Go Green and recycle by transforming that discarded wool sweater into a snappy felted bag that is sure to attract attention! It would make a fun gift for teenager or pre-teen. This project combines embroidery and needle felting.
To prepare the wool sweater, wash it in hot water in the washing machine with soap, rinse in cold water and dry in dryer. The sweater will shrink and become felt or boiled wool. This process is often called “felting” or “fulling”.
There are different ways of using a sweater to make a bag, but this example uses the neck hole as the opening of the bag. The sleeves serve as the straps. Turn the sweater inside out and using the sewing machine, sew up from the side seams to the top of each shoulder, thus closing off the armholes. Cut the sleeves off outside the seam you made.
Turn the sweater to the right side and sew a seam along the top of the edging at the bottom of the sweater. This will be the bottom of the bag.
Open up each sleeve, cutting along beside the sleeve seam. Using the fold as a guide, cut the sleeve in half, lengthwise. Take the two sleeve pieces from one sleeve and pin them end to end and sew, making one long piece of felted wool. Repeat with the other sleeve. Fold each of the pieces over on itself, forming a strap from each piece. Sew lengthwise, creating a strap that is about 1.5 inches. Trim any excess a half an inch beyond the seam.
Attach the ends of the straps to the top of the sweater (where the shoulders would be) on each side of the bag. Secure by stitching the strap ends to the bag and embellish with buttons, balls and yarn, etc.
Using the wool roving, felting needle and foam block, create any designs you desire on the front of the bag such as the snowflake on the example.
Embellish the bottom and front of the sweater with wool balls, yarn, buttons, etc. as shown in example.
ADDITIONAL NOTES: If the sweater you are using is an open sweater that has buttons down the front, sew the opening partially closed. You can leave a couple buttons at the top as is, so you can increase the size of the opening of the bag if desired. Additional embellishment can be made of felt from other sweaters you have treated or purchased felt embellishments can also be used.