Lickety Split $3 Upcycle Handbag…if i can do it, you can do it



This is about one of the easiest sewing projects I’ve done in a long time.  I’ve shed a lot of tears over sewing projects that I had no business doing. Advance projects that required special feet….who knew… where i just tried to wing it.

Not a good idea.

But I have this red floral Waverly fabric that I have loved since I first laid eyes on it back in the early nineties.  I just can’t let it go.

 I’m a dork – we all know this. It’s probably outdated, but it’s just so yummy especially for the fall! I’ve made it into curtains, slipcovers, and a bench seat cushion. I’ve redecorated a few times since then, but still use the curtain panels as tablecloths for my Great Table in the back yard.

 I needed a new way to get in back into my life

And now I can have it as the lining of a new handbag…that only I can see.  Yay!

I also was inspired by these colors, and a more trendier look.








The navy is an bag I think.

But alas, I steered back towards my Buffalo Gal persona and went with the red option. The sweater is my very itchy, calf length Tahari that is second hand, and did I mention very itchy.  The leather strap is from a Fossil bag that I found at Goodwill.  You know how purses sometimes come with a second strap that is oddly too long? This is that strap.

The green fabric that I’ll use for stability was a felt table runner.


If you Google ‘sweater purse’ you’ll find a ton of beautiful inspiration pieces. Please deviate from theses instructions and get creative.

This is my first Upcycled Sweater Purse so I kept it simple.

You will need:

  • a sweater 
  • Heat n Bond, $3 (a paper backed sheet of solid heat activated adhesive)
  • batting, or sturdy felt, or a thin towel.  (the point here is to recycle what you already have)
  • something to use as handles.. a belt, straps from an old purse, or reuse old bamboo handles
  • fabric for the lining
  • button and cord for closure (optional)

Here’s how i did it:

1. Measure a bag that you like the size of.  I like my L.L.Bean tote that measures 12×14 wide. Since I have a hard time cutting straight lines and keeping right angles, I cheated.  I used a large coffee table book that is about the same at the tote as a template.

Either way, cut two 13×15 (or whatever) pieces from a sweater, two from the batting or felt, two from the lining fabric, and two from the interfacing.

2. Iron the interfacing to the felt or batting with paper side up. Let it cool then peel the paper off and iron the felt to the wrong side of the sweater. Work to keep the grain of the sweater straight, not wavy or stretched to one side.




 3. Put the two new layers together, sweater sides touching, and sew the sides and bottom leaving a 1/2 inch allowance.



















4. Box the corners if you like.  It’s simple to do and is a little bit nicer than the knife edge look (unboxed). Withe the purse still inside out, sew perpendicular across the corner seam.

Here’s a great picture from a

Picnik collage

5. Turn the bag right side out and pin your handles where you want them.  I pinned mine in 2″ from the sides. Stitch a few passes since you want the handles very strong.


















6. For a closure, I cut a 5 inch piece of cord and tied the ends together in a double knot, and then hand stitched the knot 1/4″ from the top edge in the center.  The loop lays against the purse as you sew. 

 7. With right sides together, sew your lining fabric together along the sides and bottom LEAVE A THREE INCH OPENING ALONG THE BOTTOM IN THE CENTER. You will use this hole to pull the sweater through.


  8. Slide the lining over the sweater.  Cord and handles are between the layers. Pin and sew leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance.


  9.  Using the hole in the bottom of the lining, pull the sweater through…carefully. Sew the hole closed. Tuck, smooth, and iron the top edge for a crisper look.

10.  Add a button. Voila!

Wasn’t that so easy? Think of the possibilities!!!  Hopefully, you only spent $3 on the HeatnBond making this possibly the least expensive  upcycled purse you’ve ever owned.   



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Filed under DIY, make it or fake it

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