My upcycled sweater goodie bag tutorial

Here's the tutorial I wrote for the Monthly Maker feature on Canada Arts Connect Magazine. A Valentine's Day goodie bag made out of upcycled sweaters. Post a comment here to win one of the goodie bags!

Step 1: Materials

For my goodie bag, I want to use upcycled wool sweaters. I found these at my local thrift store for a few dollars each. I felted both by washing them in hot water. Felted wool sweaters are great for making pillow covers, baby booties, iPhone sleeves and now goodie bags! It's a fun way to repurpose a wool sweater that's worn out.

Other supplies you'll need:

    * Felt pieces
    * Embroidery thread
    * Ribbon
    * Regular thread

The ribbon, felt and embroidery thread can be found at Michaels or any other craft supply store. The regular thread can be found at any sewing supply store. I bought bright colours and a lot of pink since these are for kids and for Valentine's Day.

Step 2: Making a Pattern

Next you'll need to design a pattern. Since it's Valentine's Day, I drew a heart-shaped pattern for my goodie bag. The approximate dimensions of the bag will be 8 inches wide and 7 inches high. I wanted it to be big enough to hold quite a few treats!

I also wanted to add some text to the bag. I usually go to http://www.DaFont.com to browse for a font that will work with the design and that would be legible once I stitch it on to the piece. The addition of text is optional.

Step 3: Cutting Your Pieces

Usually I cut out an outside piece and an inside piece. I'll be adding some felt applique to the front of my bag and like using an inside piece to 'cover' all of the threads. If you're not going to add felt applique or don't want to add an inside piece to your bag then only cut out a front and back.

Since my pattern is not symmetrical I've made sure to check that my pieces are cut correctly by flipping the pattern so the front and back pieces line up.

Below I have 8 pieces cut - one of my bags will have a plain grey outside and the other will have the striped outside. Both will have a pink inside.

Step 4: Adding the Felt Applique

For the felt applique, I cut out the pieces then pin them onto the front of my bag. I also pinned the text I want to stitch onto the bag.

Feel free to skip this step and keep your bag plain. Or maybe use your sewing machine to add some flair to the bag. Here's the felt applique and stitching I added to the striped goodie bag.

Step 5: Sewing the Outside and Inside Pieces Together

Next I sew the outside and the inside together. The stitching along the sides helps as a guide when I stitch the front and back together.

First I pin the outside and inside pieces together - the striped wool with the pink felt for the inside. I also pinned my ribbon for the handle. You can use a bigger ribbon or anything else for the handle. I'm adding it now since I'll sew it onto the bag. I love how the white dots on the pink ribbon work with the striped wool!

Now it's time to pull out your sewing machine. I've decided to use turquoise thread for the grey wool bag and a light green thread for the striped wool bag. Get crazy with the colour!

I usually add a 1/4-inch seam. The seam will be on the outside and not the inside of the bag. This gives the goodie bag that handmade feel plus acts as a guide for when you stitch the front and back together.

Step 6: Stitching the Front and Back Together

We're close to done! Now we pin the front and back together. At this point, it should be easy breasy! The top pins are where I'll start and end the stitching. Make sure you leave enough room at the top to add your treats to the goodie bag.

Here's the buttonhole stitch... A fun turquoise thread that works well with the grey wool and pink felt. You can see I've lined up the front and back and then used the stitching as a guide for the buttonhole stitch. This is the most relaxing part of the project for me.

If you don't know how to do a buttonhole stitch, there are tons of resources on the Internet... Even video tutorials on YouTube! Try practicing first - remember you can always remove the stitching and start again.

Here's the completed goodie bag - see how the buttonhole stitch adds a lot of fun to the bag! I also made sure to reinforce the beginning and ending of the stitching. This is where the bag will take some wear and tear.

Step 7: Adding the Goodies

I decided to buy some treats from a local chocolate store called Cinnamon's Chocolates (http://www.cinnamons.ca) - a couple of packs of hot chocolate mix, a chocolate whale sucker, a couple of chocolate hearts, a 'love' chocolate and then some jelly bellies.

Here's both of my goodie bags with yummy treats in them. I hope whoever gets these likes them! Maybe even feels the Valentine's Day love.

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