Tech Summer

It has been a busy summer. Graphic design, web work, wedding photos, AND I’m teaching at iD Tech Camps! I worked as a counselor at iD once when I was in college and have rejoined the team this year at Macalester College. The staff is fun, the campers are awesome and we make some really cool things! At iD I teach students, in one week, how to create a website or video game from scratch (using Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver and Fusion). There are also other courses in coding (C++ and C sharp), robotics, and game modding.

-Shalanah Backus

Creating a Drawstring Tote out of an Old T-Shirt (Sewing Required)

I have gotten very crafty recently with my new class “Applied Arts”. I was looking for a really usable drawstring bag. I had a hard time finding one, but then I came across this excellently explained and great video. I made some very minor changes to the how-to video. Below are some quick diagrams that I will be using for students the next time we do this assignment. You can sew by hand or on machine. It does take some time if you do by hand. They are really fun. Try one yourself!


First off, when the t-shirt is right side out, you’ll see Mona Lisa in full color. When the t-shirt is inside out, you’ll see a faded Mona Lisa in reverse.

1. To start, cut off sleeves of a t-shirt.
I recommend a medium to large sized t-shirt (not kid sized and not XL). You can use small but you want a good length in the shirt.

2. Cut along top seam near collar.


3. Shows the t-shirt without sleeves and top seam cut.

4. Turn shirt inside out and sew sleeves back up to 1″-2″ from the top.

5. Get two pieces rope. Put the ends together of each length of rope to form a loop.
Each can be around 5 feet long. It is good to have more rope than less (can always cut down).
Skinny rope works best. You can buy it at Home Depot or make rope out of another old t-shirt. I show the rope as two different colors to help the diagrams.

6. The above diagram shows what you will soon do around the shirt to close the top of the bag. (Don’t need to do yet!)


7. Place each loop of rope around the 1″-2″ not sewn top. Put the loops around the top of the t-shirt (both sides) and in opposite directions.

8. Fold one side the top part of the shirt over both strings and sew.
Do this to both sides – but do not sew through all 4 pieces of fabric — just front flap to front of shirt and back flap to back of shirt.

9. Turn right side out and pull on drawstrings. Try bag on and cut to desired length bag. Once you are done with that, mark where the strings should hit the corners of bag with a permanent marker or masking tape.


10. Turn bag inside out. Cut small triangles off the bottom of bag.

11. Put ends of drawstrings through the inside of the bag (the right-side out part of the bag) and out the cut corners at the bottom. Sew along the bottom of the bag and through the rope to secure it. Cut off any extra string.

12. Turn right side out and use at the beach, to hold your wallet, for soccer practice, or to hold some good books.


-Shalanah Backus