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Re-Purposing: Sweater into Sling Purse

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Fall is the time that I start looking through the piles of old sweaters.  
Do you have a big stash like I do?  Even if they are outdated, stretched out, shrunk in the wash, etc.?  
It’s time to give those old sweaters a new life.  And turn them into something new.
I have turned my old sweaters and scarves into projects here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.  
(Haha, whew, I didn’t realize how many there were until I started attaching the links.  Wow.  But 3 are from sweaters and 4 of those are from scarves.)
But today, the old (too short) angora wool sweater becomes a sling purse.
And I think that this sweater is much happier out in the cool fall air, rather than in my stuffy dark closet.  
Don’t you agree?
It really is a great cozy little companion for any sort of outing.
The bottom of the purse adorns the ribbing from the bottom of the sweater……as well as each side of the strap.  Adds great texture.
And come on, who doesn’t love a big homemade flouncy satin flower……tacked right on with a large button?
And the inside is fully lined (helps the purse keep its shape) with a magnetic closure.
A quick project for those lonely sweaters.
(And maybe a great gift idea for you gift-givers!)
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Want to make your own?
Come on, let that favorite (no longer fitting) sweater go.  She will be loved in a different way.   
Or wait, don’t have a sweater?  
Check out the thrift store…’ll surely find some great options there.
Here’s the pre-sweater.
First, you need to cut off the bottom of the sweater, underneath the armholes, creating a square shape.
If your sweater has any contour to the sides, trim them off to make the sides straight. 
 (And I actually trimmed my sweater front and back pieces down to be 13 inches wide by 12 inches tall.)
Place the two pieces together with right sides together and sew along the sides and bottom.  Then zig-zag or overlock stitch….securing the raw edges. 
(If you’re having a problem with the sweater stretching badly as you sew, lengthen you stitch length.  Also, do another straight stitch instead of a zig-zag if that’s causing the pulling.)
Trim the two bottom corners and then turn right side out and iron flat.  (Use caution while ironing… don’t want to melt/burn the sweater, depending on what it’s made from.)
For the purse lining, I used sturdy cotton.  I cut out two pieces that were the same size as the sweater pieces and sewed them together the same way.
Then, I marked on my fabric where my magnetic purse closure would go.  Be sure to center each piece and also measure down enough from the top, to allow for a seam allowance… a little extra space.  I knew I would be using a 1/2 inch seam allowance later on, so I measured 1 inch from the top.
 Next, I attached some squares of white denim fabric (with double sided fusible web) to the wrong side of the lining fabric, right where the closures would poke through… it some reinforcement.  If you don’t have denim, use some sort of sturdy fabric. Then set aside.
Onto the purse strap.
Cut long strips from the sleeves.  From each sleeve, I cut a strip that was 3 x 22 inches.
Then I connected the two strips together to create one long strip that was about 3 x 44 inches.  
Right at the seam where I attached the two pieces together, I top-stitched on either side of the conjoining seam.
 Then I cut a piece of the lining fabric that was the same size and sewed the 2 pieces together with right sides together……only along the two long sides.
Then I turned the strap right side out and ironed it flat.   
(If your strap isn’t laying flat, top stitch along both edges of the strap…..that will help.  Or do it anyway if you like the look.  I didn’t end up doing it on mine though.)

 Then I pinned the strap to the outside of the sweater part of the purse (right sides together), making sure to center each strap end to the side seams of the purse.  Make sure to match up the raw edges of the strap and purse as well.
Then slide the purse (and attached strap) into the inside-out lining.
Pin all along the purse opening, attaching the sweater to the lining.
Sew all the way around with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, leaving about a 5 inch opening along one side.
Then turn the purse right side out through that opening, iron flat, then stitch all the way around the top…..being sure to seal off the 5 inch opening.
You can either stop here or add some detail to the purse.  
I added a big satin flower to the front, like the ones I made here.
The only difference is that I used the lighter a lot more to really ruffle up and curl the edges of the flower a lot more.  I also wanted more imperfect pieces to really give the flower some dimension…….so if you’re trying to do the same thing, just keep melting it with that lighter.  (But be careful to not burn or smoke the fabric.  Just do a little bit at a time.)
Then I placed a button on top and stitched it right to the purse.  (If you have a larger flower, you may want to add more stitches to the back of the flower in a bigger circumference than just the very center of the flower.  This will help it from flopping down.)
And that’s it.
A brand new Sling Purse from that old sweater.  
Great transformation.

Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. marie says:

    What is the best type of needle and thread to use ? I ve tried to sew on my sewing machine needle and thread keep breaking.

  2. Caitlin says:

    Do you think you could use a larger size of sweater and get two purses out of it? My sweater has a really cute pocket on either side of the bottom and I would love to have that be on the outside of the sling, if possible.

  3. Tiffany Kidder says:

    I absolutely ADORE this idea!! How clever :) Thank you for inspiring me!

  4. Jenna says:

    Can I use a cashmere sweater for this?

    Does this require ‘felting’?

  5. maggie says:

    Great Job!!!

  6. Tanya says:

    Симпатичный кошелёк =)

  7. Michele says:

    Thank you, I actually finished mine today. Great Tut. I don’t really sew but you made it easy.

  8. Dawn says:

    Love this! I made one last night. It turned out great! :o) Who would have thought you could cut up a sweater this way?!

  9. kenna says:

    lindo bolso, los colecciono …besos

  10. impian dulena says:

    beautiful and cute.. i loves it…

  11. Bethany says:

    I just made my second one! I get so many compliments on them. My first one turned out really big and I kept losing things in it, so I made my second one smaller and added a pocket. Thank you so much!

  12. kim says:

    i made this yesterday and LOVE my bag. it was my "biggest" project so far but the explanations and photos are so great that it came out really great. thanks SO MUCH for all your great tutorials! xoxo

  13. Anonymous says:

    The tutorial is great! Thanks a lot for that. I already made my second bag and I am again very happy with the outcome.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I just tried to make this and am soooo frustrated! It seemed so simple until I got to the part where you put the two pieces together. I don't understand how the inside out thing all works… Do you put the wool piece right side out or inside out when you put it inside the inside out printed piece? And how does the strap work in this stage? Where does it go and how is it sewn? IT just ends up being all lumpy and bulky and in the way…. Ah! Sorry… Serious amateur hour over here…

  15. Jeans and a Sweatshirt- says:

    I love, love, love this! I've just discovered your blog and now I'm checkin' out all of your great tutorials. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Danielle and Eric says:

    Thank you so much for your blog! I am a beginner and I find your tutorials so easy to follow! I just made my sweater bag last night…had to adjust a bit as I mistakenly used a ribbed top and it stretched a good deal when I sewed it. I just cut it down and re-stiched one side. I did applique a 'd' on the front of it…anyway, I love it!

  17. cheryl says:

    I just finished mine from an old grey sweater.. love it!! the only change i had to make was to shorten it a little seeing how i am a bit on the short side. thanks for taking the time to teach beginners like me how to make beautiful things!!

  18. Nutty Mom says:

    Thanks so much for these tutorials! I'm a beginner sewer and have tried my hand at lots of projects, most end up not finished. But thanks to your tutorials I've been able to modify things and figure them out! I can't thank you enough. I know it takes a lot of time to take pictures in between each step, and then do these posts, but you're really talented at what you do, so PLEASE don't stop!

  19. Denise says:

    I made one of these this morning, only took about 30 mins. Super easy and Super cute! I'm going to make a couple more to give my nieces for christmas : ) Thanks for the tutorial.

  20. kirstikoo says:

    What a cute project! I would love for you to share this on my Fall Link-Up!

  21. Terra says:

    I love the shade of orange of the flower-its pretty much perfect! I love the whole look of the purse.

    I like to make these satin flowers using a candle, because then you have two hands and its easier to control how much you melt the fabric. I've found that if you hold it just above the flame, the heat is enough to melt it without giving you scorch marks.

  22. says:

    That is SO pretty! I can't wait to do this, I'll be linking as well.

  23. April says:

    i LOVE THIS! Thanks for the tutorial!!

  24. aimee @ paging supermom says:

    Love it! I think I need to go through my old wonter sweater box! Thank you.

  25. Melissa says:

    I love this! It makes my heart skip a beat! I would love this! Thanks for sharing!

  26. Cheryl says:

    what a great tutorial, I can't wait to make one

  27. di says:

    Oh boy! I LOVE this! I am just amazed at all of the incredible things you're creating from sweaters! I need to run to the thrift store and stock up. lol

  28. Mami Made It says:


  29. DustieBottoms says:

    That is beautiful! I love re-purposing old sweaters. Just did some dryer balls this weekend, but they aren't as fun as the sling purse.

  30. Amanda says:

    Now I know I definitely want to add a lining to the bags I am in the process of making…and I love the flower!!!

