How to pick a garment to upcycle into a bag or purse
August 8, 2018
The last few months I've been creating shopping bags, produce bags, and yoga mat bags from pre-owned home decor like pillowcases, curtains, and tablecloths. Today I wanted to make cold/hot liners for the shopping bags out of wool jackets. Working with flat decor items made me forget how hard it is to work with tailored items. The more tailored the garment the harder it is to salvage material.
For example, I wanted to use this Antonio Perillo jacket because it is 50% camel/50% wool, soft, and thick. In order to make a shopping bag liner I need two pieces of wool that are each 18"x18". Unfortunately, the jacket was superbly tailored with layers of padding, facing, and lining. By the time I got everything apart, the only workable piece was the back which has a single piece of 10"x 16" flat wool. The front panels are so heavily tailored there is nothing useful in them. Same for the sleeves which are wonderfully shaped and fitted.
Conclusion... If you are looking for garments to upcycle, it's best to use simply tailored garments. The problem is that simply tailored garments are lower cost and are often made from less expensive material. The trick is to find a simply tailored garment that is made from high-quality wool, leather, or cotton blends.
I'm trying again tomorrow with a long coat with patch pockets. I'll post the results so you can see the difference.