Monday, November 9, 2009

Felted Sweater Tote Bag Gift

Here I am with another secret sister gift I have been working on, this time for a new secret sister. The gift theme this time around is to be “making something new from something old” or in other words to recycle something, but the catch is…something we haven’t done before! What a challenge that turned out to be to just find something I haven’t done before, since I have been crafting and recycling since I was old enough to read, beginning with a potholder loom and trying everything I could find.

Felting is something I have wanted to really try for a while. Last year I attempted to make slippers, the wool didn’t felt properly, so I “felt” it would be all right to try again and pray for success this time. My research to find an easy pattern with good instructions was found here, and I began with a sweater that was already partly shrunken.

One thing I realized about felting wool, is that one needs the agitator in a washing machine (top-loader) to do this quickly. Having a front-loading washer, I ended up doing the agitating by hand (my 5 year old daughter was delighted to help) in a sink of hot water…and had better success when rubbing the sweater against itself, especially the inside, which I needed to make as meshed together as possible.

Then it was a matter of drying it and cutting it out, which was easy. Stitching took a bit more time, I thought a “blanket stitch” would work well, but after having most of it stitched, my stitches looked too uneven, so I pulled all that out and used my sewing machine to turn the edges under.

I added a deep narrow pocket on the front for her cell phone or checkbook, and used an old Sizzix flower die on my Big Shot to cut out the flower trims, adorned with old buttons and carpet thread to detail them a bit. I threw a few flowers on the backside of the bag for good mearsure too. I saved the sleeves to maybe use on another pair of slippers for my little girl.
Remember when I said I started crafting with potholders? The rug used for a background under the felted bag in the photos, is one that I wove with loopers very similar to what I used way back then!
Hope she likes it!


Sara said...

This is adorable!!!!

Angel said...

LOVE this. I am sure your SS will love it too!
BTW, I need your mailing address to send a card to you! Please email me at angel2stampATyahooDOTcom

sherry's snippets said...

you do such nice work!I like your collage page too.