  31. Helen says:

    I was just thinking about getting rid of one of my old sweaters. Thanks for this idea, Ashley… you're helping me again!

  32. My Marvelous Life says:

    I love this. Now I just need an old sweater!

  33. Barbie says:

    Cute idea! I love hand-made bags.

    Just a suggestion that might help somebody–I like to leave an opening in the lining of my bags to turn them right side out–the middle of the bottom works great. Then I just take a 1/8" seam to close it up. It hides down inside the bag, and I don't have to worry about anything looking wonky on the outside.

    Thanks for the great idea!

  34. Deidre says:

    Holy Crap, this is amazing. I think you just made my whole day. You took two of my favorite things and merged them into a fabulous new craft… and with a free tutorial to boot!!! I can NOT wait to go to the thrift shop for a sweater. Thank you!!

  35. bethanndodd says:

    Seriously, do you ever stop coming up with brilliant ideas!!! This is going on my list for sure!

  36. Anja says:

    I have the perfect sweater for this… Hanging there sadly knowing I'd never wear it again – AS A SWEATER! :D

    Thank you!

  37. Pink Stitches says:

    Wow! I've only just found your blog and it is fab! I have a lot to look through and the sweater bag idea is right up my alley – have one of them in my future definitely!
    Thanks for the tute!

  38. Sisters of Grace says:

    Very cute! I just might have to try that sometime.


  39. Midwestern Gone Idahoan says:

    Love this!! Thank you for sharing!! I think I will make one or two for my girls for Christmas and maybe even I will get one made for myself!! Thanks again!

  40. Jenny says:

    I just found your blog and am loving it! I am a beginning sewer and adore to repurpose–thanks for all the sweater ideas! I just finished making some cozy sweater hats (and some matching mittens) for my kiddos this weekend from your blog.

  41. Emily says:

    that's a great project, I think I'll do one with a purple sweater of mine and try to add a pocket to hold stuff too, can't be too hard and I'm sure I can look back at other tutorials to figure out the pocket part. Thanks :)

  42. Anonymous says:

    I love how you work on a budget and make old things new! Very fun! Please keep them coming!!

  43. Bree says:

    Super cute, this is a great idea! I'm definitely adding it to my project list.

  44. chikwithyarn says:

    Thank you for posting. I have a sweater that I have been thinking about turning into a sling. Thanks for the inspiration!

  45. Amy says:

    This is so cool!!! I think I'll hit the thrift store today!

    thanks for sharing :)


  46. Marty says:

    I am in LOVE with that orange fabric. I'm fixin' to make window treatments and that would be wonderful! Where did you find it?
    Thanks for all the wonderful tutorials!

  47. cheldi says:

    I love this idea! I just made mittens from the top half of a cashmere sweater yesterday:
    I think you just gave me the idea to use the rest of the sweater!

  48. Aleisha says:

    I love the purse. Thanks for the great tutorial. I'm off today so I think I'm going to visit a few thrift stores :)

  49. Anonymous says:

    that is so funky!!! I have to go make several now lol, great and easy tutorial as always. Thanks.

  50. Taylor Made says:

    Oh I can't wait to try this I just love it. Thanks for sharing.

  51. Sweet Audrey says:

    Cute!!! Thanks for sharing.

    Kisses from Spain

  52. Sew-Over-It says:

    Adorable, love the long strap on the sling. I made something similar, sweater purses & pillows just recently. Keep up the awesome work, love your blog! :)
    Heather ~

    Check out my versions:

  53. Deanna says:

    Oh, my!!! This is FRESH, BEAUTIFUL and ALL FALL!!! I LOVE IT!!! I KNOW I have an old wool sweater that this would be a fabulous fate for! :) THanks for the GREAT idea!

  54. Shana says:

    I really love this!!

  55. Our really empty nest says:

    I LOVE THIS!!! SO CLEVER! Thanks alot for sharing!! Also, it was a very easy to follow tutorial, when I make one, I will share! Sue

  56. KJ@letsgoflyakite says:

    Great job on this. Love the colour combination and final project. Well done!

  57. Karena says:

    Ashley you are too much I adore this!!

    Come read a great interview, then enter my latest giveaway!

    Art by Karena

  58. The Paisley Abbey says:

    Great tutorial and that is a really cute purse!

  59. Stephanie says:

    Beautiful! And I doubt anyone would ever realize it's made from an old sweater.

    Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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