Upcycling a Sweater For a New Baby

Yesterday, my friend Nora had a baby.  And any moment now I’m expecting to hear that my friend Erin has had her baby.  Yep, two babies in one week.  Yay!


Usually I’m pretty bad about sending a “Welcome, Baby” gift.  As in… I always think about it.  I have good intentions.  But then for any number of reasons, I forget, decide my project isn’t good enough, it gets to be so late that I’m embarassed, or ______ (fill in the blank here).  Last night I was feeling sorta crafty.  That can be dangerous but last night’s efforts didn’t prove too awful.


So.  Erin and Nora, if either of you are reading this post…. STOP.  Walk away from this website.  Do not read or look at pictures past this point.

You have been warned.  😀


Anyway, I have this great Banana Republic sweater that is well past it’s prime.  It’s cotton and angora, incredibly soft, and a fun shade of green.  Even though it was worn and had a small hole or two, I couldn’t bring myself to give it to the local thrift store.  For weeks I’ve been enchanted with “Softies”, or upcycled cloth stuffed animals, so I decided last night that it was finally time to give my old sweater a new life as a baby gift.  (FYI: upcycled means repurposed/upcycled into something useful.)



I also knew I’d need some additional fabric for wings, eyes, and a nose… so I raided my stash of fabric.  Yes, it’s an old sheet, old pajama pants, a bleach-stained tank top, and some scraps left over from another project.  Once I had a few options, I got to work on a “pattern”.


Did I mention I’m not a very good sewer?  I don’t use patterns.  I struggle with sewing a straight line.  And I am a pretty bad artist when it comes to drawing.  So please, don’t judge my artistry skills. 🙂


See?  My pattern.  Believe me, this is about as good as it gets.  I was quite proud of this little guy.  Ha!  So I cut out the outline in paper two times (front and back), then cut out the pattern in my green knit sweater fabric.  You know what’s cool?  I got lucky and could cut Mr. Owl out of the sleeve.  So now I still have the entire body of my sweater to use for another project!


I also cut out some wings from a barely stained baby onesie that I found at a thrift store a while back.  I loved the pattern, it was soft organic cotton, and only a quarter.  So… money well spent, I think.  Then I cut out some white “eyes” and used a scrap of polka dot fabric to cut out two polka dotted eyes.  Each piece was pinned on one side of Mr. Owl.
-Note- I pinned these decorative pieces on the *right* side of the fabric, the fabric that would be the outside.  Once each wing and eye and nose was stitched into place, I stitched the two  sides of the owl together.  Because I wanted the edges to have a little fray/ruffle to them, I stitched both of the right sides facing the outside and therefore the *wrong* sides were touching.  Does that makes sense?


Almost done!  I stitched around the outline of the softy several times to reinforce this soft knit pattern, making sure to leave a hole in his butt  the bottom of the softy to make sure I could stuff him.  Even though I had some polyfill stuffing, I wanted to use scraps to stuff him.  So I cut up my scrap pieces of the green sweater, part of the organic baby onesie, and a few other cotton scraps I had sitting around.  This is partially because I loved the thought of keeping all the products natural in case Mr. Owl gets chewed on by Baby and partially because I’m thrifty like that.  🙂


I stitched up his bottom.  One really great bonus to sewing him the way I did is that I don’t have to hand-sew the last bit after I stuffed him – I could just continue sewing around the edges.   And tada!  A completed softy Owl is ready for Baby.  Don’t look too closely because he’s slightly imperfect… but then, so am I.


What do you think?  I still have to make baby gift #2, so if you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

August 10, 2012 - 5:53 pm

Elizabeth - This is a great idea Bec, I love it!! It’s a great idea for babies and toddlers 🙂

August 11, 2012 - 1:57 am

erin - i was fairly warned but the temptation was too huge and I read on. mr owl is so stinkin cute i better have baby soon before you loose your crafty ambition. love you!

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