Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children
Happy Mother's Day UK

Friday, October 26, 2012

Woolly Jumper Upcycling - Fab Felt Bag

Manmade fibres have accounted for the demise of the 100% lambswool woolly jumper and in general they are few and far between on the high street. I have to say that in terms of fashion I have never been a fan, hating the scratchy feel of the wool against my skin. However, these days I have fallen in love with these jumpers; not for fashion reasons but for crafting and I often scour the local charity shops hunting for unwanted woolly bargains.

The reason for this is felting. It can be a  hugely straightforward process involving shrinking a 100% lambswool jumper in the washing machine. This has the effect of binding the fibres in the wool together to make a wonderful dense felted fabric that is ideal for sewing projects which won't fray when you cut into the fabric.. The key is to make sure sure that your jumper is made from 100% lambswool - any hint of a manmade fibre and it just won't work.

All you need to do is throw your unwanted jumper into the washing machine and wash on a hot or boil wash -  90 degrees works best. This will shrink your jumper to approx two thirds of its original size but will have magically bound the fibres to give it a thicker feel. Once dry it will be ready for a new life in the form of any sewing project that takes your fancy.

When I found the above jumper in my local charity shop I was delighted - colourful stripes for fab
upcycling ideas. So I have set myself the task of producing three projects from a single unwanted jumper....

 ....and here is the first - a cute and colourful handbag. It is the sumplest thing to make. Cut two pieces of the fabric in any shape. For this bag I chose a rounded bottom and added a simple flower. This was made by using the cuff from the jumper with a big pink button in the centre which matches one of the woolly stripes.

Once you have added any embellishments, pin the two pieces together with the right sides facing inwards and sew around the edges with a 1/2 cm seam. Backstitch is good as it gives extra strength or you can use a sewing machine. Turn the bag the right way around. To neaten the top edges fold inwards 1cm of the fabric and sew to give a neat edge.

To make the handles cut two strips 3cm wide from the sleeves of the jumper and fold over each other to form a tube shape then secure in place using overstitch. Position these on the inside of the bag and secure with a few stitches.

 Once complete all you need to decide is whether to give as a gift or to keep for shopping expeditions!  More woolly jumper upcycling ideas to follow.

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