What you needA felted sweater (instructions below)
Needle and thread
Large safety pin
Ruler or yard stick
TO FELT A SWEATER
The sweater must be 100% wool. Good will is a great place to find old wool sweaters to felt.
Place in the washing machine with hot water and soap, and allow it to go through a full cycle. Dry in the dryer.
The garment should be well felted by the end of the process, if not, you can always repeat the process. Once felted, the garment may be cut into pieces, and it will not ravel!
TO MAKE THE PURSE
Read all the way through the instructions once before beginning.
Cut the felted garment apart at the seams so you have a flat piece to work with. Using the back piece of the garment, cut out a large rectangle, any size you wish.
The bag shown was made using a piece which measures 11 inches by 14 inches. You decide, any size is perfect!
Fold the cut out rectangle in half, and using either a sewing machine, or needle and thread, sew across the bottom, and along one side, leaving one edge not sewn-up, as this will be the top of the bag. (At the top seam of the bag, leave about 1 inch not sewn up, this will leave a slit for passing the cord through). If you are hand sewing, it is recommended that you first sew the seams using a running stitch, and then go back over the seams with a binding stitch, or another row of running stitch, to secure the seams well. Fold the top of the bag over, about 1 1/2 inches.
Again, using either a sewing machine or a needle and thread, sew all across the bottom edge of the folded material, to form a channel to pass the cord through. You may fold it to the inside or the outside. Folding it to the outside adds another textural element to the bag.
For the decorations on the front of the bag, cut a strip of felted wool, about 1 inch wide, and about 10 inches long. Pull it tightly to cause it to curl up on the edges. Arrange it in the shape of an “s”, or any other shape you would like, such as a heart, and stitch in place with a needle and thread. Sew a large button in the centers of the two curves of the “s”. You may use thread to do this, or yarn. The sample shown used yarn, knotted to the front.
Cut another strip, or use scraps of wool, and tie knots in 4 lengths of wool, about 1/2 inch wide. ( It is easier to tie knots in a long strip, and then cut them off the strip, then to try to tie knots into short strips .) Arrange these knots of wool around your ‘S’ and stitch them in place using needle and thread. Cut two strips of wool, as long as your piece will allow, and cutting from the bottom of the sweater to the top, rather than across the sweater, as this will make a stronger cord..
Pull the strips to force them to curl. If the curl is sufficient, use it as is, if not, you can stitch along the length of the curl to bring the ends together. Using a large safety pin, pass one strip into each channel formed at the top of the bag, and bring the ends of the cord together on each side. If the cord is not too bulky, tie the two ends into knots. If it is bulky as in the sample shown, sew the ends together using needle and thread, or yarn.
The yarn was then wrapped around the ends several times, and then secured by passing through the wool fabric several times. The cords can be kept evenly on each side, or pulled all to one side. This would make a cord long enough to place over your shoulder. To close the bag, gather the channel by pushing on each side.