An Easy Winter Sweater Tote Refashion Tutorial


Learn how to refashion an old sweater into a tote with this easy to follow photo tutorial from The Renegade Seamstress

Lucky me! I got to spend the weekend at Anthony Lakes Ski Resort. Even though the temperature was in the single digits we had a great time. The band Standard Deviation was rockin’ the Starbottle Saloon, the snow was perfect and the sun even made an appearance. It was just what I needed.

Of course, a girl can’t just bring a regular bag up to the mountain. :) This called for a quick sweater refashion. I think it took me longer to decide which sweater to use than to actually make this totebag. I chose a wool sweater that was about 80% wool. It felted slightly after washing it in hot water and drying it on the hottest setting.

First, cut off the sleeves and the collar. The sleeves made a perfect cabin hostess gift for Linda to make some leg warmers. She was thrilled! I can’t wait to see how she styles them.

Learn how to refashion an old sweater into a tote with this easy to follow photo tutorial from The Renegade Seamstress

Next, you’ll need some handles. I chose to use handles from this old purse I found at my thrift store for a quarter.

Learn how to refashion an old sweater into a tote with this easy to follow photo tutorial from The Renegade Seamstress

Decide how big you’d like your bag and cut identical pieces from your sweater, interfacing and lining. You’ll need two of each.

A Winter Tote5

Place the right sides of your sweater together and sandwich it between the two pieces of interfacing. Pin and sew three sides, leaving the top open.

Learn how to refashion an old sweater into a tote with this easy to follow photo tutorial from The Renegade Seamstress

Stitch across the bottom corners.

Learn how to refashion an old sweater into a tote with this easy to follow photo tutorial from The Renegade Seamstress

Right sides together, stitch three sides of your lining together, leaving the top open. Leave an opening in the bottom seam.

Learn how to refashion an old sweater into a tote with this easy to follow photo tutorial from The Renegade Seamstress

Turn the sweater right side out, pin handle, slide sweater into lining so right sides are together.

I started with this ribbon to attach the handle, but later changed my mind and used part of the sweater left overs. I apologize for not having a picture, but I attached it the same way as the ribbon.

Learn how to refashion an old sweater into a tote with this easy to follow photo tutorial from The Renegade Seamstress

Pin and sew the lining to the sweater around the top including the handle attachment.

Learn how to refashion an old sweater into a tote with this easy to follow photo tutorial from The Renegade Seamstress

Now you’re ready to turn it all right side out. Bring it all through the opening you left in the lining.

Learn how to refashion an old sweater into a tote with this easy to follow photo tutorial from The Renegade Seamstress

Pin and sew the opening closed.

Learn how to refashion an old sweater into a tote with this easy to follow photo tutorial from The Renegade Seamstress

Tuck the lining back inside the bag, fill it with some goodies and you’re ready to rock the mountain.

Learn how to refashion an old sweater into a tote with this easy to follow photo tutorial from The Renegade Seamstress

Thanks again, Linda! I had a great time!

Learn how to refashion an old sweater into a tote with this easy to follow photo tutorial from The Renegade Seamstress

Learn how to refashion an old sweater into a tote with this easy to follow photo tutorial from The Renegade Seamstress

You might also like:

Ten Ways to Refashion a Sweater

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About The Renegade Seamstress

I'm a busy mom, grandma, and teacher who loves to create. I've just recently joined the refashion scene and I 'd like to share and connect with all those talented and creative people out there doing similar things.
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70 Responses to An Easy Winter Sweater Tote Refashion Tutorial

  1. ooobop! says:

    Such a cool bag. So expensive looking too… love it! ‘Drying in hot water’?! ;-)

  2. Mother Deer says:

    This tote looks great. I particularly like the way that you attached the handles. The additional sweater fabric gives it a substantial look and balances the visual weight of the bag. Another successful refashion adventure!

    • Thank you Mother Deer. The sweater was a much better choice for the handle than the ribbon. Not sure why I even thought that might work.
      Happy Monday!
      Beth

      • Mother Deer says:

        I have a vintage sweater set (long skirt and sweater) that I’ve decided I can no longer wear, no matter how much I like it. I’d like to refashion it as an outfit, but don’t have any inspiration. If I sent you a picture of it, would you care to give me your thoughts? Since we are of the same size and shape, I trust that you would suggest something that would flatter “our” figure :) Thanks in advance…

  3. What a great idea! So cute.Looks either expensive or you spent a whole lot of time knitting it!

  4. Trenna says:

    ADORABLE!!!!!!……as usual!!!!!!! One of these days I’m gonna get brave and try my own refashion!!!! But love seeing your inspirational pieces!!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Very very cute I love your design!

