Transform an Old Sweater Into an Adorable Bunny Softie for Easter
Do you have a favourite sweater that you can't wear anymore because it (a) shrunk in the dryer; (b) got a stain or (c) developed a hole? If you can answer 'yes' to one (or more) of the above, don't despair. With this tutorial you will learn how to transform and re-purpose an old sweater (or a charity shop find) into a very sweet Easter bunny plush. Let's get started.
- An old jumper (preferably light coloured. Look for one with stripes, polka-dots or an argyle pattern).
- 3 buttons (two dark colurs for the eyes and one shank button for the nose).
- A small piece of white felt (for the teeth).
- Needle and thread.
- Pair of scissors.
- Pin cushion.
- Sewing pins.
- Soft washable hypoallergenic stuffing material for plush toys or cushions.
Step 1: Print the Pattern
This is the pattern for the bunny plush. The template includes a shape for the main body (1), two shapes for the ears (2, 3), two shapes for the arms (4, 5), one shape for the tail (6) and one for the teeth (7). The solid lines indicate the cutting paths and the dotted lines indicate the sewing paths. Print the pattern on A4 paper and stick sheets I and II together using sticky tape on the back side so that the main body (shape 1) is created properly.
Step 2: Cut the Pieces
Now that the pattern is ready, cut out all the the pattern shapes (not directly on the line).
Step 3: Pin on Jumper
Keep the jumper straight on the working surface with the front and the back side well aligned. Choose which part of the jumper you'll use for the various body parts. For example, my jumper has striped sleeves which I used for the bunny's ears. The main body of the bunny will have the argyle pattern. When you've decided on all the positions, pin the pattern pieces numbers 1 to 5 on the sweater. Just make sure to pin both sides of the jumper! Skip the tail and the teeth pattern for now.
Step 4: Cut Out the Shapes
Carefully cut around the bunny's body parts. You can first cut around them roughly and then trim them carefully exactly on the solid line. Make sure you cut equally both parts of the jumper, front and back.
Step 5: Turn Inside Out and Re-pin
On shape No.1 (main body) you will find some lines vertical to the outline. These are the marks for the position of the holes for bunny's arms and ears. Use scissors to create a slight mark for these positions. Now, you can un-pin and remove the paper pieces.
Turn your pieces inside out. This time the “correct” surface of the fabric should be facing inwards.
Re-pin the pieces using the sewing pins to keep them in the right position. Do this not only for the main body but also for arms and ears.
Step 6: Sew!
It's time to do some stitching! Follow the dotted lines of the pattern and sew the pieces together. You need to stitch the perimeter of the main body, leaving out the four holes marked for the arms and ears. So once you've found those slight marks for the arms and ears, make sure you stop sewing and secure with knots.
You also need to leave a hole at the bottom of the main body between the legs, which will serve for stuffing the bunny. As far as the ears and arms are concerned, you need to sew all around them except for the base - just follow the dotted line of the template.
Of course, you could use a sewing machine to do the stitching for you. If you're sewing by hand, use back-stitch. It's a simple stitch and it is sturdy enough for sewing two pieces together since you have stitches at both sides of the fabric, just like a sewing machine.
Step 7: Turn the Arms Inside Out
By now you've finished sewing all the body parts. Well done! Now, take the two pieces that will make bunny's arms (No.4 and 5) . You are going to add them to the main body. First, turn each arm inside out. You should see the “correct” side of the fabric now.
Step 8: Attach Arms to the Body
Before attaching the arm to the main body, check which way it will be sewn, facing upwards or downwards.
Place the arm inside the correct hole.
Make sure that the edges of the arm and the edges of the hole are well-aligned and the seams of the arm meet the seams of the main body. Now, using back stitch, sew the arms to the body. Create a circular seam going around the hole. If you find it difficult to keep the two parts in place, use some sewing pins before you start sewing. Add the second arm in the same way.
Step 9: Turn the Ears Inside Out
Now's it time to add the ears to your bunny. First, turn them inside out, so that the "correct" side of the fabric is the visible one.
Step 10: Attach Ears to the Body
Place the ear in the hole at the head of the bunny.
Using the same method described for the arms, sew the ears to the head.
Step 11: Turn the Bunny Inside Out
At this point your bunny should look something like this (see above)! It should be sewn all around the main body, except from the part between the legs, and it should now have two arms and two ears inside.
Put your hand in hole of the bunny and turn it inside out.
Now it's finally starting to look like a bunny! Check that all your seams are done correctly, especially at the connecting points of arms and ears. If you missed something, turn the bunny inside out and re-sew it.
Step 12: Stuff It
Take the soft stuffing material and start stuffing the bunny. Start with the ears, then the head, the neck, the arms, the belly and the legs. Fill it with as much stuffing material as you can to make it fluffy, soft and huggable.
Step 13: Close It
When your bunny is full enough, you need to close the gap. So sew the last open part of the bunny's body, between its legs. We leave this part for last as it is the only outside seam. Choose a colour of thread similar to the colour of the bunny. Sew this part passing your needle once from the back fabric and once from the front, bringing them together while pulling the thread. Secure it at the end with a firm knot.
Step 14: Make and Add a Tail
Now it's time to give this little guy a tail. Use pattern piece number 6 and cut a circle. This time you only need to pin the pattern on a single piece of fabric. Once you have your singular piece of circular fabric, turn it over so the “wrong” side is facing upwards. Fold a small piece of the edge inwards and pin it. Now, stitch around the edge of the circle in a running stitch (like tacking) until you reach the starting point. Do not knot or cut the thread.
Pull the thread a bit and the circle will start gathering towards the center. Fill it in with stuffing material.
Pull the thread completely to close the circle and stitch it there. Knot to secure.
Attach the tail to the bottom of the bunny. Sew it there securely.
And your bunny has a tail!
Step 15: Give Bunny a Cute Face
Last, but certainly not least, let's give this bunny an adorable face! This is the part of the process I love the most, because defines the character of your plush. Take the two dark coloured buttons for eyes and place them in different positions until you find the look you're after.
Then sew the two buttons in place.
Add the shank button in the center of the face as a nose.
And now add the teeth. Use pattern piece No.7 and cut out the white felt pieces. Now sew the teeth in place.
Now your Easter bunny is ready!
I hope you had as much fun making this bunny as I did. Let us know how you go with your plush bunny. And Happy Easter!