Make a Bunny Softie from Recycled Sweaters
By Kayte Terry
About six years ago, I made my first stuffed bunny rabbit for an adorable crafty boy I had a big crush on. Christmas was coming up and, while we had only been dating for a few weeks, I knew that he needed something more than the token CD that you usually give to guys you’ve only been dating a few weeks. In retrospect, it was a pretty bold move, but since this adorable crafty man is now my husband, I think it worked.
In the years since, I have become something of a rabbit maniac, making dozens of bunnies to give to loved ones and even adopting a little rabbit of my own named Potato. My husband and I call him our “fur son” and we spoil him rotten.
Springtime is the perfect time to give someone you love a stuffed bunny. Though rabbits are now associated with Easter, they have been a symbol of fertility, spring, and rebirth for many more years. Although I have made many variations of stuffed bunnies, here is the basic pattern. Feel free to alter the design as you wish!
2 wool sweaters (either a tight knit or lightly felted)
Small scraps of wool or felt
Embroidery floss and embroidery needle
About 3 yards of chunky yarn
Scrap of cardboard 2″ wide
Thread and sharp needle
Sewing machine and thread
Step 1: Cut the sleeves and neckline off your sweaters, then cut the front from the back. I chose a light brown sweater for the front of my bunny and off-white for the back.
Step 2: With tailor’s chalk, trace a simple bunny shape on the wrong side of one of the sweater pieces. I like to make mine a little wonky and free-form but if you want to plan out your bunny shape more, draw it on a piece of cardboard first, cut that out, and use it as a pattern piece.
Step 3: Put the 2 sweater pieces together right sides facing, with the traced bunny shape on top, and pin together inside the bunny shape.
Step 4: Cut through both sweater layers with scissors. Unpin the bunny front and back.
Step 5: From the sweater or felt scraps, cut pieces for ear details and belly. Pin them to the front of the bunny.
Step 6: Thread an embroidery needle with embroidery floss and knot the thread. Whipstitch around the belly and ear details. Use different colors as desired.
Step 7: With the tailor’s chalk, draw a nose, mouth, and sleepy eyes as shown in the top main photo. You can change this up if you want a different face too! Backstitch the mouth and eyes, and satin stitch the nose.
Step 8: To make a tail, wrap the chunky yarn around a piece of cardboard about 30 times. Slide the yarn off the cardboard, wrap the yarn around the center, and knot. Cut through the looped ends on both sides and fluff. If you need to, trim the pom-pom so that it’s even on all sides. You can skip this step if you have a pom-pom maker (lucky you!).
Step 9: Thread a sharp needle with thread, and knot. Sew the tail onto to back of the bunny as shown.
Step 10: Pin the bunny front and back right sides together. Machine sew around the bunny, leaving a 4" opening for turning. I recommend you leave the opening on one side of the belly so you don’t have to hand-sew around curves later.
Step 11: Turn the bunny right side out, pushing the corners out with a chopstick.
Step 12: Break off small pieces of cotton batting and start filling the bunny. Begin with the arms, legs, and ears, and then move on to the body of the bunny.
Step 13: When the bunny is sufficiently filled, thread a sharp needle and knot the end. Sew the opening of the bunny closed with a slip stitch.
About the Author:
Kayte Terry is a stylist, author and all-around crafty lady. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and their rabbit/muse Potato. Kayte is the author of the book Complete Embellishing and the forth-coming book Appliqué Your Way, out this fall. Check out Kayte’s blog, This is Love Forever, to find out what Kayte has been up to lately.