I love to recycle and I try to reuse and repurpose as many of my crafts and supplies as I can.  But one day when I was in the thrift store I came across an old style wool sweater that had seen better days.  Although I would never wear that pattern I thought it would make an awesome purse.  It didn’t look like it was selling so I picked it up for 3 dollars.

After some research I discovered the best type of sweater bag is one that has been felted.  This tightens the fibers so that your bag or purse will be very strong and not stretch out from any weight.  Felting is easy.  You can do this by hand but the washer and dryer make this a lot easier.

How to Recycle a Sweater into a Purse

If you are now wondering “just how do I felt a sweater?”  Below are the steps involved:

Basically felting means shrinking!

Step one – Head to the thrift store or even your closet and find an old sweater and check the label to make sure it is wool.  You are now going to do the things you were told never to do with wool!

Step Two – Toss it into the washing machine using the hottest water and your regular detergent on the long cycle.

Step Three – Now throw it into a hot dryer until completely dry.

Now your wool sweater should look like it would fit a small child rather than you!  Keep this in mind when finding one to felt or basically shrink.  It will shrink quite small, so depends on how big a purse or bag you want.  But you can now see how close the fibers have become.  It is almost like fabric now.  You can follow the video above, but you could go a step further and line it with some heavy cotton so that you can add pockets.

Make sure you have a pair of very sharp scissors on hand for this project. 

I would like to try and make a small evening purse from felted wool, so that is my next project. 

Recycle Sweaters into Mittens Fast!

Where to Find Purse Handles

Another great idea, if you don’t want the handles made from the sweater is to head to the thrift store and checkout the old purses they have on racks.  Find one with the handles you like and any other bling and cut them off the purse and add to your own purse. 

There are so many ways to recycle, upcycle and repurpose things you don’t use anymore into treasures.  You could even try selling them online!

recycle sweatersCredit: amazon.com
Felted Wool Fashions: Making New Styles from Old Knits
Amazon Price: $14.95 $2.74 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 15, 2016)

Upcycling Ideas

Use old sweaters to create cute mittens for yourself, for gifts or to sell.  Check out this video for a quick project.

For the mittens you don't have to felt the sweater which means you could use any type, but felting is a good way to make them stronger.  There are so many cool ways to upcycle and repurpose clothes that are no longer any use to anyone.  If you think someone could still wear the sweater don't use it, try and find one that has seen better days or no one is likely to use again. 

Rcycling is a good thing, but not if someone needs something to wear!  Check out more ideas, by searching youtube or books like the one above and enjoy creating one of a kind crafts and projects.  If you make unique purse you could also try selling them.