Felted Wool Sweater Totes

Studio 5 Contributor Jennifer Heslop says you need to be just a little handy with a needle and thread.


• 100% wool sweater (Shetland, cashmere, merino & alpaca work well)

• chalk

• scissors

• needle & strong thread

• sewing machine (optional)

1. Begin by washing your sweater in the washing machine, using the hottest water possible. Washing will cause the wool fibers to compress, making the sweater denser and smaller. This process is called felting. It may take several washings to felt the sweater.

2. Once the sweater has been felted (usually 3 washings), lay the sweater flat to dry.

3. Turn the sweater inside out. Mark lines for cutting with chalk. You are cutting off the sleeves and neckline of the sweater to create tote handles.

4. Refold sweater so the side seams of the sweater and the strap openings face front.

5. Using a ¼” seam, hand stitch or machine stitch the bottom closed.

6. Turn tote right side out.

7. To create the handles, fold each handle in half lengthwise, matching up raw edges. Hand sew or machine stitch along raw edge.

8. Tote is finished. You may choose to embellish tote by using scraps of felted sweater to create flowers, pockets, etc. Buttons and ribbon add nice touches.

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