do the same thing I’m just gonna keep it straight from my mark to the end and then I just want it to sort of taper up I’m good. I like it like that So I’m just gonna leave it right there and make that mark and now I’m gonna go and sew Along the seam lines that I have drawn on my fabric Alright, so I’m back. I’ve sewed my straight seams down like this And if for any reason you feel that you need to check now, I’m using a boy’s large shirt right here So I don’t know what size you’ll be using But if it’ll make you feel better if maybe you have a different size bottle go ahead and check it at this point Can you get it in and out easily enough? you could even take it in a little bit more here if you wanted to but I Like this you’ll want to go ahead and finish your seams some kind of way serger would be great if you had it I do but I just Didn’t feel like doing that Cut it on this side You have a couple of options here You can go ahead and sew a straight seam and then box your corners if you want to I’ve tried that and it’s fine But I found that I liked a curved seam down on the bottom better For some reason it made the the shirt look like it was tucked in and maybe it’s my imagination I don’t know now this day and age. I rarely used my China anymore But I have found it comes in really handy in my sewing room This gives me a variety of curved edges that I can use in my projects So you grab one of these and you check the curve you look at it and you see which one you like? Doesn’t like this when it goes up pretty high on my seam line right there. Let’s try a bread and butter plate Hmm. I’m not sure which one I like salad plate And a dinner plate gives us a very wide curve I think I’m gonna go with this saucer from the cup and saucer set. I’ve moved it up I think I want about a half inch seam allowance down here So I’m sort of centering it between my stitching lines And then I’ll trace around the edge And there is a curved bottom so I’ll go so that then I’m going to pink around my curve here and Clip my threads Now let’s turn it right side out and press I really want this little cuff that’s going to turn into a collar to hold up Well, so I’m going to starch it Kind of like to smooth it down. Look I sprayed some on the ironing board, I’ll soak that up too because I really really want this to look like a collar you want to put some time and effort in your ironing here because you want your little wine bottle to look sharp when it leaves the House, so now I’ll fold it out In half and you’ll see the button hole right there that’s a good marking place for exactly where you should fold it And now I’m gonna iron it down To create more of a shirt collar look I don’t like that. Let me clean that up. This is a little tricky where you have those pleats On a cuff because we took in the sides I Messed with those pleats So I’m just going to kind of Wiggle them around to see if I can’t make that look a little better Okay, I like that. Let’s go. Try it out Okay, so here’s how it looks so far, which is getting cute Now normally a proper shirt of course would have its buttons up here, right? as if it were too close the collar properly, but we’re going to use a little creative license because Let me just pin it closed here for a second so we can see my point But if we if we try to close it like button it right there Then you have this big opening and it just I don’t know it just looks weird so what we’re going to do is make our our Bottle look as though it’s relaxing for the night So I’m gonna sew my buttons on about right here and our bowtie will kind of hang a little low Let me go do that So for the bowtie You want to pick out a piece of? Contrasting fabric and you want it to be four by eight and a half? Then we’re gonna fold it right sides together Like this and then we’re going to sew half-inch seam allowances, but leave an opening at one point So I sewed all around pivoting at the corners I’ve trimmed the seam allowance cutting off the corners right there, but notice that here where I’m going to turn it I usually leave this Long because I find it easier to tuck in after the fact and then we’ll sew closed right there So let’s go ahead and turn it inside out Or rather turn it right side out get something to help me poke out those corners now Let’s go ahead and press this flat. Now. You may want to take it back to the Machine and Stitch this closed right here, but I just happened to have a little stitch witchery handy I earned that you know that glue stuff that you stick in there and iron it and bounce it It closes it sometimes good enough for me Okay so this will be the bow top part and then you’ll need some ribbon or you could make this little Center part right here out of your other material Either contrasting or the same material scrap, but I think it’s easier to use ribbon so that’s what I’m going to do 7 inches just to make it easier to tie and about 9 inches of Elastic and so you kind of gather it up like this and Tie your ribbon around it don’t get too wrapped up and how it looks just yet just get it tied one time And afterwards you’ll Arrange it like you like it. Then put your elastic in there some kind of way And tie another knot very tightly And you arrange your bowtie hiding those little things in the back Like that you can snip the excess off I Kind of like to do it at an angle they say it reduces the Raveling, but you could also hold that over a candle and it will burn it too to stop the raveling and then we want to tie a square knot in this elastic You can trim that a little bit too if you want to Then we slide the bowtie over the collar of the shirt Loosening it up a little bit cuz you want it to look like there he’s relaxed And here’s a more casual style without the tie and of course you could dress it up with a maybe a birthday Button, or you know a button for the occasion So these are just three but of course your options are endless with the different shirts that you could recycle I really like the fact that each one of them looks like it could be a completely different person So you could sort of customize your gift bag for the personality of the person who’s receiving your gift But I don’t know it was fun. Hope you liked it. And as you might expect YouTube is filled with great gift bags, too Sew and here’s a playlist of a few. I’d like to try on my quest for a new life for old items


  1. These came out absolutely adorable!!! The look like a lot of fun to make. I crochet and do not sew well. I have a dumb question for you. What did you use inside the sleeve to press out the extra material in order to hold it down? I have a craft room with a childhood sewing machine, it’s that old! I rarely use it. I’ve been thinking about buying an inexpensive new one and possibly taking lessons. When I do have to sew something I would like to feel more confident. I do love to crochet but I also love to craft. Do you have suggestions for a easy to use machine by any chance? Thank you and God bless.

  2. Margaret, your sew clever, actually subscribe to Mr. Domestic, will have to check his video out as well. Thanks.

  3. Very cute! I love to upcycle! I want to add … your hydrangeas are GORGEOUS!!!! I have the worst luck with them. I look forward to more upcycle ideas.

  4. My goodness, Margaret, you are just talented! That flowering tree in the back of you at the intro to your video was breathtaking! I hope you are doing well, my dear friend.

  5. You always do this , get my creative juices flowing . How cute to feminize it for a female gift , use old earrings ( you know the kind where one is missing) instead of a bow tie . This would also work for some blouses also .Great upcycle when the body is used for cushions . No waste. Thanks . Gotta go clean out my closet again .

  6. So adorable, however the men in my life are not big wine drinkers. Need to find a way for a more feminine look. Maybe lace around the collar. I would love using these as gift bags.

  7. I love your podcast♥️ I am looking for the video you shared this year that had additional information about how you lost a little extra weight. I’d appreciate if you could direct me to it. Thanks so much❤️♥️❤️

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