Owly Baird

Owly Baird Upcycled Wool Sweater Owl

GUEST DIY WEDNESDAY: Courtesy of the ever-lovely Naomi Pahl of Butterfly Garage. Check out her cozy, adorable shop filled with upcycled wool lovies! Today, learn to make your own owl stuffy, or win one of hers!

Calling all incompetent launderers! You know that favorite wool sweater that you love, the one that’s the perfect color, fit, and keeps you the perfect amount of warm? And remember how you accidentally threw it in the wash on a HOT cycle? And it shrunk so small you were tempted to let your cocker spaniel wear it (that’s a whole other DIY project)?

Well, do I have a solution for you! Don’t let Scruffy near it! This DIY tutorial will show you how you can cozy up to that sweater again, by turning it into a lovable owl stuffy!

GIVEAWAY ALERT: Butterfly Garage is giving away an upcycled wool sweater Owly Baird of your choosing. To enter, comment on this post and tell us what your washing machine has destroyed. Ash had some white towels come out, well, rather pink, while Kimmy definitely shrunk some sweaters during her first load involving college dorm drying machines.

wool sweater/s
sewing machine
eco polyfil

1. If you haven’t already accidentally shrunk your favorite sweater (good for you!), take any 100% wool (or other animal fibre) garment and put it through a hot wash, on full agitation, with a good splash of soap. Then put it through the hot cycle of the dryer. Repeat this process as often as it takes to get the desired size and texture felt. The more you do it the denser your felt will be.

2. To prepare fabric, cut seams and cuffs off sweater.

For this tutorial I am using more than one sweater- the main part of the owl will be out of the orange, and for the eyes, wings, and beak I will be using some scraps I have of other cut up sweaters. You can use the same sweater for all components- but be creative- taking into consideration textures prints and colors.

3. Once you have your fabric prepared you will need to make the pattern out of paper, depending on the size of your finished felt material. Cut the pattern out of paper using the following guidelines (Remember these are just guidelines! Use your imagination). You will need to cut out the body, wings, feet and circles for the eyes. Play with the shapes and take into consideration proportion. I used regular lined paper folded in half to get my dimensions for the body and wings.

Pattern for Body, Eyes & Wings

4. Lay pattern on fabric and cut 2 fabric pieces for the body, 4 fabric pieces for the wings, and 2 of each size of the circles for the eyes. Cut one triangle for the beak. Cut one shape for the tail feathers/feet.

5. When finished cutting out- lay out owl and see if you are happy with results- if not cut pattern pieces to the desired shapes.

If you will notice for this owl I used the pattern on the sweater to help me dictate the final shapes for the feet and the smallest circle for the eyes.

6. FACE: Pin the smallest circle piece to the mid-size circle piece and, using the edge of the presser foot as your seam allowance (all seam allowances for this project will be the edge of the presser foot), sew around the edges. Clip thread. For this owl I clipped off excess fabric around the diamond part of the eyes.

7. Pin the smallest circle to mid-size circle and sew together. Then pin mid-size circle onto the largest circle and sew together. Clip thread. Repeat for second eye.

Three circles for the eyes

8. Place eye pieces and beak onto body and play around with where you want to place each component. Once you have settled on where everything will go, pin beak onto body and sew. Pine eyes and sew.

The pieces of the owl's face

9. FEET: Pin right sides of the feet and the body and sew together.

10. WINGS: Pin right sides of the wings together and sew. Clip excess fabric at the tip of the wing and notch curved edges. Turn right side out and sew opening together as close to the edge as possible.

11.  Figure out at what height you want the wings on the body. Pin wings onto body and sew as close to the edge as possible.

Wings and body pinned together

12. Place right sides of body together and pin. Sew from the tip of the ear down to the edge of the foot, and cut thread. Turn over and sew the other side- from the tip f the ear to the edge of the foot. Do not machine sew over the foot, as this will be the opening in which you will stuff the polyfil . Sew the top of the owl- from one tip of the ear to the other.

Inside out owl body

13. Clip excess fabric off tips of ears and notch along curves. Turn right side out.

Right side out owl in need of some stuffing

14. Stuff with EcoPolyfil until firm, and with needle and thread, sew opening together

15. HUG!

Photo: Courtesy of Naomi Pahl
Available: http://www.butterflygarage.com


Don’t wanna DIY?
No worries! Butterfly Garage will provide you with fully assembled Owly Bairds.


27 comments to Owly Baird

  • Recently? Hubs’ favorite black and white bowlers shirt got washed with my daughters pink tutu. Now it’s PINK and black… Whoops! (Sorry Honey!)

  • sarah

    I washed the Mr.’s undies with something red. Ooops! He now has a whole collection of various pink undies: pink boxers, pink boxer-briefs, tighty-pinkies (no more tighty-whities). How’d that red sock get in there anyway??

  • I’ve shrunk more expensive sweaters than I care to admit. I also never remember to secure ties on things, so the drawstring end gets lost and has to be rethreaded. Fun!

