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T-Shirt Purse With a Star Transfer

Wendy Russell creates a chic purse with a star transfer and a T-shirt!

Materials and Tools:

any size T-shirt (old, new, vintage – the larger the T-shirt, the larger your purse
fabric scissors
sewing machine or hand-sewing needle and thread
6 yards of 1" or 2" ribbon (complementary color)
two 6" wooden embroidery hoops*
embroidery floss
fabric glue
large phonebook or heavy books
acetone pen (also known as a blender pen) available at art supply stores
masking tape
paper scissors
1/8" thick cardboard – larger than the size of the image or text
black-and-white laser printer (Note: inkjet printers DO NOT work for this project)
bone folder or wooden spoon
1 yard decorative trim
measuring tape
straight pins
*Form a handle with a feather boa, 6-or 8-inch metal rings, plastic embroidery hoops, cording or braided ribbon.


1. Print a favorite image (or saying) using the "Reverse for Iron-on Transfer" found on your computer software or photocopier to create a mirror image.

2. Using masking tape, tape the paper face down on the fabric for the selected design.

3. Place a piece of cardboard on the inside of the T-shirt so the acetone doesn’t leak onto back of the shirt or the work surface.

4. Rub over the back of the printed paper with the acetone pen until the image transfers to the T-shirt. Go over the image two or three times until the paper is wet.

5. While the paper is wet, rub the back of the image with the bone folder or the handle of a wooden spoon to further transfer the image.

6. Leave the paper taped on the fabric for approximately 15 – 20 minutes to dry and set. Placing an old phonebook or heavy books on top of the image will help it to set.

7. Peel away the paper to reveal the print. Remove the cardboard from the inside of the shirt.

8. Cut the T-shirt horizontally across the chest, armpit to armpit, cutting through both layers of fabric, the front and the back. Note: For a ‘baby tee,’ cut it higher up, just under the neckline.

9. From the top, cut a 4" slit down each side seam. With a ‘baby-tee’, there is no need to do this step.

10. Turn the T-shirt inside out. Pin along the lower edge, right sides together. Sew a 1/2" seam at the bottom of the shirt using the sewing machine or hand stitch. Cut the corners on an angle, being careful not to cut into the stitching. Flip the shirt right side out.

11. To make the handles cut two pieces of ribbon each 3-yards long. Unscrew the larger outer hoop from two embroidery hoops and use only the smaller inner hoops. Put a small bead of glue on the outside of one embroidery hoop. Place the end of one ribbon over the glue lining up the edge of the ribbon with the edge of the embroidery hoop.

12. Coil the ribbon around the embroidery hoop, looping it around and around, overlapping the previous loop until the ribbon reaches the starting point. Cut off any excess ribbon. Glue the end of the ribbon down. Repeat for the second hoop. Set aside for 20 minutes to let the glue dry.

13. Lay a hoop at the top opening on the inside of the shirt. Fold approximately 1"- 2" of fabric around the hoop and hand stitch it down using embroidery floss.

14. Tie off the end with a knot and cut the thread. Repeat on the other side of the purse using the second hoop.

15. Glue a piece of decorative trim around the transferred image of the star. Adorn your T-shirt purse with other favorite items such as silk flowers, iron-on letters, embroidery, beads, patches, etc.

16. Make a matching change purse with the remaining part of the T-shirt.

Born in Toronto and raised in Vancouver, Wendy Russell says she comes from a long line of very-crafty very-budget conscious women. She says most birthdays and holidays were celebrated with handmade gifts only! Her love of craft has continued and she has even started her own "craft collective" in Vancouver that brings innovative and artistic women together.


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