  6. Joen says:

    Very cute! I bet the leg warmers looked great too!

  7. Leilani says:

    So simple, so precious. I can think of many friends who would love this as a gift.:)

  8. Love the tote – plus I am a tote fiend – the more the better:) Happy Monday!

  9. Sharon Lanham says:

    I love the colors of this tote. I also have some handles that I could use. I bought them for a crochet purse, but I’m thinking I’d rather do this project instead of the crochet purse. I am making myself finish my alterations pile before I do this fun project. Please keep on posting these projects. It is inspiring to see your results. Good instructions. Sharon

  10. Pingback: Tutorial: Winter tote from a refashioned sweater · Sewing | CraftGossip.com

  11. Julie Criswell says:

    I just got a great old wool sweater for $2….. Can’t wait to try this!! :)

  12. cathynd95 says:

    Really like this idea for a bag!!

  13. Jo H. says:

    This is such a great idea and so well made. As usual, I’m so happy you share your ideas with us because I wouldn’t think of these things on my own.

  14. Absolutely fantastic & the colours are divine!
    *Let me know if you’d ever like to do a swap: http://awesomesauceasshattery.com/swap-with-me/
    =O)

  15. jenyjenny says:

    Beautiful! I love felted wool. This sweater has a mellow and gorgeous color combination, and the bag looks fantastic.

    • Thanks so much, Jenny!! I loved the colors, too. I gave the sleeves to a friend of mine for leg warmers. We’re going to have a photo shoot on Friday. Hope to post how she styled them this weekend!
      Beth

  16. How cute! I can totally do this and what a great gift it would make. Going to the thrift store right now.

  17. RACY says:

    fantastic bag/tutorial…you always inspire me! thanks for sharing :)

  18. kendraalyse says:

    This project looks like it could be fairly easy for someone with no sewing skill, but would like to learn?

  19. Another fantastic idea – and beautifully executed, as usual! Thanks for sharing this, Beth.

  20. adaisygarden says:

    I look at clothes in the thrift store differently since I’ve been reading your blog! I now think, “Can I use this for another sewing project?” Thanks! :)

  21. Jeni Gray says:

    This is beautiful! I love all your posts. Your tutorials are easy to understand and the photos are perfect. Thanks for all you do!! :)

  22. Cindy Alesch says:

    LOVE this! Bright colors and turned out BEAUTIFUL! (Wish there was a drawing for this one – LOL, and that I would win it!)

    • Thanks, Cindy! I’ve been using it to carry my laptop and I gave the sleeves to my friend Linda for leg warmers. We’re going to do a photo shoot of her this week so everyone can see how she styled them. Linda has the long lean legs that are perfect for leg warmers.
      Hope you’re staying warm. I heard it was -42 wind chill in your neck of the woods. YIKES!
      Beth

  23. Jakki says:

    Loved the bag! Be sure and show us what the leg warmers look like on Linda! I am looking forward to your tutorial on making bias tape!

    • Hey, Jakki! If the wind ever stops howling, we are doing a photo shoot of the leg warmers. Linda has just the right long lean legs that look great in leg warmers. And yes, the bias tape tutorial is coming soon, I promise. I just got distracted by that cute little baby in Nampa.
      Hugs,
      Beth

  24. Pingback: Upcycled, No Sew Leg Warmers From an Old Thrift Store Sweater | The Renegade Seamstress

  25. SusanC says:

    I love this! I found a great wool sweater at the thrift shop planning to make mittens. I can totally see both the mittens and tote.

  26. Pingback: Ten Ways to Refashion a Sweater | The Renegade Seamstress

  27. You have such WONDERFUL refashioning projects! I am always checking in to see what you’ve done next! I started with this posting and did my own refashioning, linking to you here: http://whittskitsfabricscrafts.blogspot.com/2013/02/weekend-wanderings-refashioning-sweaters.html
    Thanks so VERY much!
    Carrie

  28. Pingback: 20 Wonderful Tutorials for Unique Upcycled Sweater Crafts — Crochet Concupiscence

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