I found a $3 sweater at Goodwill. With a little felting in the washing machine and a few seams, it became a messenger bag in no time flat. If you’re interested in making something similar, here’s what I learned.
The secret is hot water and friction. I threw my gardening sneakers in the washing machine with some old beach towels and the sweater on hot and got good results in one wash. You want it to shrink enough that the edges won’t unravel when cut and that it’s dense enough that the bag won’t sag when full.
Make the most of the ribbing
I used the ribbing on the cuff as a cell phone pocket and the ribbing on the waist as a decorative element on the top of the bag.
Reinforce the strap
Even though it’s felted, the strap is likely to stretch under the weight of the bag and because long, thin things stretch more than pieces that are closer in shape to a square. The key is to reinforce the strap with a piece of woven fabric to stabilize it. I used a scrap of quilting cotton and top-stitched it onto the back of the strap. This totally eliminated the stretching.
Share the process
I gave this bag to my cousin for Christmas and enclosed in the cell phone pocket pictures of the original sweater and the process I used to turn it into her bag. People love understanding how things were made and especially things that were handmade for them. Share the process. They’ll love it.