When it comes to tech possessions, we all have to try a little harder to express our individuality. I carry around my computer, phone, and mp3 player, self-conscious of the fact that I am merely one in a sea of identical metallic cubes. I may not be able to customize my electronics quite the way I like, but boundless opportunity arises in their accessories. Why spend money on some uninspired plastic case made in a factory halfway across the world, when you can create your own upcycled masterpiece? This week’s How-Tuesday comes from Faith and Justina Blakeney‘s Refashioned Bags, teaching us how to turn a sweater that’s past its prime into a laptop’s fuzzy best friend.
Recycling and reappopriating everyday items into designer accessories is fun, cheap, easy, and oh-so-eco!
But have no fear; you need not be a seamstress or a metalsmith to make it happen. This book, like recycling, is for everybody. With just a few basic tools and a spare afternoon, you’ll be making everyday bags, utility bags, totes and shoppers, clutches, and other small bags for special occasions.
So it’s time to get creative, clean out the closets, and discover what hidden treasures lie within. Your wardrobe, your wallet, and your planet will thank you.
We all have mini fashion disasters — buttons falling off of coats, stains, and worst of all, shrinking that fave old sweater in the wash. At the Compai Compound, we have learned to see these mishaps as windows of opportunity. So the next time your favorite wool sweater ends up in the wash, don’t use it to clean your bathroom floor — hook your computer up with a new winter wardrobe!
Quick Tip: Make sure the sweater is made of at least 80 percent animal fiber (wool, alpaca, cashmere — you know, the good stuff), or it won’t felt. Then machine wash your sweater in hot water and dry it on hot in the dryer.
1 old wool sweater
3 yards (2.7m) yarn
1 zipper, about 20″ (51cm) long
16″ x 10″ (32cm x 25.5cm)
1. Wash your wool sweater on hot so that it shrinks and “felts.” Dry your sweater.
2. If your sweater has a zipper or buttons that open the sweater in front, cut them off. If it does not, cut the front of the sweater open anyway.
3. Cut the sleeves of the sweater off.
4. Stitch both armholes closed.
5. As shown, fold the sweater on its side so that one of the stitched armholes lies center-front. Place your laptop computer onto the sweater. Mark the length of the computer with pins on the sweater. Cut the collar and the bottom off of the sweater so that the remaining piece is 1/2″ (13mm) longer than the computer on each side.
6. Sew the top edges of the bag together with a clean finish.
7. Pin the zipper onto the open edge of the case, wrapping it around the open corner of the sweater. Stitch the zipper into place and then whipstitch any remaining openings closed if the zipper doesn’t reach the bottom corner of the case.
8. The pom-poms on our design were originally part of the sweater that we used, but if you’d like to add pom-poms to your design, wrap the yarn in a figure 8 around your index finger and thumb, in small loops, about 70 times. Pull the looped figure 8 off your fingers, then wrap the yarn around the center of those loops several times, tie a knot. Cut the loops open and throw the pom-pom in the dryer. When the dry cycle is complete, tie the pom-pom to the hole in the zipper pull.
Thanks to Faith & Justina Blakeney and the good folks at Potter Craft for sharing this project with us. For more upcycling inspiration, check out Refashioned Bags.