Old Suit: New Bag {a tutorial}


Repurposing a suit coat is a fun way to create a one of a kind handbag.  I chose to make a messenger bag as my laptop has been homeless for quite some time.  If you are new to sewing, I suggest a tote bag.  This is a much more straight forward design, yet has all the elements of the coat.
I saw the bag on the left on the Today Show a while ago.  I think it is gorgeous, and thought it would be a perfect Sunday bag for all my “stuff”.  As I tend to be cheap frugal , I filed it away under project to someday make.
There are many generous souls who have created tutorials for your use. Look around, you will be amazed.  I would encourage you to chose a simple pattern, as too many design elements will detract from the suit coat.
Here are a few well written tutorials (there are many more to choose from)
purse:  U Shaped Handle Purse {lgb studio}
tote: Pleated Tote Tutorial the long thread
messenger: Messenger Bag Tutorial crazy little projects
Today, I’d like to focus on suit coat elements (as well as a few tips and hard learned lessons).



First, start with quality.  Check the fiber content of the suit coat your are browsing.  I preferred to use wool, but corduroy, linen, seersucker… all would work. I would shy away from cheap polyester as I don’t trust it, but use your best judgement.


 Next, Inspect coat for usable elements.  Is there a pocket you love?  Sleeve detailing?
Dissect suit and lining. Remove interfacing and shoulder pads.  (saving chosen details)
It is unlikely that you can cut all your patterns pieces on a straight grain without piecing.   Originally I planned on using one front pocket for the front flap and having a rounded size.  After I cut the piece, I realized that there were many seams on the bias and the fabric layed wonky.  Pin multiple pieces together to get the look you want.  This way you can create your own fabric. (This etsy shop does a neat job of incorporating many design elements).

Make sure pattern pieces are on a transparent/semi transparent paper.  This way you can see the placing of details before you cut.

Assemble bag according to pattern.

Tips & Tricks:

-Use a very heavy single side fusible interfacing fused to the suit coat.

-If using for a laptop – invest in quality padding.  I used automotive headliner (the stuff in the roof of your car).  It is fairly thin but cushy and sewed like a breeze.

-Repurpose hardware from another bag.  I almost purchased swivel hooks from the fabric store, but they cost $10 a piece.  No thanks.  Instead I took the clips off a Salvation Army bag.  ($2 total).

-I also repurposed the vinyl strap from the same thrifted bag for these photos because I ran out of time for my project submission.  The bag now has a grey wool strap which I like much better.

-I used an old vinyl belt for a closure.  It was easier to sew through than I thought.  I made the mistake of assembling the back of the bag before securing the belt.  On the back and bottom of the bag  the belt is glued using Eileen’s OK to Wash Fabric Glue.  Once dry it worked like a champ.

– I always encourage adding an unique label.  These labels I made on my home printer, but  you could stamp, embroider, fabric marker, etc to create your own seal.

And last, have your six year old model your new bag while wearing a suit coat you have already begun to dissect for another project.  (Can you see what’s missing?)
Have fun!


Elegant Art Laptop Bag {tutorial}

*Tutorial by Catherine @ CathGrace for the Elegant challenge of season 14*

Hey everyone! Last week’s voting was a total nail biter, I cannot believe how close it all was! I want to thank everyone for all the votes for my laptop bag!

To begin with, I measured my laptop bag and came up with all my needed measurements, I’m showing a graph of the pieces here without measurements, because every laptop will differ a little bit (and my canvas helped dictate the size too.) For your measurements, just measure [Read more…]

Zippered Pencil Case by Jennifer @ Monkey See, Monkey Do

*Hey everybody! Season 14 of So You Think You’re Crafty is going to be fantastic. However, it won’t be starting until the New Year – we decided to let the crafters have a little break and family time too :) . But I have a great schedule of guest posts and shop spotlights lined up from now until then. Have a great Holiday season and see you all after the New Year!*

Hi SYTYC friends! I’m Jennifer and I blog over at Monkey See, Monkey Do! I hope you’ll come visit sometime. Check out my project gallery for crafty and sewing ideas and tutorials I have shared. I wanted to share this tutorial for making a colorful pencil case.

pencil case tutorial (24)
I like zippered pouches. [See evidence here, here and here.]

