Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Needle felted jacket tutorial

My littlest man is growing so fast, he's got 4 teeth, cruising and getting into everything. He is also growing out of many of his clothes including his wee jacket, so I decided to make him one... I'm so pleased with how it came out and i would like to share with you how I did it :-)

It is made from an upcycled man's sweater. I found this navy one in a charity shop for 1.50 Euro. It is 100% lambs wool, you do need it to be pure wool or as close to as you can find. Put it into the washing machine on the hottest wash it does with a little of your normal detergent and a towel which helps to agitate it. When it comes out it, it should be smaller and thicker, leave it to dry flat.

Now you need to make your pattern. I made my own using Joa's coat as a guide, but you can use a 'proper' pattern if you prefer, I'm sure there are loads out there. This is the little coat that Joa has been wearing and I wanted to make something similar (but without the hood). I laid it onto brown paper and drew the front body shapes, the back and also a sleeve. I then drew around them again giving myself an extra inch. This gives me a seam allowance and also gives Joa room to grow.

After cutting out the individual pattern pieces I matched them up at the shoulders and sides to make sure that the front and back would fit together, trimming any excess.

Pin the pattern pieces to your sweater and cut out. I used pinking shears although I think if your sweater is well enough felted you don't have to do this, normal scissors will do.

I cut the sleeves off keeping the cuff, rather than having to make a cuff. I also used the bottom of the sweater as the bottom of my jacket, again keeping the edge.

So you have 2 fronts, a back and 2 intact sleeves.

Now you can start sewing them together.

With right sides facing sew along the shoulder on both sides.

Now to attach the sleeve. With right side out place the sleeve as if the arm were folded over the chest. Then open the sleeve to place a pin at the top inside edge securing the top of the sleeve to the top of the shoulder . Sew around the inside of the sleeve, attaching it to the inside of the arm hole (gosh this sounds mental...perhaps I should have had more coffee before trying to write this...I hope you get what I mean).

Once you have attached the sleeves you can do any hemming needed. I put a hem along the open edges of the front, the neckline and I also hemmed the bottom of the jacket as I had vastly over estimated how much growing room Joa needs (I mean he's not 12 lol!!).

Turn back the right way and mark with pins where you would like to put the buttons and button holes (buttons go on the left front and holes on the right for a wee boy).

Now for the decorations. I had never needle felted onto fabric before so I thought it wise to have a wee practice first. There are some good tutorials out there and I find youtube particularly useful, but I feel with needle felting the best thing to do is just to have a go... but basically put thin layers of wool roving onto your felted fabric and stab repeatedly with a needle felting needle. Build up colour and shape, one you start you won't be able to stop it's lots of fun :-)

I put decorations on the front and the back (scroll down for more pictures).

Now cut in your button holes.
I used one of those thread cutter thingies, but a good sharp scissors will also do. Make sure when you cut them that your buttons will fit through, and do it slowly so they don't get too big.

Sew on the buttons in place so that they are in line with button holes.

Stitch around the outside of the button holes with embroidery thread, using blanket stitch. This is not totally necessary, but it will keep your button holes from ripping and also looks quite cute if you used different colour threads on each hole.

And there you go, you've made a completely fabulous jacket that cost practically nothing. Here are some more pictures of mine...

The back: a hedgehog and butterfly

The front: a snail, toadstool and bee

My dear little Joa wearing it...

Happy crafting!


  1. Gorgeous Laura! Totally beyond me tho! Have just placed a large order on Myriad of lovely crafty goodies - peg bodies for wooden dolls and more little creatures for our nature table, some kits and some ready made - I get far far better results with kits! Far less scary looking! And I got some needle felting kit- done it once before and loved it!

  2. Laura, this jacket is awesome- it is so adorable! Nearly as adorable as that little boy who is wearing it. . .
    Seriously, I love the hedgehog!

  3. Wow, you are so clever! I really love this idea, reusing something and creating something gorgeous like that. Have never done needle felting before, but am tempted to give it a try now! I also really LOVE that patchwork dress you made the other day - definately going to have a go at that. Your kids are gorgeous too!

  4. I was so intimidated by needle felting too until I just started. It looks much harder than it is and it really is just a matter of playing until you get the hang of it.
    Thanks for all your kind I have fulfilled my need to create for my own kids I'd better get cracking with my dolls that are awaiting clothes :-)

  5. Beautiful jacket - great tutorial!

  6. Very beautiful! Thanks for sharing. I want to make one ASAP.

  7. Wow!!! Love it!!! I've never thought of needle felting onto a sweater. What a great idea! Any suggestions for washing? Do you just wash like you would a wool sweater?

  8. I love this!!!! I just pinned it so I can try making one for my daughter, thank you for sharing this tutorial!

  9. Did you know you can create short links with OUO and make $$$$$ from every visitor to your short links.