Before I give you the low down on this fun and easy upcycled bag please let me stress that if you want to try this project out for yourself you need to use a jumper that is not machine washable and preferrably one that you (or as in this case a friend!) have shrunk by mistake in the washing machine. The absolute best fabrics are labled hand washable and are either 100% wool, cashmere, mohair or any combination of these together. Other mixtures with a high content of wool (eg. 80% wool, 20% something else) should probably work but I wouldn’t guarantee without seeing the jumper first and you definitely can’t make this with ‘machine washable’ wool. Use something that you already have in your wardrobe or else try the second hand and thrift stores. These are great places to pick up a bargain and you can be happy in the knowledge that you are helping a cause whilst also benefitting the environment by upcycling! Now for the tutorial ………
Wash your jumper at 60 degrees and throw a couple of towels or jeans in the machine at the same time to help with the agitation. You may need to put it through a couple of cycles to get the shrinkage you require, the aim is for a strong flexible fabric that doesn’t unravel when cut with a sissors.
Lay out your jumper and remove the sleeves and the neck. Every jumper may be shaped a little differently but in this example I left the ribbing on the bottom to seam for the base, keep the sewing to a minimum is my motto! Place the side seams together and hold the shoulder area, see how the bag is shaping up already?
Snip out a square from both bottom corners and then turn the jumper inside out in preparation for seaming. Stitch a straight line across the bottom of the jumper and then pinch the corners in and stitch them as well. You don’t actually have to cut out corners and do this bit of fussing at all but even for a no hoper like me in the sewing department it is actually very easy and creates a nice gusset for the bag! I do have some more pictures of the process over at Flickr so if you are not sure what I am talking about have a look or leave me a comment.
All that remains now is to turn the bag right side out and decide do you need to embellish it, line it, do both or do neither! I decided not to add any lining (why bother???) but instead to add one of my wet felted flowers for a fun jaunty feel. Hopefully my friend will be surprised and happy when I present her with her upcycled bag as a surprise later today!
Truthfully it took me longer to stitch the felt flower together than seam the bag so I can definitely guarantee this design is now firmly in my list for potential hand made gifts for the future. Anyone got any jumpers to spare??