Upcycled Sweaters and Applique

My fingers are happiest stitching and sewing and sketching and printing and writing and making.

I showed you the blue whale sweater I recently made here, but I've made a few more and wanted to share those too. I found adorable thrift store sweaters and added original applique, vintage buttons, and hand stitches for "up-cycled" embellishments. Three sweaters for three little ones on the way--mine and two others.

Detail: barn swallow sweater with pink felted hearts and a blanket stitch at the collar.

The sweater front-side, kept company by one adorable MODify/d elephant and a Gentle Giraffe (gifts from friends).

My favorite handmade barn swallow stencils are at it again--this time in hot pink.

Front side: a circus-inspired sweater complete with an elephant and balloons. I was happy to find a home for a few vintage buttons.

It's amazing how gendered clothes are for the little ones. I do love Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing for Baby for her thoughtful approach to baby design and gender too.

Back side of the circus-inspired sweater. Elephants are supposed to be good luck, no?

This yellow elephant was once a thrift store sweater himself. A few times through the washer and dryer and it was felted into a lovely buttery texture. (Hooray for cashmere.)

This whale sweater is a gift for my own little mister. I've been researching and writing about whales and marine mammals, so this blue whale made its way into my stitches.

Blue whale sweater front-side.

Blue whale back-side with breaching water drops.

I like how they look all together--as if they are assembled for a crafty child's circus!

Today is my first day of scheduled maternity leave. After working for three years with the same arts organization, a scheduled leave feels so strange. And also liberating. And somehow calming. And certainly exciting. And also nervous-making. But mostly, exciting.



  1. That whale, how wonderful it must be to have him swimming on one´s back and giving refreshing springs of water.

    They are very beautiful all of them.

    Golden horizon greetings with a cup of afternoon green tea to you.

  2. I LOVE the whale!! And the elephant is magic. Thanks for sharing.

  3. So beautiful K! I must say I'm inspired. Enjoy your maternity leave, glad the weather is so beautiful for you :)

  4. smile.
    and yay for leave !

  5. exciting exciting exciting! when can we get together? i LOVE the whale sweater :) xxxooo

  6. anna: such a lovely comment. thanks for your kind words and for stopping by my blog. (welcome to you.)

    kevin: thank you! i was hoping for a little magic.

    laurel: thank you, friend. i am inspired to make this little one 117 things.

    lisa: oh, yes, smiles for maternity leave. and slower longer days.

    jen: oh it's wild and exciting and unbelievable. and glad you like that little blue whale. we can get together very soon! xoxo.

  7. Such a good idea. Have just bought a beautiful jumper from a charity shop and then found a tiny hole. This is the perfect way to still wear the jumper and fix the hole.

    1. Yes, I love finding ways to use up-cycled sweaters to create embellishments or to seek creative opportunities for repair. Enjoy!


Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.