Bags with and without shoulder straps

Thanks to the kind advice from the wonderful Nicola of Clasheen, I have managed to make a bag with a felted in shoulder strap. It’s not perfect – the strap joins the bag slightly lower on one side than on the other – but I have proved I can do it! Many thanks to Nicola for her help.

As you can see from the photo, I’ve also been experimenting with felting in some wool slubs I ordered from World of Wool. The slubs vary in size, but the longer/larger ones seem to felt more easily – the smaller round ones I added to the bag above just refused to stick, no matter how much I rubbed.

I’ve also made a couple of bags without shoulder straps.  On the purple/red one below, I had more luck with the slubs, using them in combination with silk waste fibres.

I also cut up one of the bargain silk scarves I found at Spitalfields market and used scraps to decorate another bag (below). I put some wisps of merino across just in case they didn’t stick, but they felted in really well, except for the bits of hem at the ends, so I just trimmed those off afterwards.

The fabric strips were in straight lines when I laid them on the wool, but I noticed as I was rubbing in a circular motion that they started moving to the left or right (depending on whether I was rubbing clockwise or anti-clockwise). I quite liked the effect, so I left it – it looks like seaweed swaying underwater.

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Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

5 thoughts on “Bags with and without shoulder straps”

  1. Your bag looks GORGEOUS, congratulations!!! The next one for you to try is to make your template egg shaped, the narrower bit creating the top of the bag AND the flap. Cover the resist and felt as normal then when you need to remove the plastic cut the top third portion of the bag approx 1″ in from the edge, do the same on the other side and voila, you have one strap 2″ wide (still needs to be felted further), one flap to come to the front and another flap which you can fold inside and stitch to make a secret pocket (cut a slit in it) or remove and make into a couple of brooches or something!

  2. Nicola – thanks again. That sounds like a brilliant idea – I’m definitely going to try that out! It does sound a bit easier than felting in a separate handle – although it obviously won’t be as long as on a shoulder bag.

    You’re a great inspiration!


  3. Oddly enough the handle will stretch and be the perfect length for your shoulder, in fact you need to be careful not to stretch it too much until after you have sealed the edges otherwise it will fit around your body!

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