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Recycled Sweater Bag

If you accidentally shrink a 100 percent wool sweater in the washer, don't fret. Create a cute handbag from your mistake. Or shrink a wool sweater that you no longer wear and turn it into a purse. Simply wash the sweater in a hot sudsy wash and run through the hot dryer until completely dry (also known as felted wool).


Approximate Time: About 1 hour


  • wool sweater that has shrunk
  • scissors
  • sewing machine or needle and thread
  • coordinating embroidery thread and tapestry needle


  1. Cut sweater into two layers, halter-shaped, by cutting through two layers of sweater at once.

  2. Cut a line along each side of the body, close to the side seams.

  3. Following the sleeve line, continue to cut the sleeves off as well. You'll have two pieces of sweater. I used a large dinner plate to cut the curves.

  4. If desired, cut the bottom band of the sweater completely off (set aside to create flower later).

  5. Lay pieces with right sides facing, and starting at one armpit stitch down the side, across the bottom, and up to the other armpit.

  6. With right sides still together, sew the "collar" (top of handle) front and back together, stitching across twice or more to create a firm handle.

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  8. Turn the sweater right side out. You now have a basic bag with two large side openings.

  9. Turn under the raw edges along each handle opening and topstitch.

  10. Turn them under again and hand stitch with a coordinating embroidery thread and large tapestry needle. This completes the bag.

Flower Instructions:

  1. Using the bottom band from the front or back of the sweater (or part of a sleeve), thread a large tapestry needle and knot the thread.
  2. Lay the sweater band out horizontally and starting with one short side, make a z-fold and run the needle through it. Pull tight. This is your flower center.
  3. Now begin wrapping the band around that center, keeping it tight and running the thread through every few wraps. Once you have rolled up the entire band, finish it by pulling the thread through one last time and knotting it.
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  5. Knot tightly several times.
  6. Attach to the bag and fold down the last outer wrap to make a stylish petal.
  7. Wool that is tightly felted will not fray, so you can simply cut some leaves from the sleeves to add alongside the flower.

By Rachel's Mom from Wilkesboro, NC

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September 11, 20090 found this helpful

These are becoming more & more popular it seems! Good job!

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September 12, 20090 found this helpful

That looks really great! :)

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September 17, 20090 found this helpful

A great idea and it looks very stylish, too! Thanks for sharing.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

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