I’m currently taking a design and textiles program at Orkney College and we’ve just started learning to use knitting machines. I think I’ve fallen in love with knitting machines, but I’ll get into that later.
I had knit a fairly large piece of turquoise lambs wool and hadn’t fully decided what I was going to do with it. I decided to felt it, so I popped it in the washing machine on 40 with a towel. I knew I wanted to make a bag and started searching online for inspiration.
I came across a great tutorial by The Renegade Seamstress for a wool clutch bag and decided to give it a go. I decided I wanted to line my bag and also do some machine embroidery. I also decided to cover it with a few Swarovski crystals I had kicking around.
Now my first piece of advice on felted wool is make sure it’s properly felted before you cut into it. Just snip a corner and if it doesn’t fray you’re good to go, otherwise pop it back in the machine. I had to rewash mine. Don’t forget you lose about 30% of the size with each wash.
I always make a pattern out of a tracing paper before I set off. I’ve had too many issues when I’ve decided to eyeball it! I created two pattern pieces, once for the felt and one for the fabric as it was going to see a seam allowance.
Next I cut the fabric and marked out where I wanted the corner on the front to the cut. Ok, obviously I needed to cut a corner out of the lining as well and this is where I messed up…twice. First go I cut the wrong corner…so make sure you line your fabric up properly. So I cut a new piece of fabric, cut the correct corner but totally forgot about the seam allowance! Ah well, I made it work in the end.
After cutting out the wool I covered it with various machine embroidery stitches. I didn’t follow any guide or anything, just went with it. I then tied each row of stitching off and sewed on the crystals using a clear thread. After I was finished with the wool, I sewed up the edges of the lining and pinned it to the wool.
Ok so my blanket stitch leaves a lot to be desired, but I got through it and finished it.
Over all I’m really happy with my first attempt at this bag and thought the tutorial was great. I feel my bag is a bit big, and next time I think I might use some interfacing so it’s not as floppy.
If you have an old wool sweater kicking around, give it try! Thanks Renegade Seamstress, that was fun!