The Texas Blueberry Festival - Been There, Done That, and What I Did With the T-Shirt

Last weekend I traveled to Nacogdoches, Texas, to attend the 23rd annual Texas Blueberry Festival. The festival fills the oldest town in Texas with visitors and vendors for a day of hometown fun for the kids, and there are so many unusual sights to see. Fresh local blueberries are sold by the truck load, and people come from all over to celebrate the little berry.

The festival is held on the town square, where the brick streets are lined with many local shops. A number of the shops stay open on festival day. I don't know about you, but I don't travel many brick lined streets, and how did that toe get in my picture?

I was out early enough to catch some of the entrants in the pet parade this year, among them this fluffy  blue dog.

I believe this goat is wearing blueberries.

These pretties were the ones I could catch with my camera, but there were so many more.

My grandson Landon headed straight for the kids' area where he kept cool on the water slide and with lots of other fun activities.

The local heroes manned the Lost Children and First Aid area in case their services were needed. 

These two lovely SFA University theater students braved the heat in full costume to promote their afternoon performance.

I'm pretty sure it's a law in Texas that a barbecue wagon must be provided at any gathering.

And of course I had to buy the T-shirt. I was buying several for the grandchildren, so I bought one for myself too. My sister commented that she didn't believe she had ever seen me wear a T-shirt. Well, I don't usually wear them, but I could carry one.

I had an idea that by adding some ribbon, this beautiful purple T-shirt could be transformed into a cool tote bag to carry to the pool or beach. I used a similar method to the one I used when I made place mat tote bags, but with a few modifications.

I cut the sleeves off the shirt, then used a place mat to measure about how big my tote should be. I allowed for seams and also some extra height. I planned to add some ribbon around the top of the bag for stability. I cut the back and front separate because I wanted to preserve the logo on the back for a pocket.

I pressed under a small hem at the top of the front and back of the tote bag, then stitched across the pressed hem.

I then stitched wide ribbon across the top of the tote bag over the hem. To make the pocket on the back, I cut out a rectangular piece from the T-shirt back that was 6 x 9 1/2 inches.

I matched the center back of the tote to the center of the pocket for placement, then stitched the pocket to the upper back of the tote. The next step is to add the handles, and those directions can be found here.

Finally, I stitched the tote together at the sides and the bottom, then matched the side seam to the bottom seam and stitched across about 2 inches down from the point. This has to be done on both sides to give the tote shape on the bottom.

I had a great time at the blueberry festival. Many people will be wearing souvenir T-shirts from the festival, but I'll be proudly carrying mine.


  1. Anita, it sounds like the festival was lots of fun. That toe looked like it had gotten a pedicure and some pretty polish. Heehee. I spotted it in the photo right away and thought that was funny. Your grandson seemed to be having fun on the water slide. The animals looked cute . The dog with the birthday hat and pretty colored scarf was my favorite. Don't care much for blue dogs.

    You are a very clever lady to come up with a tote bag from a tee shirt. I am amazed at how nice it is. The purple polka dots were the perfect addition. Love it!--------- Shannon

  2. I love it, how clever! The polka dot ribbon goes great with it too! Sounds like you had a fun day, the little blue pup is a cutie:@)

  3. You should pitch the tote bag design to the festival's marketing group!

  4. This is brilliant! I have a few souvenir t-shirts which I never wear and now I know what to do with them :) The festival looked like so much fun.

  5. You my friend are very talented. You make it look so easy. Keep in mind, I struggle with mending.

    Please come on over and pick up your award which you do deserve. If I already told you, ignore this and come on over, anyway.

  6. I can't believe you did that with a T shirt...it's awesome!

  7. What a cute idea, Anita! You're the Blueberry Queen!

  8. Darling! Like you...I love some of the t-shirts but I don't wear them. I love your idea! My only problem is I've tried sewing knits before and it balls up the thread...I must be doing something wrong. Do I need a serger or a special machine? I love the purple polka dots too! How long did it take you to drive to Texas? What a fun event that looked like! You did bring home gobs of blueberries I hope?!?!

  9. Anita,
    Thanks for coming to the Texas Blueberry Festival. Your tote bag is certainly a creative interpretation of the famous festival shirt. If you'll send me a mailing address, I will send you some past year's shirts for your artistic renovation.
    All the best,
    Bruce Partain
    Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce

  10. Wow, this is such a cute & GREAT idea!

  11. Love this idea!! I have so many souvenier t-shirts I could do this with!! Pinning!

  12. This is a fabulous idea!!! I will certainly remember this. I am a bag lady!

  13. Congratulations your post is being featured at tonights party and your blog is being featured for the week @ CountryMommaCooks...thanks for linking up : )

  14. That's my hometown! We sure do love our blueberries!

    1. Hi Grace, I sure do love blueberries too, and I love visiting Nac when I can. I missed the festival this year, but I hope to make the next one.