Repurposing an Old Sweater

  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
Repurposed Sweater into Bag

If you love the soft, dainty look of knit purses but you don't know how to knit, it is still possible for you to make one. The best part is, it will save you a lot of time over knitting one!

I repurposed an old sweater I found at a thrift store to make this knit purse.




This is what I started with.


Sweater on table


As I examined it, I decided to turn the sweater upside down and use the ribbing along the bottom as the edging for the flap of my purse.


Sweater on cutting mat


I started by turning the sweater inside out and cutting off the sleeves.


Cut sweater on mat


Next, using a Fiskars acrylic ruler, cutting mat, and rotary cutter, I cut the panels for my purse from the front and back of the sweater and the lining panels from a lightweight denim. The sweater panels were cut to 19 1/2 inch x 9 1/4 inch. The lining panes were cut to 14 3/4 inch x 9 1/4 inch and 14 1/4 inch x 9 1/4 inch.  On the top sweater panel, I measured down 5 1/4 inches and cut across the panel and left it in place. I cut a 1 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch notch out of the bottom corner of the panels so I could create a box bottom to the purse and have a little more room inside of it.


Sweater on cutting mat closeup


To connect my panels, I stitched a 1/2 inch seam down both sides of the panels and along the bottom of it. When I stitched down the 5 1/4 inch section, I only stitched the sides down. I don't own a serger so I  I zig-zag stitched in the seam allowances to prevent the knit material from unraveling.


cut fabric


To box the base, I held the panels like this.


Sewn corner of cut fabric


Next, I pinched the two seams together.


Sewn fabric, closeup of seam


Then I stitch a 1/2 inch seam across the opening. Keep the lining turned inside out.


Sweater sewn onto cut fabric


To attach the lining to the outer layer, I began by placing the edges of the short sweater panel and the short lining panel, right sides together, and stitching them with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.


Sewn sweater onto fabic on cutting mat


Then, I flipped the lining over and tucked it down inside the bag. I folded the other edge of the sweater panel under 1/2 inch and pinned it to the lining, attaching the 2 by hand stitching them together.  I used this same method to finish the sides of the opening. Finally, I slip stitched the ribbed edges of the panels together. I could have machine stitched them together earlier in the process, but I didn't want to give up any of my ribbed edging to the seam allowance. 


Braided yarn


I braided 3 groups of 3 strands of yarn together to make the shoulder strap. I knotted close to each end and stitched the knots to the sides of the purse.


Yarn attached as handle to sewn sweater bag


To complete the purse, I stitched a giant button to the flap. And without a single knit or purl, I have a pretty little sweater knit purse!

Supply List

Thrifted sweater, material for lining, thread, yarn for shoulder strap, button.