How to make a stuffed animal from a recycled sweater

Craft School Saturday

This week, I sewed an adorable stuffed animal using a recycled sweater! It’s not hard, I’ll show you how!

Gather your materials

You’ll need:

  • A sewing pattern (I’m using Abby Glassenberg’s Pete, free pattern!)
  • An old sweater that’s mostly wool
  • Any other odds & ends the pattern calls for (in my case, craft eyes, thread, stuffing and felt)
  • A standard sewing toolkit (scissors, sewing needle, etc)
  • Fusible interfacing & an iron (optional)

I’ll confess: I don’t like using a sewing machine. It’s loud and takes effort to set up. So, I sewed my Pete entirely by hand and loved it! You can’t use not having a machine as an excuse to skip sewing a cutie!

bear sewn with a recycled sweater

Felt your sweater

You’ll notice that I said that you’ll need a ‘mostly wool sweater’. This is because you’ll want to felt your sweater before cutting it up (or else it will unravel). A cotton or acrylic sweater just won’t felt.

Read this blog post for details on how to felt, but it’s not hard: you basically throw your sweater in the washing machine!

Once you’ve felted the sweater, cut the seams so that you have flat pieces of fabric to work with.

Decide if interfacing is right for you

If you felt your sweater, and it comes out feeling like felt you would buy in the store (pretty stiff and non-stretchy), then you don’t need interfacing.

The sweater I used was a wool blend, so it didn’t felt to be completely stiff. This meant that it was very stretchy (it’s a knit, after all!) and I wasn’t confident the ends wouldn’t fray. So, I used fusible interfacing.

Fusible interfacing

To use the interfacing, follow the instructions on the interfacing to fuse it to your sweater fabric. I fused the interfacing before cutting my pattern pieces, because doing so makes cutting easier.

Cut and sew!

Regardless of whether or not you used interfacing, cut your pattern pieces, and you’re ready to sew as instructed!

pattern pieces with recycled sweater

Isn’t this guy adorable?

teddy bear sewn from a recycled sweater

This technique will work with any stuffed animal pattern that calls for fleece or felt as the fabric… which is most patterns! Go ahead and give it a try!

Lots of love to our June sponsors!

All the goodies that go into this blog take a bit of work, so I want to send a huge hug to this month’s sponsors for helping to make it all happen!

Purple Bird Crochet

Katie, of Purple Bird Crochet, is the maker behind beautiful ergonomic crochet hooks:

Purple Bird Crochet

Aren’t they lovely? The hooks provide a comfortable place for your thumb to rest, and each hook is stamped with the hook size, so you won’t get mixed up!

Purple Bird Crochet hooks

These hooks are built on a Boye hook base. Katie’s hooks come in a variety of colors (and she’s open to requests), so you can get the color combo that’s right for you! Check out Purple Bird Crochet’s shop to view her full selection!

Katie is also giving the winner of the doll-a-long a set of three of her hooks… so you’ll want to enter!

Mountain Street Arts

You’ve heard about these labels before, but now Pam’s added even more choices to her shop! And these aren’t the skinny satin labels you had sewn into your socks as a kid… these are high-quality labels that your work deserves!

In addition to covering a number of crafts (crochet, knitting, quilting…), Mountain Street Arts labels now have the option of adding a photo!

custom knitting labels with photo

Isn’t that fabulous? If you don’t want to put your face on the labels, there are also a number of graphics & designs (each designed & drawn by Pam!) available. She also stocks care labels, so your work will always be properly cared for:

sheep custom label

Visit Mountain Street Arts to view the full collection. These labels are perfect for your crocheting/knitting business or for gifts that you make!

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