Category Archives: Dyeing Adventures

Upcycled Cotton Hat – Drawstring Shoulder Bag


upcycled crochet drawstring bag made from recycled and hand dyed cotton yarnrecycled cotton yarn from donor hat

Sorry, no posts for a while, my bag and I have been on our hols on the south east coast of England – weather not too bad actually, managed to miss the floods!  Anyway, here’s the story…

My lovely bag was made from the cotton yarn carefully salvaged from three knitted cotton hats. My friend gave me the hats her boys had long grown out of – they were all the same size/make but two were ecru and one was navy – they were a little faded but I reckoned I could work my magic on them; and hey presto, after a crazy amount of time and patience, but a lot of creative buzz, they were transformed.

I carefully unpicked the seams from the three hats and unravelled and wound them into hanks/ to unravel and wind recycled yarn on back of chair

I mixed the dye as per instructions (I used Procion reactive dyes).  I have the four primary colours of magenta, yellow and turquoise and black so I mixed my own green and purple and dyed the ecru yarn – I totally winged it I’m afraid – I’m not one for keeping careful records.    I chucked the navy yarn in the purple dye too to freshen it up.

hanks of hand dyed yarn drying on washing line

unravelled recycled cotton yarn skeins hanging in tree

green and blue hand dyed socks drying on washing line

I chucked in some mens pure cotton socks and kiddie t-shirts later as there seemed to be some life in the dye bath after I had dyed the yarn. As you can see, the shade faded as the dye bath was exhausted. I especially love the socks.

Procion hand dyed cotton t-shirts

procion dye cotton socks

three balls of hand dyed recycled cotton yarn wool thread

When, the yarn was dry, I wound it into three balls. The yarn was made up of about six individual threads which were not plied together, so it was quite difficult to work with. I decided it would be hard to knit with as the yarn would split easily, crochet was the way to go then – a hook is more forgiving on dodgy yarn than a needle! I decided to make myself a bag for my summer hols as my normal hand bag is a woolly ecozee classic which is fine for Scotland but since were were heading to the English coast I thought a stripy cotton deckchair-inspired bag would be just the thing.

upcycled cotton crochet drawstring bag green purple navy

I made up the bag pattern – I started crocheting a flat circle in double crochet (single crochet USA) for the base increasing as normal and then when I got the the desired size I carried on with no increases to make the sides.  About an inch and a half from the top I made a row of three trebles (doubles USA) like in a granny square so I would have holes to thread the drawstring tie through.  I chained the drawstring.  Finally, I lined the bag with some chambray cotton upcycled from a skirt, and added a pocket from some linen trousers.  The strap was crocheted straight on to the bag, I made the strap quite short knowing it would stretch a lot. I pretty much used up all the yarn from my three wee hats.

upcycled cotton bag lining in hand made crochet bag

inside of recycled bag showing salvaged linen trousers pocket

If you’re lucky enough to live in the Scottish Borders and would like to learn to crochet, my beginners class starts on August 21st and runs for four Tuesday evenings. For details see the workshops page on my website.