I also like scraps. And I use them whenever possible. I had some funny-shaped scraps of the green and white dandelion fabric I used to make these placemats. I also had some little 4” zippers I picked out of cargo pants I used to make these bags.

pencil case tutorial (1)

I turned the zippers and scraps into two cute pencil cases that are [Read more…]

No-Sew Summer Picnic Basket Tutorial

*Tutorial by ChiWei @ One Dog Woof for her win of the Summer Bounty challenge for season 12*
Like the Scrap Wood Lantern, the brainstorming process for this project took quite a circuitous route.  I was originally thinking about some summer placemats, but after Drew gave me a big THUMBS DOWN, I asked him for ideas, if he was so clever indeed.  We also had to take into account that we were going to be on vacation that week, so I wouldn’t have access to my usual assortment of sewing and crafting and woodworking supplies.  My MIL gave us a spark of inspiration when she talked about handmade baskets in Williamsburg, and then Drew suggested that his dad cut me super thin slices of wood with which to weave a basket.  Are you kidding me?!  But then, I remembered the hot Pinterest pin of making baskets out of paper, and figured I can probably do it with fabric, so we went looking for the nearest Joann’s store!


2 yds of 60″ wide heavy duck canvas.  I used 1 yd of each color.
2 rolls of 3/4″ hem tape.
scissors + t-square (or rotary cutter/mat/straight edge)
hot glue
Beware, there’s some math involved. [Read more…]

Boy Booty Bag Tutorial

*Tutorial by Celeste @ Celestials Creations for her win of the Upcycled challenge*

Confession: I didn’t take a single picture when I was making the Boy Booty Bag.  It took me until two days before the deadline to find a project idea I liked and I was rushing.


So, we’re going to do a couple of things.  First, we’re changing the name of the bag to something more general.  Let’s face it, if you don’t happen to feature a pirate on the bag, a “booty bag” is maybe not the best name.

Here’s a tutorial, then, for the

Boxy Boy Bag

This time we’re featuring dinosaurs. I’ll be showing [Read more…]

T-Shirt Yarn Knit Market Bag Tutorial

*Tutorial made by Randi @ Dukes and Duchesses for her win during the Upcycle challenge*
I’m so pleased that the upcycled market bag was such a hit.  Want to make your own?  Here’s how.
Find used t-shirts {about five} in a similar shade.  I was fortunate to find a pile of old Scout troop shirts {thank you, Pack 77} that were all the same color but a little bit of discrepancy in color shade won’t make any difference in this project.
To make the yarn, the shirt is cut into strips.  Rather than re-create the wheel, I’ll point you to a great tutorial found here.
Once the t-shirt is cut into strips, give the strips a tug and they will scrunch right up into a really neat yarn.  Wind that yarn into a ball to make the knitting a bit easier and tangle-free.
To finish the bag, follow this knitting pattern.
Using circular needles in a larger size {I used US 13}, cast on 70 stitches.  Place marker and join in the round, being careful not to twist the round.
Knit 2 rows.
Knit in twisted drop stitch {Insert right needle into stitch as though to knit.  Wrap yarn around both needles, then around the right needle.  Pull through the stitch as if finishing a regular knit stitch} for 10 inches.
K5, K2tog across the row.
K 1 row.
K4, K2tog across the row.
K 1 row.
K3, K2tog across the row.
K 1 row.
K2, K2tog across the row.
K 1 row.
K1, K2tog across the row.
Cut yarn, leaving a long tail and, using a tapestry needle, weave yarn through remaining stitches and pull tight.  Weave in all yarn ends.
For the handle, cast on 7 stitches.  Knit in garter stitch until handle reaches a desired length.  Cast off and stitch handle onto bag using yarn ends.
Take your market bag to the store and enjoy!

Placemat Clutch

*Project by Camilla @ Candied Apples for the Dollar Store challenge*
What is the perfect bag? Well, it must be big enough to hold the essentials, light weight and cute. Oh and if you’re a mom, it should probably be washable, of course.
This bag started out as a slightly boring placemat. Now it is a clean, modern bag with cutout handles. All from the dollar store for just $1.50. If it gets dirty, just wipe it down, it’s vinyl.
It could not be any cuter!

Rainbow Bright Hobo Bag

*Project by Jessica @ The Domestic Fruit Loop for the ReFashioned challenge of season 13*

For this week I decided to refashion a t-shirt and a vintage sheet into a purse. I love Rainbow Brite! A good friend of mine gave me a vintage Rainbow Brite sheet that was just begging to be turned into a trendy and cute hobo bag.
The materials for this are simple, though the vintage sheet was a lucky find. The print fabric forms the lining and an accent pocket on the outside, while the shell is made from a medium cotton t-shirt with the sleeves, neckline, and some of the bottom removed. The t-shirt provides a nice shortcut by retaining the side and shoulder stitching. Once the shell and liner were joined, I trimmed it all with a rainbow ribbon to tie together the Rainbow theme.
In addition to the super cute pocket (perfect for my keys) on the front, I also added a pocket inside the lining that fits my wallet exactly. The pocket was made simply by sewing the bottom of a discarded sleeve and attaching it into the lining. It was incredibly simple and turns this adorable bag into a functional accessory.