Alpaca sweater to felted bag

My sister-in-law Stacy had this lovely alpaca sweater from her college days that she no longer wore, and asked if I "could do something with it?" Sorry to say I didn't take any pics of the original sweater, but it was a natural cream-colored 100% alpaca, and after a few hot water washes and drying, it felted up nicely. The stitches were still visible, which gave the fabric some texture. Below are the felted pieces, as I pondered what to do next. Stacy had mentioned the sweater might make a  great felted bag, so that was my goal.

As she is the mother of two boys, who herself has many interested outside of her engineering work, I thought a cross-body flap bag would do the trick, utilitarian yet stylish. I used almost every bit of that felted fabric.

The body of the bag was made with one front, with the sleeves seamed together forming the back. 
I was able to squeeze out the handles from the one narrow front which had the buttonholes.

This outside pocket was actually one of the patch pockets from the sweater front, which I removed and then sewed back onto the bag. One of the sweater's leather buttons, with some pony-tail elastic, served as the bag's closure.

Lining was used to give the bag some structure, but I did not use any stabilizer as I wanted the bag to be somewhat soft. The felted fabric was pretty dense as it was. 
I added lining fabric to the handles also for stability to avoid stretch.  
The handles were left fairly long to allow for cross-body wear, but a strap slide was added to allow the wearer to carry this bag over her shoulder if desired.
As you can see, one interior zippered pocket was added with a ring pull. The ring pull could be used to clip a set of keys to.

I had just enough felted fabric left to make a small zippered change/cosmetic purse.

The finished set:

Bag measurements:15" length X 16" width
Handle measurements: 1.5" X 45"
Small purse measurements: 7" X 7"

Stay tuned for more bags......I've been sewing with LEATHER!


  1. Fabulous use of a no longer worn sweater. I love the lining you used.

  2. Fantastic - so beautiful and cozy! I can't wait to see what you've done with leather - exciting!

  3. Beautiful bag and love the texture and the lining. .. great job.

  4. Fantastic bag! I love seeing what people make with recycling.

  5. So cool! I love the cross-body style and use of the pocket/button. Can't wait to see the leather bag!

  6. That turned out lovely! The fabric you used for lining is amazing! g

  7. Awesome! I love that lining...I have that same fabric in my stash!


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