Ages and ages ago, I purchased a book on making neat things out of wool sweaters from thrift stores that had been felted and cut up. I even went so far as to buy several sweaters at Value Village, and felt them. So for the past god knows how long, I have had felted sweaters sitting in my crafty stash, taking up space, collecting dust and cat hair, and generally just getting in the way. I have always been really good at coming up with ideas, but not so great at following through.
Enter Pinterest. I follow several crafty ladies, and someone had pinned this lovely sweater bag. Immediately, I knew what I’d be doing – this was the perfect use for one of those felted sweaters hanging out in a milk crate under my desk! And even better, it would make a perfect gift for someone in my family. So I got out my sewing scissors, and went for it. I snipped and cut and pinned and sewed. At first I thought it would be lovely if I could line it with a bright cotton print, but that attempt failed pretty quickly when I realized how long it would take me to pin the lining in place. The felted sweater was too thick to fold down and sew the handles as per the linked tutorial, so instead I reinforced the stretchy edges by running it through my serger, and using a fray-stopper on the snipped threads. The original tutorial had a plain square bottom seam, so to help round the corners a bit, I sewed a seam 2.5″ in from the corner at a 45-degree angle from side to bottom, and then snipped off the excess fabric inside. I feel this gives a nicer shape to the bag, even if it compromises a little in the interior space.
Once I made the bag, I realized that it needed some character, some oomph, something to make it extra-fun. I went stash-diving and found some gorgeous variegated green wool. I used this felted flower corsage tutorial and crocheted up three flowers to felt. I originally planned to do a crocheted rolled rosette, but after test-felting one, it turned into an unidentifiable ball of green. These flowers felted up nicely, it took two washes for the big one and three for the small ones to get just the right amount of felting for me. Once they were done and dried, I pinned them on the bag, and hand-stitched them in place.
Overall, I’m really happy with this upcycled project. I have a couple more felted sweaters in my stash that are sure to have a similar fate!