Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Recycled Wool Sweater, Part 2

In yesterday's post, I showed you the hats I made with the recycled wool sweaters.  While I really enjoyed that project, it did leave me with a problem.

What in the world was I going to do with 3/4 of a sweater?  Throwing this out was not an option, nor was putting it back in a bag in the garage.  What to do, what to do...I know, I'll make a bag!

To begin, I cut off the features of the sweater that I wanted to preserve, namely the buttons and the pockets.

I squared up the pieces, to get some idea of the size of the bag I would be making.  Basically, the sweater dictated everything about the finished bag to me.

I did not work from a pattern at all on this.  I did determine that the button bands, as they were, were way to bulky.  Plus, I did not want my bag to be unbuttoned.  So, I set about to "de-bulk" them, and sew the sides closed.

I cut away the extra bulk of the sweater, making sure to leave the buttons in place, which is what those little square are:

I matched up the pieces again, and sewed them together through both pieces:

Next, I figured out what I wanted to do about handles.  My goal was to use as much of this sweater as I could, so I cut strips out of the upper back of the sweater:

I sewed these into tubes, and turned them right side out.

They were a little stretchier than I wanted, so I threaded a piece of bias tape through them, and sewed them across the ends.

I didn't relish the idea of sewing through two layers of wool sweater;  my poor sewing machine was not looking forward to it either, so I went to the stash in the garage and found some lightweight denim fabric, which I used to frame the sweater pieces.  Plus, it gave the bag a classic "jeans and sweater" look.
After sewing the pieces together, I had this:

Not enough structure for the type of bag I had in mind.  So, back to the garage, where I found a large piece of mat board, left over from another project.  I measured, cut and taped, and made this framework for the interior of the bag:

Which meant that now it was time to make a lining.  Back to the garage for fabric and fusible fleece, plus the instructions for the bag I made my mom for her birthday last year.  I really liked how the pockets in that bag worked, and wanted to make some for this bag.  I love pockets in tote bags!

The pockets for one side of the lining with various objects showing where the pockets are.  I made the other piece with 4 pockets.
Next, I finished the lining, and squared off the bottom:

After inserting the lining into the bag, I pinned around the top edge, in preparation for hand sewing the lining in.

And here is the finished product:

I LOVE this bag.  It is the right width for holding skeins of yarn upright, which really helps with center pull skeins.  I can use this bag when I knit on the go, and it will keep the yarn contained.  Lots of interior pockets for needles, hooks, scissors, etc.  And, it was a stash buster project!  I did not buy one new thing in the construction of this bag!

Someday, hopefully soon, I will be making a different style bag from the other hat.  When I get it finished, I will post it here!

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