Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Upcycle: Shirt to Purse

Some of you may recognize the top shirt/purse as my final project from One Month to Win It, a sewing/crafting contest that I won in April! I love the little details in clothing so I used those details in my purse patterns. You can find the pattern for the pink shirt/tote over at Craft Buds. I've uploaded a free PDF pattern* for this purse here. The pattern is 2 pages. You'll want to print both pages out, line up the dots and tape them together. For some reason, in my browser the PDF preview shows the pages are cropped but once I download it, it shows correctly.

For this bag you'll need:
  • one long-sleeved western style shirt
  • 1/2 yard fusible fleece
  • 1/2 yard fabric for the liner (I used a heavier weight home dec fabric)
To get started, assemble all the pieces in the photo below including:
  1. Two pockets from the front of the shirt
  2. A 6 1/2" x 9 1/2" rectangle for the inner fabric including the buttons from the front of the shirt
  3. 12" (or longer) zipper
  4. Four strips total of 18" x 2 1/2" fabric, one strip cut from each of the two shirt sleeves including the button, and two strips from the liner fabric. (Using these measurements, the final sewn and attached strap will be around 34" long x 2" wide so feel free to adjust as necessary if you'd like a different length/width. If you're using a lighter weight fabric shirt and/or liner, you may want to add strips of the fusible fleece to the inside of the strap for extra reinforcement.)
  5. Use the pattern to cut pieces from the top back and lower back of the shirt for the main body of the bag.
  6. Use the pattern to cut two pieces of fusible fleece.
  7. Use the pattern to cut two pieces of the liner fabric.
  8. Save the cuffs for a wallet (pictured near the end of the post).

First you'll get the pockets ready. Sew the pockets to one of the exterior pieces (left photo). I sewed across the top, then pinned the flaps up and sewed the sides and bottom. For the inner pocket (right photo), hem the edges of the rectangle and sew it to one of the pieces of fabric for the liner.

Iron the fusible fleece to the shirt fabric. Iron the top of the piece down 3/8" to help later with the zipper installation. It's optional if you want to stitch it down.

Then with right sides together sew the bottom and sides shut.

Then pinch together the bottom corners (left photo below) and sew them shut. Pinch together the top corners (right photo below) and sew together, sewing down your folded or hemmed edges from the step above and leaving a 1/4" gap where you'll be adding the zipper soon.

Follow the same instructions for the liner. Then nestle the liner inside the outer pieces. Now pin the zipper in place between the two layers and stitch along the sides using your zipper foot. (The left photo below shows raw edges, but in your version you should have either ironed or stitched the raw edge two steps ago.)

Now get the strap ready. First sew the strips together at the centers so you have a single long strip from the shirt fabric and from the liner fabric. Then sew them together with right sides together (shown below). Turn right side out. Hem the bottoms or fold under. Then sew the strap to the bag with an X inside a square.

For the wallet you'll cut off both cuffs from the shirt and open them up. Line up the raw edges of the two cuffs and zig zag stitch them together. Cut a 1" strip of fabric for the contrasting stripe and iron the long edges under 1/4". Sew it to the center to cover up the zig zag stitching/raw edges of the cuffs. Then fold up about 2/3 of the bottom of the wallet and stitch down the sides. The snaps from the shirt act as the closure.

And here's a few more shots of the finished set!

* This is a free pattern designed only to give you a guideline as to how I made this upcycled purse. All shirts are different so there are no guarantees yours will turn out exactly like this one. Please use the pattern at your own risk.