I made this purse for a Christmas present for my sister, so had to wait to post it. Whenever I see lime green it makes me think of her and when the woman wrapped the oil lamp I bought in a lime green sweater that they could not sell (it had been washed) my mind started thinking – what could I make for my sister.. The sweater had already been shrunk, but I needed to felt it a little bit more – so into the washer it went. This was a small sweater to begin with and that meant it was going to be a small purse, but big enough for a cell phone, wallet and keys. Because of the detail around the flowers, this purse took about 20 hours to make, but it brought me back to my beading days and selling as Dead shows – so what better music to listen to why working on it, but the Grateful Dead!
How To Make A Felted Beaded Purse
Wool sweater (washed, several times)
Glass seed beads
Silver felting thread
Fabric for lining
Thread to match sweater and beads
Needle with a small enough eye to go through the beads
1. Wash and felt the sweater. Place the sweater in the washing machine with a pair of jeans and a little bit of liquid soap/detergent. Wash on the hottest, longest cycle. Place in the dryer with the jeans on the hottest temperature. You may have to do this part a couple of times until the sweater is felted to your liking.
2. Cut the sweater into the purse pattern you want. I like to leave the bottom of the sweater as the bottom of the purse, that way I do not have to sew the sides.
3. Decide on your needle felt design – I knew that I wanted to do flowers – so I found 2 stencils in Stella’s stash that I could use.
4. Place the felting pad inside the sweater and start needle felting your pattern. I forgot to take a picture of this step, but had some photos from another project so you can see the process.
5. Once you have all the flowers felted onto the purse then it is time to enhance them. I chose to enhance the flowers with glass and crystal beads and silver thread.
6. Take a bunch of the silver thread , place around the flower and using your needle, start felting. Because the thread is so fine it takes quite a bit of time to do the outlining with the thread. I did one round of outlining and then added more thread and outlined again.
7. For the beading, thread a needle with thread that is close to the same color as both the flower and the beads. Push the needle thru where you want to start the outlining, place three beads on the thread – lay the beads along the outline of the flower and push the needle thru the felt, then push the needle up thru the felt between the first and second bead, push the needle and thread thru beads two and three – place three more beads on the needle and repeat until the flower is outlined in beads.
9. Using a fabric that compliments the felted purse – cut the lining. I did this by laying the purse on top of the fabric and cutting in a similar pattern. Placing right sides together sew the sides and the bottom of the lining. Once you are done with that, place the lining inside the bag and pin around the top of the bag. Sew the lining to the felted purse.
10. I decided to use circular bamboo handles but you could choose something different. Taking the flap of the purse, pin it over the purse handles. I had to sew this seam by hand since the handles would get in the way of the sewing arm.
Your purse is now done. This is more than a weekend project, unless you choose not to embellish the flowers.