Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Don't throw those "sweaters" away.......

Wow! This week has flown by so fast.  Not really sure why.  Maybe it's the fall crispness in the air.  The leaves and the acorns are falling so fast my husband can't keep up with them   I was walking to the garage the other day and got knocked on the head with one of those darn acorns.  OUCH!  I hope that you have all had a good week.

Have you ever wondered what on earth to do with all those outgrown sweaters, or sweaters you've grown tired of?   Well here's some ideas for re-purposing those sweaters.

FIRST is felting  the sweaters and making totes out of them. 100% wool sweaters work the best for these.  Also, try thick merino, cashmere, and alpaca.  If you don't own any of these --thrift shops are a great place to find good buys on them.   These are super easy to make even for the novice sewer.

*  100% wool sweater (L or X L are good for totes)
*  Washer and dryer
*  Laundry detergent
*  Large needle
*  Strong thread (carpet and quilting thread work best)
*  Sharp scissors (heavy duty ones are best)

Step 1.  WASH - your sweater in detergent, in very hot water,  in your washing machine. (I've found that if I put them in an old pillow case and tie it, it makes less of a mess in your washer.)  Repeat this step if necessary.
Some shrink a little, some shrink a lot; but either way, the individual stitches become more difficult to see and the felted fabric will no longer unravel when cut. 

Step 2.  CUT - Following the pattern below cut off the sleeves and neckline of sweater.  Refold after cutting so the seams of the sweater and the strap openings face front.

Step 3.  SEW - Turn the sweater inside out, and sew across the bottom, 1/2 inch from the edge.  Fold straps, slightly overlapping, in thirds and sew to secure.  Stitch around the bags opening to keep the totes top from stretching.

 Here is a sample of the finished Tote.

If you are an experienced seamstress, here are some other ideas for making purses out of the sweaters.  Some sweaters don't felt up as well as others.  Not to worry though, you can still make some great purses and totes out of them.

First decide the size and shape you want your purse to be.  Then cut your sweater accordingly.  I like to line mine and put pockets inside them.  I look at garage sales and thrift stores for purses that are priced between $2 and $5 each.  I remove the hardware and handles from them and re-use on my sweater purses.  Much less expensive than buying new and I am re-purposing yet another item.

So ladies let your imagination be your guide and create away.  The possibilities are endless.  I've put pictures below of some of my finished purses.  Hope you enjoy seeing them.

If anyone has any suggestions or ideas, please feel free to comment. We will share your ideas on our blog.

This last bag was made and designed by my cousin, Cheryl Beavers.  This colorful sweater was not felted.  Just washed before cutting.  I love the paisley print she used for lining, trim and handles.  So as you see the possibilities are endless.  Let your creative juices flow ladies. 

Hugs and Best Wishes,

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