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Felted (Fulled) Sweater-to-Totebag

Here are some photos of my most recent craft project - I recycled a sweater, turning it into a tote bag after felting it (well, really, I fulled it, but since most people call it felting, that's what I'll call it from here on out). Some of these are Project 365 photos (the last of this batch, in fact - after this post, I'M ALL CAUGHT UP! *happy dancing*).

I started out with this 100% wool sweater, which I bought in Scotland, but never wear because it's not really a good color for me. It's a nice sweater, though, and reminds me of a place I love, so I didn't want to get rid of it. When I saw a pattern on Ravelry for repurposing sweaters by turning them into tote bags, I decided to try it. Take note of the size of the sweater in comparison to the dime (on the floor under the sleeve in the left of the photo):

Sweater: Before

Next, comes the felting process, which involves very hot water, detergent and agitation:

Felting (Fulling) the Sweater

Day 110 - Felted Sweater

After a couple of cycles, the sweater has been felted - shrunk to about half its original size (check out that dime, again), and it's now much thicker and individual stitches are no longer visible:

Day 110 - Felted (Fulled) Sweater

Day 111 - Sweater to Tote Bag

Next, I cut it up into "tote bag" shape:

Day 111 - Sweater to Tote Bag

And, after some hand-stitching, we have a tote bag:

Day 114 - Recycled Sweater Tote:

Day 114 - Recycled Sweater Tote

Now, I'll be able to carry around my knitting and crochet projects in this handy bag, which up until now, was sitting lonely in my closet. :)



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 28th, 2008 04:14 am (UTC)
That's a pretty cute bag! I like how the cables still show up on the bag...
Jul. 28th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
Yeah - I love the cables! Actually, I sort of wish I'd felted it a bit less - I think they might have showed up even better. Still, as a first attempt, I'm happy with the way it turned out. :)
Jul. 28th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC)
I love this project! So, is felting only done to wool sweaters...shrinking them? Can handbags be made from sweaters made of man-made fibers, too?

*Runs off to look in her closet for old sweaters*

By the way, there's a magazine I think might interest you. I'll post a link:

Wild Fibers Magazine

Jul. 28th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
I don't think it works with something made of more than 50% acrylic . . . I think that the higher the natural fiber content, the better. That was the problem I had with the first sweater I tried . . . it was something like 10% silk, 60% mohair, and 30% rayon, and it didn't felt . . . it just fell apart in the wash. (UGLY! :D ).

Still . . . there's probably no reason that you couldn't make a handbag out of a man-made fiber sweater - just don't felt it. Use the fabric as is. If it's a loose weave, you might need to sew a lining for it, but I don't see why that wouldn't work just fine. It was a cool project, though - if you've got any wool sweaters you don't wear, give it a try! Here's the tutorial I followed, btw:

Jul. 28th, 2008 12:29 pm (UTC)
That is SO cool. I had no idea you could felt something cabled and have the cables show like that. I have a couple of sweaters I can't quite bear to toss but never wear. Hmm...
Jul. 30th, 2008 08:47 am (UTC)
Oh! Cool!

Have a good birthday this weekend!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
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