  • Anna

    In middle school I had an awesome new tshirt from gap that I was SO excited about (it was the height of style. middle school people, middle school.) and washed it with some blue jeans. Wouldn’t you know it, the shirt was not dyed all blue, but got splotches of blue all over it. Catastrophic!

  • Sarah

    I washed my comforter in the washing machine and it came out with a huge rust stain on it. What a bummer!

  • Julia

    I will always remember the terrible mishap of leaving my new strawberry pink lip balm in my jeans pocket that got thrown into the wash in middle school. The trouble I got in for ruining not just my own, but also my whole family’s clothes made it worth my while to always check my pockets.

    My brother once also put a cashmere sweater in the wash and dryer-happily, that one ended well for me as I got my first cashmere sweater out of it!

  • Tina

    … a favorite denim jacket that became a little too tie dyed!

  • Elliott

    This was so horrible, I still can’t believe I did it.

    When I was about 10-11ish, I washed and shrank my mother’s Yves Saint Laurent dress that she bought herself she was an 18 year old, living in Paris by herself for the first time.

    I learned that day two very important things; 1. Always sort laundry and 2. The cartoons weren’t joking about steam coming out of ears when someone’s really, really pissed.

    PS – She only recently forgave me.

  • sarah rogers

    so cute naomi! my little c would love it! good job on the tutorial!

  • Krystal

    I found out the hard way that a crayon the pocket during wash and dry cycles leaves wax splotches all over everything in the load… no good when it’s your work uniform.

  • I love to felt things in the washer on purpose, but just last week I was in a condo (on vacation) and the stupid washer tore a hole in my shirt. Thankfully it was a patterned one, so it was hard to see.

    I also had a washer that once put rust stains on my clothes. Not sure how!

  • shandra lea

    i wash kleenex. a. lot.
    i think i might have a problem.

    once i also lost an underwire to my bra. i felt like phoebe.

  • Kara

    I haven’t had any real mess ups with laundry the occasional shrinkage though. Sophomore year of college I had two loads of my clothes stolen from the dryers though. :( . I have more than made up for it with shopping trips now though ;) .

  • Becky

    I always forget to take gum out of my pockets! I have a great pair of blue and white linen pants that I ruined a pocket of because of some stupid orbit gum. Now I do a better job of remembering to check all the pockets…

  • Jill

    I did a major shrinking job on a a beautiful cream angora sweater! Boooo hoooooooo!!!! Naomi, you have such a talent for things crafty!

  • I almost feel left out – I have no ruined laundry to speak of (although, years worth of missing socks)…
    Just wanted to stop by and say that I LOVE THE BUTTERFLY GARAGE!

  • Meg

    cell phone and credit cards destroyed :(

  • Kerrie

    Put variety of debit cards through, most of which survived. Clothing wise, hubby helped with laundry early on in our marriage and shrunk my favorite wool sweater…but he was sincerely trying to help.

  • I dried my husband’s expensive black wool sweater in the dryer and totally shrunk it. … I did make a wool soaker out of it though… in the end, it sort of looked like I did it on purpose.

  • sarah rogers

    oops- did that wrong the first time! :) numerous chapsticks- which stinks for several reasons, and most recently, C’s new outfits (that came together!!!) from grandma are tie-dyed red…

  • jessica

    I’ve definitely turned some whites pink and neglected to find a few receipts before washing. Just the other day I opened up the washer and it looked like confetti in there!

  • Chase

    I’ve had the pleasure of having to do my own laundry since I was in junior high, so this was definitely a shot to the ego.
    I was given a $300 pair of winter overalls for work. I took them home to wash them and help break them in as they were pretty stiff. So I read the tag and followed the directions. Or so I thought. It said do not wash in hot water. Well, I washed them in hot water so they shrank but to top it off, one of the straps got caught in the drum and the pants were shredded down one side. The best part was taking them into work the next morning and having to explain what I did.

  • Lee Ann

    I’ve done the obvious of turning hubbies socks pink (in all fairness it was his red shirt that did it!), but I think his laundry mishap is better :)
    This was before we got married. He was renting a room from some people that had a BRAND NEW front load washer and dryer, and he got oil all over his clothes at work. He tossed them in to wash them and then to dry them. When he opened the dryer the entire inside was black with oil. He hastily scrubbed it down with WD-40 and got it all out just as the landlady was coming down to do laundry!! He said he’s never scrubbed so hard or so fast in all his life!

  • Megan

    I hate how my washing machine/dryer makes some sweaters get all “bally” (I’m not sure the technical term). It makes the sweater age so quickly which I am NOT a fan of.

  • Robyn

    This is a pretty easy one….like most guys, I assume, I never really knew you had to wash whites on their own until I guess I was somewhere in my late 20′s before someone let me in on the secret…ahhh, to finally start having white underwear and socks…Pink is nice, don’t get me wrong, but….

  • wooo wooo!

    My favorite salvation army find sweater…. came out looking like a Barbie cardigan!

  • Congratulations, Teddi!

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