Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sweater Purse 2.0

Here is another addition of the Sweater Purse.  This purse was made for a friend that has everything.  I knew that this purse had to be special.  I decided to down-size the large purses I made in my last Sweater Purse 1.0 post to: 1. Accommodate more purses out of one sweater and 2. Make it easier for me to handle.

I certainly will get more purses out of one sweater, but I did not make it easier on myself!  First, I took a hot pink sweater that was previously felted from my first Sweater Purse 1.0 post.

This one dd not shrink too much
Then I cut the sweater across the chest just below the armpit and then cut that bottom section in half.

Use a rotary cutter - it makes life a piece of cake

Instead of sewing the bottom waist/ribbed area closed to make it the purse bottom, I'm turning these around and making the ribbing the top.  My goal is to make two separate drawstring wristlets.  I am only demonstrating how I made one, because the second one will be the same except for the embellishment on the front, which you will see later.

I'm also trying something new this time and I am going to line the purse.  The liner I chose is a length of fabric that I bought at a yard sale for 50 cents.  It was at least a 3/4 yard length.  I get so stoked when I find something fab like this for cheap.

Very chic 50 cent liner!!

I utilized the side seam in the sweater and turned it inside-out and sewed up the other side, leaving the ribbed end open and then sewed the cut end for the bottom closed.  I then attempted to sew a gusset seam so that the purse would have more body.  I sewed this so that the seams from the bottom of the purse looked like a plus symbol. I did not take a pic of this specifically, but you will see it in a below pic. 

I cut the liner slightly larger than the purse, to allow the purse to stretch a bit when something is placed inside it.  This was a bit of a challenge, because at first I sewed it too big, then unstitched and sewed it too small.  I also was trying to be professional about it (sewing like how a pattern would have you sew in a liner) but that did not work.  Phooey on patterns!  I sewed it just like I did for the outer purse but then placed it aside to insert later.

I wanted to make a flower applique to affix to the outside of the purse.  I cannot draw for the life of me, so I found a applique picture from an old knit magazine and had Vince's teenage daughter draw it out for me on a piece of scrap paper.  With this I took some sweater scraps from past projects and drew the flower on the scraps with washable magic marker.  I also cut a strip of the liner.

Homemade applique flowers

Once the daughter cut out the flowers for me, there was marker residue on the edges.  I took them to the sink and ran them under cool water and rubbed the edges until the marker was gone.  I then pressed the flower pieces between a towel.  They are wool, so they dried in no time.

While I was doing my purse project, Vince's daughter was having fun with my sweater and liner scraps.  She was tying little bits end to end and made a bracelet.  Then she made a bracelet for her dog, Maggie, a miniature pekingese.

What a good sport, Maggie was!

Meanwhile, I attempt a rosette with the liner scrap with a needle and thread.  I don't bother to look it up, it seemed easy enough.  Ha, well, when I was done, it did not quite come out like a rosette, but it was cool enough.  I layered the two flowers on top of each other, a bit skewed so the pedals were off-lined and then sewed my liner rosette in the middle.  I then affixed my new flower applique to the purse.

Is it cute or what? I amaze myself sometimes!

I'm not trying to brag, but I do not consider myself a very creative person.  I am crafty, but creative?  Creativity to me is something unique coming out of your own brain.  When something does come out of it, I am amazed, usually I just copy someone else's idea.  I do not claim the idea my own, but I try to do a decent job of mimicking something I see.  Oh, also, can see the seam in the front of the purse?  That is my gusset.  Eh, who knows if will help.

I then took the liner I set aside and turned it righside-out.  I inserted it inside the sweater purse and folded down the top edge so that the raw edges are not exposed.  I used a zig-zag stitch to sew the liner to the purse to allow it some stretch when the purse it opened.

Liner material is the worst with fraying.  It will fray the second you cut it.  That is why I thought that it would look cute as the rosette on the flower, the strip was quite frayed by the time I was done stitching it.

Fray no more, Liner!

As you can see, I sewed the liner about where the sweater started to rib, so about a 2" section was unlined.  In this section I inserted grommets.  This will be where my drawstring with be threaded through.

Make a hole with the tool and punch the grommet in.

Since this sweater was not very heavily felted, the ribbing was a bit delicate and I really only needed to make a hole one punch wide, but did two because it looked too small.  Once I put my finger in it to place the grommet in, I realized that one would have been enough.  Oh well, live and learn.

Now, I was having a hard time coming up with what to use as a drawstring.  Ribbon seemed too thin, but the sweater seemed like it might work.  So, I cut a strip of the sweater to test my theory.

Strip that sweater!

When I pulled on the sweater strip, it did not react well.  I thought that it may rip if pulled too tight.  As you see in the above pic, I raided my yarn stash to see what I had in there that would match.  I found some white Berocco Plush from when I made a lamb baby blanket.  That is a story all on it's own.  The blanket came out awesome, but it was challenging.  Anyway, Plush is like yarn spun from a cloud.  Soooo soft.  I also had some tan Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande leftover from the same lamb baby blanket.  This was just as soft as the Plush, but it was spun from a baby alpaca.  What a treat that was to work with!

Anyway, I took strands about a yard long of the Plush, Grande and sweater and braided it.  I taped it down with duct tape like you did when you made friendship bracelets out of embroidery thread.  I only accomplished the herringbone style once and I kept it; so much for making friends! Ha ha!

I held the yarn strands together to equal one sweater strand

Now, threading this braid through the tiny grommets proved to be a challenge.  Vince helped, as usual, when I started to get frustrated.  It was threaded through so that the ends came out on the side.  I opened the purse to determine where the the knot was to go on the drawstring then knotted it so that the strands all hung together like fringe.

Yea, it's done!

I really liked the way this came out.  On the second one, I will make only one hole for the grommets and will do a different applique.  The second one does not have to be done until March, so I have some time to work on it still (I love burning the candle at both ends).  I don't have much of this pink sweater left, so I may come up with a different drawstring as well.  Here is the close-up of the applique that I am so proud of:

The fray gives it charm

If you have any ideas of other styles I could try using my felted sweaters, then I'm all ears!  I have a few more ideas up my sleeve, but I am always receptive to what you guys have to say!

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