Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sweater Tote Bag

Merry Christmas!

We have a lot of sweaters in our house.  I adore them and tend to buy them when I find nice ones at garage sales.  Unfortunately, when I get them home, there are the few that don't fit.

We donate most of them but there are a few that we keep for projects.  I pulled out a sweater today to make a Christmas gift.

This is what it turned out to be:

I made it out of this:

It's an old sweater and some fabric I had left over from a bulletin board I put up.

Start by cutting the top off from your sweater.

Decide how big you want your bag to be and add a few inches.  Cut this out of both sides of the sweater at once.  I like to flip my sweater inside out BEFORE cutting. . . you don't have to match up edges before sewing this way.

Lay your pieces on your fabric.  This will be the lining for the bag.

Cut out a piece the same size.  I folded mine in half so I didn't have to stitch the bottom.

Cut off the top of the fabric.  These two odd pieces will become your handles.

Fold those odd pieces in half, right side together.  Stitch.

For those noticing and wondering, the answer is yes.  Yes, I do know that the presser foot is all wrong.  You don't see the bobbin that is also all wrong.  I loaned my sewing machine and supplies to my neighbor who left town for the week.  She feels terrible and offered me her garage code to go inside her house and get it but we're not THAT close of neighbors and I wasn't comfortable with that SO I pulled out my old machine that is missing a leg (it rocks while you stitch. . . how nice).  My bobbins are over with my sewing machine so I improvised and I'm not sure where the foot went for this machine but I found the zipper foot. . . oy.  It works, though.

On to the project. . . .

Flip your "tubes" right side out, press and top stitch.

 These are now your handles.

Stitch together your sweater on three sides.

Take the point where the bottom of the bag will be and stitch across on each side.  This makes your gusset.

Stitch your lining together.  You should now have two separate bags.

Here's where it got tricky.  I did this wrong a few times and had to pick my stitches out with a pair of scissors and a needle (seam ripper is at the neighbor's house.)

The thing to remember is that the RIGHT (the pretty side of the bag) will always go together and you always want to stitch on the WRONG side of the bag.

Start by pinning your handles RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER to the right side of your bag.  You want the handle pointing DOWN instead of up.  I have no pictures of this but you can see the same idea in the potholder posting HERE.  Look for the info about the hanger tag thingie.

The sweater should be right side out with the handles pinned on.  Handles should point down.

Slide the whole bag INSIDE the lining.  The lining should be inside out so that the right side of the lining is touching the right side of the sweater bag.

Pin the top together and stitch almost all the way around.  Again, no photos of this step but check out the potholders again.

Through the opening, pull out the lining from the bag.

Tuck it into the bag and top stitch, closing up your hole.

As you can see, the sweater stretched as I was working with it.  I would suggest making your lining a bit larger if your sweater is a stretchy one.

It's finished!  I decorated it with a little rose I made out of a strip of the lining fabric and a scrap of lace.  That baby is hot glued on.  You can see the instructions HERE for the roses.  Same concept, different fabric.

If I do it again:

1.  I'd use my regular sewing machine with the correct presser foot and correct bobbin.

2.  I'd cut the lining a bit larger since the sweater is so stretchy.  I forgot that was why I got rid of it.  It looked great on for about a half hour and then it was so stretched out of shape it was like wearing a lampshade.

3.  I'd make sure to have all supplies. 

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