Repurposing a sweatshirt with a broken zipper….

One downfall, I suppose, of volunteering a day a week in a thrift store is all the the treasure I come in contact with that really needs saving.  I see it all….all the wastage and excess that most of us have come to live with as normal. 

There are so many possibilties for items people have discarded as trash…

For instance…today I happened upon this Quiksilver sweatshirt that had a broken zipper.  

sweatshirt1Now, it would not have been that complicated to replace the zipper….a little time consuming and about 8 bucks.  No doubt the person donating this item didn’t have the time to try and figure it out in order to avoid having to go out and buy another sweatshirt.

So….I begged to take it home and repurpose it.

…..for those of you new to my blog, you need to know I have a propensity for projects that #1) take less than an hour, #2) take no appreciable skill to complete  #3) that I don’t have to measure or follow a pattern to do, and #4) that I don’t have to spend any $$ on….

First I sewed the zipper together by hand….just used brown thread and a needle and sewed that sucker shut.



Then I eyeballed and  I simply cut out what I thought looked rectangular.


Then I looked over the rest of it and decided on interesting pieces for the back….I also cut out one of the pockets and sewed it onto what would be the back panel…


Now, I’m not into changing my machine thread just because ( it takes time, and cuts into my hour), so I thought the current color I had on there…an orangy yellow, would make a nice contrast and I just used that to stitch on the pocket.


I don’t know much about adjusting the tension, so on most of my projects, the stitching comes out a little wonky, but that to me, just goes to show that it doesn’t have to be perfect…it just has to work.

After that I took out my handy dandy rotary cutter…( oh, now don’t you go thinking that I went out and spent $$ on this…oh no…I put it on my Christmas list last year and hubby’s equally crafty aunt, saw the value in purchasing it for me…I love her I tell you..!)  …anways, I took out my rotary cutter and matched up the back and front and somewhat tried to even out the edges ( right sides facing together…)


Then, I started stitching the back and front panel together.  Also note the wonky stitching here.  I’m not one to go out a rip it out when that happens…I just go back and sew over it again.  After all, this IS going to be on the inside….if it were on the outside, I probably would reconsider, but maybe not…:)


Ok, we are almost there now…by now, you may have figured out what we are making, but maybe not, so I’ll break the suspense for you…we’re making a shoe bag, or a little carry satchel ( which my 9yo has already claimed as his gym bag for next year…)

So, once you’ve stitched twice with right sides together, you turn it right side out and turn over the edges about an inch, and then slice into it twice so that the string will have somewhere to go.


At this point, I did use pins to pin down the channel all the way around….and I (gasp now..) changed the thread color since I kind of wanted it to disappear on the outside of the bag….

finishing9and the measurement thing on your feed plate does come in handy for this job….helps you keep the channel size somewhat consistent as you go…

Next, you feed through your string… ( and make a mental note to change out your badly chipped nailpolish!)


et voila….front and back!



Now, my next dilemma…I’m pretty much left with scraps except for the arms….what can I do with them…?????  ideas????



4 Responses to “Repurposing a sweatshirt with a broken zipper….”

  1. betsy Says:

    you are one clever lady! I’ve enjoyed watching the things you come up with – way to go!

  2. Amber Says:

    I love repurposing! I am so glad I found your blog. I am teaching a class on repurposing clothing in a little over a month’s time and, while I’ve done quite a bit of the RPing myself, I am always on the lookout for new, creative ways to ‘Fix it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.’ Good job on the bag- and maybe try leg warmers or a newborn-size stocking cap from the sleeves.

  3. Diane Says:

    What clever ideas might you have for repurposing old white lab coats??? A friend has asked. All I can come up with is cloth shopping bags….Thanks.

    • repurposed Says:

      Hi Diane,

      It is hard to say without seeing them, but my first thought would be some good heavy duty aprons….


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