Friday, 14 November 2014

Upcycled: A Shrunken Scarf to Messenger Bag

Upcycle Scarf to Bag

Okay, okay. So here I am talking about scarves again. In my defence though, it is winter, and there is nothing better than wrapping oneself up in a scarf on a cold, gloomy morning. I bought this new to me scarf recently (I love me a check pattern), a little doubtful as to how I would wear it as the previous owner had seriously shrank it in the wash. Never one to shy away from a little work, I bought it anyway and knew I would use it somehow...

Upcycle Scarf to Bag
What is this? A scarf for ants?
 I decided to reuse it, and make it into a little messenger bag. I didn't have a lot of scarf to use, so anything bigger was out of the question. If you want to do the same, make sure the scarf you use has been shrank and felted, otherwise the threads will unravel when you cut into it.

Upcycle Scarf to Bag

 The first step was to cut up the scarf into pattern pieces. This was easily done on this scarf, as the check pattern meant I didn't need to measure at all (hoorah!). I made one long, wide piece for the front, back, bottom, and flap, and then cut two identical pieces for the sides to give the bag some structure.

Upcycle Scarf to Bag

This delightful diagram shows the pieces laid out in a net. The first construction work I did was to sew the sides to the main piece, so that all my pieces were together in a box net (it's been a while since I've used you, Maths GCSE!). I then worked on one side at a time, sewing the net together so that the dotted lines at the right angles met. The only thing to remember at this stage is to make sure all of your seams facing the same way. After sewing, I decided that I liked the raw seams showing on the outside, but both ways work fine. When this sewing is finished, all that is left to do is add some details (AKA pimp my handbag).

Upcycle Scarf to Bag

I decided to use a toggle and a crochet ring to keep my bag fastened, although buckles and buttons would also look great. An old belt was added as a strap, et voila! A small messenger bag complete in one afternoon. Of course, you could go the extra mile and add a lining, pockets, or further embellishment. My scarf was surprisingly sturdy, but other fabrics may need cardboard structure added so that the bag keeps it's shape.  The possibilities are endless.

Upcycle Scarf to Bag

Even though it's fairly small, it's surprising what can fit in this bag. Perfect for quick trips into town! And it means that I've found a way of wearing this scarf which I loved so much, but otherwise wouldn't have worn. This project doesn't require a scarf, instead you could use a fabric of your choice (wools would look great), which would give you endless possibilities. Right, I'm off to make one of these in every colour.

Let me know if try this, and I'd love to hear of any past experiences with shrunken clothes!


  1. I've descovered your blog post on and I find your scarf bag amazing! : )

    1. Thank you very much, I'm glad you like it!