I like upcycling, repurposing and crafting with my kids

Archive for the tag “knitting & crochet”

Upcycling Clothing: Jumper Dress Bag

Girl's jumper dress for upcycling into a bag

Pretty knitted jumper dress, sadly a bit stained

We are so fortunate to have several lovely friends with older girls who pass on their sweet clothes to us when they’re outgrown. I love this stripy pink jumper dress but unfortunately it has several stains on it which I couldn’t remove with washing – a hazard of raising young children!

There are several ways to recycle clothes that look a bit too sad – a great way is to give them to your favourite charity shop as they can sell the items by weight to textile recyclers for bedding etc. Another even better way is to refashion or upcycle them into another item of clothing, a keepsake soft toy (like we did here) or in this case a bag! I do have a bit of a thing for bags, as regular readers will know…!

I decided to keep this bag quite soft and floppy as the fabric is soft and cuddly itself. It’s lined with a man’s shirt (husband’s cast-off) and I decided to also use the shirt fabric for the strap.

Here’s what I used to make this very simple bag…

  • jumper dress & old shirt
  • medium-weight fusible interfacing
  • sewing machine & thread
  • rotary cutter and board (these are optional, but make cutting straight so much easier)
  • iron (you really can’t skip this bit, even if like me you really want to!)

The fun part is cutting it all up…

To get a clean straight edge and a matching size on my shirt lining fabric, outer bag and interfacing I used my self-healing mat and rotary cutter with a wide ruler. Once the inner bag fabric (the shirt) and the outer bag (jumper dress) were cut to size I ironed on fusible interfacing to the shirt fabric to give it more structure.

Then just sew it all together…

I made the strap from the shirt’s placket (the button hole strip on the front of a shirt). This has the advantage both of being already shaped & straight and having interfacing inside so it has a stiffer texture, useful in a strap.

I stacked the pieces together and pinned ready for sewing in the following order:-

  1. first lining piece, right side down
  2. first outer bag piece, right side up
  3. second outer bag piece, right side down
  4. second lining piece, right side up

Then I sewed the top ribbed part onto the bag and attached the shirt placket strap

Reusing shirt as bag strap and lining

Shirt placket strap is sewn onto the bag

Hand sewing recycled bag

Some bits have to be sewn on by hand

The resulting product is a soft bag, ideal for a little girl (or even a big girl like me!). I really liked the buttons feature on the original dress so used them to embellish the bag. A fun way to recycle pre-loved clothes into something cute and useful 🙂

Jumper dress turned into a bag

I’ve linked this to Craft Schooling Sunday by the fabulous Creative Jewish Mom – have a click to see the awesome craft shares 🙂


Homemade Gift Ideas: the mug cosy

These heartwarming little numbers are the perfect gift for the tea lover or coffee addict, and you can knit or crochet one up in a jiffy. I made them for teachers and a colleague for Christmas – ideal gifts for busy ladies who probably never get to drink a warm cup of tea 😉

I knitted mine using 2 different methods with interesting results – the reddy-pinky one is a simple moss stitch (knit one, purl one) and the blues are knitted in a smocked stitch which I found on this excellent Youtube tutorial by iKNITS

For both styles I cast on what I thought would be the right number of stitches (around 60) and knitted vertically until I liked the height of them (rather than fewer stitches and knitting it long enough to go round the mugs). The result was that the smocked stitch cosies were perfect as I followed someone else’s pattern, and the improv moss stitch was way too long!! I panicked as it was a gift and had to be given the next day (the previous attempt went wrong too!) My level-headed hubby then suggested just wrapping it further round the mug and adding a big button. It worked, hurray! (and phew!)

The felt labels are decorated with embroidery silks and stitched onto the cosies. I added a ‘string’ of wool to complete the tea bag look. The buttons, in true ShabbyShe tradition, are reused from my button box.

For my next cosy (for me, obviously!) I’ve pinched my sewing circle friend Heidi’s suggestion and knitted horizontally. Now that is good advice 🙂

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