Upcycle a Sweatshirt to a Tote

This nice thick sweatshirt was just so lonely in the closet waiting for Christmas.  The candy cane decoration, although cute, was keeping this fine fleece from realizing its full potential. So I gathered a few supplies and turned it into a great, roomy tote bag.

I was planning on writing a full "how-to" tutorial but then realized that construction of your shirt might be different.  So here is what I did and I hope it inspires you to create an upcycled bag of your own.  Just think it through to figure out the best way to make your particular size and shape work.  Be creative - YOU CAN DO IT!

Basically what I did was cut off the sleeves and saved the cuffs for little pockets.  Flipped it upside down, stitched across near the (former) neckline, then covered the design up with a big pocket.  You will want to sew on all the pockets before you stitch the two sides together.  I sewed some sturdy, wide grosgrain ribbon on for handles.  The opening was a little baggy so I stitched some elastic on the sides of the opening, then trimmed it out with bows. By the way, the stretchy cuffs made really cute pockets and help secure the contents.  Just perfect for my phone!

Here are a few pictures to give you the idea of what I did.  You can adapt my ideas to your particular shirt style.  The neck edge is going to be the bottom of my bag and the bottom rib, the opening.  So I  cut across both layers just under the scoop of the neckline.  To cover up the candy cane, I created a pocket from the neckline and shoulder of the shirt and I trimmed it out with polka dot ribbon.

So now, I have one large pocket on what WAS the front of the sweatshirt and now I'm going to use the cuffs to make smaller pockets on what was the back side.  Stitch across the (former) neck edge to create the bottom of your bag.

I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.  Very cute and works perfectly to hold a change of clothes and even makes a great resting place for your favorite stuffed buddies.