Saturday, March 13, 2010

Repurposed Sweaters to Handbags!

Occasionally, I feel a bit guilty that my "efforts" in being GREEN or ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY go about as far as recycling my Starbucks cup by using it a second time to stuff all the little trashies from my car floor into it when it's empty.  :-(
So, I picked up a magazine the other day that was all about being green and repurposing items.  Well, I found the cutest crafts project on how to  repurpose old wool sweaters(from thrift stores, or Grampas closet) into the cutest little handbags that my grandaughter would think were just perfect to carry with her bedazzled jeans!
And, what a  way to make something "memorable" out of one of Grandpas old sweaters for his beloved grandaughter rather than just giving them to Goodwill? 

I found these sweaters at Goodwill for $3.29 each. I only had to buy a bit of yarn, one large darning needle, a bit of velcro and a cute button!     Now, please don't be confused with the two different materials...I bought two sweaters (which will make me 4 handbags) so you will see one set of directions but I'm using both materials as I go through the steps.                          

Step one:  Wash sweater in hot water: to shrink which makes them turn to "felt"  then Dry.
Step two:  Cut up side of sweater to open
Step three:  Cut off bottom ribbing, this will become your handle later
Step four: Cut sleeves off at seams.

Step Five: Cut straight across at bottom of arm holes. This should give you an even rectangle piece of material. (This will be your purse)
Frequently asked question: Do I need to sew hems? Won't it unravel? 
Answer: Nope. Once this material has been felted. It can simply be cut! It won't unravel!

Below: This is shown with a different material but the same step.  I was making this with two different sweaters.

Step six:  Make a template of a large flower (out of posterboard or cardboard) cut two flowers out of the sleeve material

Shown above: The purse "body", the flower pedals, and the handles cut from the bottom ribbing.

Step seven:  Fold body in half, stitch sides up with large running stitch using coordinating yarn.
Then add the handles using a cute square stitch.

Step Eight: Place your flowers on top of each other with pedals alternating. Place purchased "unique" bling button in middle and sew it on with yarn.Here  are the other sweater purses showing a different look with a different type of bling.
Now,  these may not be something WE'd carry, for one thing they are not big enough! LOL  but,   I think my grandaughter who is 9 years old will think these are cute casual handbags and perfect size to carry her important things in and how cute would these be as a nice gift to make for her friends too, huh?
Hope you enjoy!

My estimated cost for materials: $ 4.50  
What do you think these would sell for at a craft fair?


  1. OH MY GOSH, they are so adorable!!! What a need find. I love how the felt flowers came out. Too cute! Your granddaughters are going to love them! Man, your whole family is so creative and crafty.

    Hey, I got my package! Can't wait to fill up the bottle; I use a lot of olive oil. Thanks so much!

  2. Thanks! and thanks for letting me know it arrived. Enjoy!

  3. These are too cute! I think you could probably find big enough sweaters to make "big girl" bags, but the problem is the lack of pockets! Thanks for the idea though. I also got my notepad, it came yesterday! The kind of mail I love! Have a great Sunday Cousin B!

  4. Wow, good job cousin B, I think any little girl would love these! I think they are really cute!

  5. Wow, those are cool! I am impressed with your creativity!! I certainly think they could sell.
    I got my pillow, it's adorable I love it, thank you thank you! :) xo

  6. Well, the only problem is...These WERE adult sweaters! Once you wash them in hot. They shrink. So, not sure you could get larger, unless you found a hughmoungous guys one! :-)

  7. Hi Betsy,
    I love repurposing and this is such a cute and creative way to repurpose old wool sweaters. Such a cute idea. Love it. Thanks for sharing. Happy Monday.

    Hugs and Kisses,

  8. These would definitely creative you are. I love how they turned out...
    Thank you for finding my site so I could find you....your more than welcome to put these on my Temptation Mondays site

  9. OH! GIRL! NO YOU DIDN"T!.. I just went through my daughters closet and have all her 'to small' sweaters sitting in a bag, right here for me to get started on this craft!!!! Thanks so much for sharing.. what a great idea!

  10. Welcome Grandma Yellow Hair and Social Butterfly! Glad to be of help! LOLO



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