Friday, November 23, 2012

Felted Wool Projects

We have a family gift exchange coming up soon; I had something in my stash for Some Postman to use as his "guy gift", but nothing that seemed right for my "gal gift". Nothing caught my eye while out shopping this week, either. And so I opened up my craft cabinet and dug out this shrunken wool sweater:

Drawing inspiration from this blog post that I'd pinned on Pinterest a long time ago, I set out to make some bags out of this old sweater. I have a collection of wool sweaters that I've picked up at thrift stores and yard sales. They've all been felted (washed in hot water, then dried in the dryer to shrink them up tight) so they are ready for wooly projects. 

The first step was to cut off the neck and sleeves.

Next, I deepened the opening at the neck to make the handles. Later, I shaved another half inch from the arm holes and the neck opening so the handles would be a little longer.

From one of the sleeves, I cut a rectangle 4 inches wide by the length of the width of the bottom of the sweater. This became the bottom of the bag.

I pinned the rectangle all the way around. Rather than take tucks as the inspiration project instructed, I just trimmed the edges of the rectangle after I sewed it down, making it an oval. My old machine doesn't like bulky fabrics, so I was pushing it just sewing two layers of felted wool in the first place.

Here's what it looked like sewn up and turned right side out.

I didn't like how the handles looked, and realized after I'd already sewn on the bottom that in the inspirational project, the blogger had rotated the sweater a quarter turn to make the handles be on the front and back of the bag, rather than the sides. This wouldn't have worked for my piece, anyway, since the sides each have seams, and I wouldn't want those showing on the center front of the bag. So, instead, I cut the seams at the top of the handles and reattached them to their neighbors.

Much better!

To add detail to the bag, I used some of the trimmings to add swirls and a rosette, kind of like the inspiration piece. I really like how it turned out!

My camera doesn't pick up on the gold sparkle mixed in with the brown of the wool. It's really a lot prettier in person.

The turtleneck looked to me like it would make a cute makeup bag, with the top of that sleeve I'd cut up used as a flap.

Flap sewn on and the bottom sewn shut.

To give the bottom some width, I sewed "ears" on the ends.

Turned right side out, I added a pretty gold button and a simple slot cut with the seam ripper for the button hole. The nice thing about felted wool is that it doesn't unravel!

The more I looked at the little bag, the more I thought it would make a better purse than makeup bag, so I added a strap made from two pieces of leftovers and a gold ribbon braided together. More scraps were sewn on for swirl accents, and it was finished!

There is still a sleeve and some assorted scraps left...wonder what else I can make with them???


Grammy Goodwill said...

Melissa - You amaze me. That purse looks great. Then I kept reading and liked the little makeup bag that morphed into a little purse as well. You are very talented. The little embellishments add so much. Very well done!

Bflowers said...

LOVE it!

CC said...

The little make-up bag/ mini purse turned out adorable! What a great craft idea. :)