|It started as a $4 thrift store sweater...|
|...and became a book tote.|
Still hooked on upcycling, I noticed this sweater at the thrift store and saw a tote bag hiding within. The cute snowflake and bright red color attracted me. I was also thinking of the boys who wanted to take my homeschool co-op sewing class. A book tote seemed like something that would appeal to them. So here's the how-to.
After putting this 100% lambswool sweater through the washer and dryer to felt it, I trimmed it into a basic bag shape. I cut the sleeves along the raglan seam lines, trimmed off the bottom edge and cut off the hood. I also took a bit off the top, because it had a v-neck and I wanted it to be straight along that edge and to make the opening wider. The shape of the sweater you find will guide you on this trimming step.
Remember that gray wool sweater from my earlier post? It was also 100% lambswool and about the same weight as this red sweater. The gray matched the snowflake. So it made a perfect bottom to this bag. I cut open the two sleeves and stitched them together to make side seams.
To attach the gray part to the red, turn the gray inside out and the red right side out and line up the edges this way. Then sew them together. I added another row of zigzag stitching just to be on the safe side, since this bag is meant to carry books, which can be pretty heavy.
Here's how it looks when you turn the gray part right side out.
Now it's time to turn it all inside out again, and stitch the bottom closed.
It would probably work to leave the bottom this way, but I like the idea of making box corners. It's easy too. Just open out the bottom and sew across the bottom seam this way. I set it in two inches, but the amount is up to you as the designer of your own bag.
Now, all that's left to do is sew the shoulder strap on. Put one end of the strap on the inside of the top edge of the bag, and sew it. I added a row of zigzag stitching here too for insurance. (Imagine a load of library books dropping on your foot. Ouch!) Do the same on the other side of the strap.
And there you go. Happy book toting!