Thursday, December 9, 2010

Great Gift Ideas: Playing with Felt

Orange Felted Sweater Flower
My mother-in-law was visiting this past weekend and she gave me an early birthday present.  This beautiful felted flower pin now has a permanent home on my winter coat. Isn't it lovely? (Check out her other fabulous creations here.)

Orange Felted Flower Close Up
She created this flower out of an old cashmere sweater - recycling at its best!

Ruined Felted Sweater
And it just so happens I ruined one of my favorite wool sweaters last week in our new washer - which offered a perfect opportunity to continue my One Small Change efforts and make art using materials I already have.

Dry Clean Only Sweater
Here's what you need to make your own 
Recycled Sweater Felted Flower Pin:

*wool or cashmere sweaters (try thrift stores)
*fabric scissors
*needle and thread
*pin to sew on back

First, wash your wool sweaters on hot cycle in your washing machine.  Choose a higher agitation cycle if possible and add a small amount of detergent.  If you are only washing a few sweaters you might want to add some towels or an old pair of jeans to help balance the load.  The heat mixed with the agitation will shrink the fibers causing them to felt together.  

Cut the sleeves off and use them for this project.  Reserve the remainder of the sweater for other projects.  (Here are a few other ideas.)

Make a pattern using fabric or paper.  You'll draw three or four separate peanut shapes, each one a little smaller than the next.  In this flower, the largest "peanut" is roughly 3 1/2 by 6 1/2 inches.  No need to have exact measurements, just determine how big you want your flower and go from there.

Felted Pieces from Sweater
Cut three or four peanut shapes for the petals.  I used three.

Stacking Felted Flower Pieces
Stack one on top of the other, starting with the largest one first.

Sewing Felted Flower
Gather from behind and stitch all of the petals together.  Feel free to fold and curve the petals until you get the look you like.  Stitch together using a needle and thread.

Center Flower
Cut out a smaller peanut size, and then cut it in half length-wise.  

Close Up Flower Center
Starting at one end, roll the piece to create the center of the flower.  Stitch it together, then stitch it to the flower.

White Felted Flower Close Up
Cut out three leaf shapes from another color and stitch them to the back of the flower.

Flower Pin Close Up
Add the pin and attach to your favorite coat, sweater, purse, scarf or hat!

These flowers will make great simple holiday gifts this year and offer you a fabulous way to recycle, while bringing new life to something old and presumably "ruined!"

For more fun with felt, check out my newest piece in the winter edition of Rhythm of the Home and learn how to make felted snow people.

Felted Snowman

Your Personal Reflection:  In what ways can you simplify your gift giving this year?


  1. super cute! our family has simplified giving by starting an elfster gift exchange...everyone only buys for one person and we have a limit so nothing gets out of hand!

  2. Beautiful! Genius! They look so soft and pretty. Thank you for sharing. I need to get in some more crafting time-pronto.
    Thank you for your kindness and support yesterday. I think of you often when I am trying to slow down and listen to my authentic voice; you are such a role model and inspiration for me! Thank you so much!

  3. Oh wow, so beautiful! I love the red, and your white one looks like a fully bloomed magnolia. Gorgeous! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial. I may just have to throw some sweaters in the wash.

    Cute snowman!

  4. these are just gorgeous! i am such a sucker for felting... and wondering when you'll put your necklaces back in your shop!! :)

  5. Thanks, everyone, for your sweet comments. I really love felting and now I'm wanting to get to the thrift store and buy up all the wool sweaters! So fun...

  6. Hi there, I'm happy to find your fun blog! Love all of these ADORABLE felty goodies!!! They're wonderful gifts! Who wouldn't love 'em? Cheers to you, I'll be back again soon!


Thanks for sharing!