Denim Makeover shirt to Hobo Tote Nancy Zieman



While cleaning my closet, I stumbled across a denim shirt that hadn’t been worn for years. Not wanting to give away my name-sake shirt, I decided it was time for a makeover. Converting the shirt into a Hobo Tote is the perfect way to give this shirt a second chance.


Denim Makeover shirt to Hobo Tote Nancy Zieman



Denim Makeover Tips

It seems I can never have enough totes or bags, so I turned to my “fav” big bag template from Clover, The Trace ‘n Create Hobo Tote Collection.

There are two templates in the collection, offering three layout variations: four-fabric, two-fabric, or one-fabric options. The templates are color coded for ease of use. I chose the four-fabric option, which was ideal for using my old denim shirt.

Trace 'n Create Templates Nancy's Hobo Tote Nancy Zieman

Trace 'n Create Templates Nancy's Hobo Tote Nancy Zieman

Tip #1: Cut the shirt apart.

  • First, trim off the cuffs.
  • Cut along the underarm seams of the sleeves and shirt.
  • Trim off the collar.
  • Cut along the shoulder seams. The shirt should now be in four main pieces: Front, back, and the two sleeves.

Tip #2: Stitch the openings closed.

  • Button the shirt and stitch the front opening along both sides of the placket.






  • Stitch the cuff plackets closed.


Denim Makeover Shirt to Hobo Tote Nancy Zieman




Denim Makeover Shirt to Hobo Tote Nancy Zieman



  • Stitch the pleat to the back of the shirt.


Denim Makeover Shirt to Hobo Tote Nancy Zieman



Tip #3: Place the templates on the shirt.

  • Audition the placement of the logo. Since the templates are transparent, positioning is easy.
  • After determining the placement, trace around the outer template edges.


Denim short makeover shirt to hobo tote Nancy zieman



  • Trace four pieces of each template: two with the template print side up and two with the template print side down.
  • Utilize the plackets, pleats, and other details as parts of the Hobo Tote.
  • Cut out the pieces.


Denim short makeover shirt to hobo tote Nancy zieman




Denim short makeover shirt to hobo tote Nancy zieman




Denim short makeover shirt to hobo tote Nancy zieman



Tip #4: Cut out the shape of the Hobo Tote from a craft stabilizer, such as Pellon’s Peltex.

  • Overlap the templates along the horizontal seams.  (The width of the seam allowances is 1/2″.)
  • Trace the outer edges on the Peltex.


Denim short makeover shirt to hobo tote Nancy zieman



  • Flip the templates, overlap the seam allowances, and align the templates along the center front. Trace.
  • Cut out two layers from Peltex.

Tip #5: Trim away the inner seam allowances from the denim to reduce bulk.

  • Since there are several layers of denim, eliminate the interior seams. Trim away 1/4″ as shown.
  • Place the denim layers on the Peltex; baste the denim to the interfacing. The edges will “kiss” together.


Denim short makeover shirt to hobo tote Nancy zieman



Trip #6: Add trim.

  • Cover the “kissed” edges with trim. Topstitch the trim to the denim/Peltex unit.


Denim short makeover shirt to hobo tote Nancy zieman




Denim short makeover shirt to hobo tote Nancy zieman



Finish the tote, following the instructions in the Hobo Tote package.

The back of the tote is as interesting as the front.


Denim short makeover shirt to hobo tote Nancy zieman



Check out this previous blog posting, which highlights Eight Creative Options for Totes and Handbags.

Nancy Zieman's Giveaway


Clover Trace 'n Create Template Hobo Tote Collection by Nancy Zieman



For a chance to win Clover’s Trace ‘n Create Bag Template—Hobo Tote Collection, please post a comment sharing your next sewing “makeover” project.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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