Transform an old sweater into a luxe baby gift

I love the idea of taking something old, and giving it a whole new life. Word got around that I’m collecting old wool and cashmere sweaters for crafting, and one of my neighbors dropped by with this beautiful powder-blue, cashmere beauty.

Because the sweater was a turtleneck, it meant it had lots of usable “fabric”. It was perfect for testing out a new pattern from Betz White’s book Sewing Green. I had fallen in love with the “Luxe” dog toy & hat set. What do ya think?

Instead of using wool felt like the book instructed, I picked up some chocolate brown bamboo felt from my local sewing store, Citycraft. Now let me tell ya – this stuff is S-O-F-T! Combine it with cashmere and you’re in heaven. The plaid fabric for the ears and tail also came from Citycraft.

The sewing was all fairly simple (a beginner could make these), and don’t they make fabulous custom gifts for friends or family? I mean what kid wouldn’t look darling in this get-up with the goofy tassles? *lol*

After using the simple patterns from the book, I was able to make not one… not two… but three sets from one single sweater. (Two have already made their way to new homes.)

Want to make your own? You can pick up a copy of the Sewing Green book here.

If you don’t have a generous neighbor giving away cashmere sweaters, try your local thrift stores. I’ve found a dozen or more cashmere sweaters at Goodwill for under $8 each. Just look for the largest size possible (preferably crew neck or turtleneck) so you get more usable fabric, and avoid sweaters with large stains or visible holes. Happy hunting!

Cashmere sweater turned hot water bottle cover

I mentioned in my last post that I have a new-found love of upcycling… especially when it comes to pretty, wool sweaters.

For a while, I’ve wanted to design a custom hot water bottle cover for a dear friend who is British. When I came across a beautiful cashmere/merino blend, I knew it would be perfect. After felting it down to half it’s size, I turned it into this…

Want to make one yourself in about an hour?

Just purchase a red hot water bottle from your local pharmacy, and trace around it onto copy paper (four sheets taped together). Leave approximately a one-inch border on all sides. Copy this pattern onto more paper, but this time, extend the bottom down about 6 inches to create the flap that comes around the back of the bottle.

When cutting out the two pattern pieces, place the pattern so that the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater will be at the top of the bottle, adding texture and a nice finished edge to the opening. Turn the flap under and place your pattern pieces right side together. Sew up either side with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Turn right side out to finish. Snip three button holes onto the back flap and sew buttons underneath. Finish with iron-on embellishments. If you’re feeling adventurous – you can embroider your own design before sewing the pieces together. I used pre-made iron-on linen poppies on the front…

…and some iron-on embroidered letters on the back. My friend’s husband travels a lot, so I figured she could still have him keep her warm when he was gone! heehee

Supplies: Rubber hot water bottle from your local pharmacy, large or extra large men’s 100% wool or cashmere blend sweater (it will shrink when felted), thread to match, sewing machine, copy paper, brown satin ribbon, iron-on embroidered letters, iron-on flowers, 3 bronze-colored buttons (from my stash), & scissors.


Sweet on Felt

I love the whole concept of upcycling… taking something old, getting crafty, and giving it a whole new life.

Ever accidentally wash a fav wool sweater and shrink it to half it’s size? Well – I’m actually doing that on purpose these days! My latest obsession is trolling through local thrift stores searching for pretty wool sweaters to felt. *lol*

I’ve been hoarding sweaters like pretty patterned paper. Anybody know that feeling? I finally decided to cut into some of them to create a gift for a friend who loves ice cream cones. The project was designed by Betz White and came from her fab book Warm Fuzzies: 30 Sweet Felted Projects.

Felted ice cream tape measure

Check out what it’s hiding!

Felted Ice cream tape measure

Yup – a sweet surprise. Ice cream cone turned tape measure. Gotta love that.
Check out this darling mushroom tape measure Betz designed as well. Might have to try that one next!

Want to see more felty goodness? Click below to look inside the book…

Warm Fuzzies