I just finished my first "real" project, another t-shirt tote bag. This pattern uses two t-shirts, but actually you could use any fabric, because the sleeves and neck hole are not integral to the shape of the bag, and are in fact completely unused. I liked the idea of recycling old t-shirts into something useful, though I wish I had some unwanted graphic tees around, because a picture would certainly have added some character to the bag. All things considered, I'm happy with the finished product, and it was a good practice piece for me.
I really like the contrasting colors that create two different sides to the bag. I also got to try out my zig-zag stitch, which gives the handles a little extra something.
I shouldn't have included a close-up picture of the zig-zags, because now you can see how not straight my straight stitching is. Oh well. I definitely made some other beginner mistakes on this project, but that was to be expected. I actually had two unwanted t-shirts that I used for this project, but if I use this pattern again, I think I'll just buy fabric instead, because the bag came out a lot smaller than I expected (obviously, the bigger the shirt, the bigger the bag). But this will be a perfect size for carrying library books or smaller grocery items. The handles look short, but they are supposed to stretch with use.
If you are interested in making this bag, here are the instructions I used. I love the pink and black example bag with all the weird hairstyles on it--a cool graphic can really make this bag unique! I wish I could have used my Golden Girls t- shirt for this bag instead, but the t-shirt was way too small.
If you're just starting out sewing like I am, this makes a great beginner project, and it has lots of potential for individuality.