Sweet Sweater Heart Tutorial

sweater heart tutorial

Yesterday I had to take a little break from all the sewing I have been doing on Tessa’s costumes for her role as Amber in Hairspray. It’s been fun but I was ready for a little change.

You know I have a thing for buying old sweaters from Goodwill. I like to turn them into skirts – like this one and this one. I have also been collecting sweaters for  a Valentine’s project I had in mind.

You see, I was inspired by this darling gift bag my friend Meg made and gave to me for Christmas.

joy bag

I wanted to make a Valentine version.  I collected a few sweaters.


Depending on the size of sweater I paid between $4.00 and $7.00 dollars for each one.


You want to make sure the sweaters contain wool because you are going to “felt” the sweater.  Since you are going to cut it you don’t want it to unravel and felting the sweater prevents this.  Have you ever accidently put a wool sweater in the wash?  If so, you know what happens.  It shrinks!  Be sure and check the tags of the sweaters to make sure they have wool in them and aren’t all cotton or acrylic.  Avoid cashmere as it doesn’t felt.  Lambswool felts somewhat but not as well as 100% wool.

The sweaters I used were a combination of wool and nylon (it didn’t felt very well),  the one in the photo was a combination of lambswool and nylon and it felted o.k.  You want to look for as “virgin” a wool as you can for the best felting.

Here is the sweater before washing…


…and here it is afterwards.  I laid pencils where the original outline of the sweater was so you could see how much it shrunk.

Sweater Hearts

To felt a sweater you want to wash it in hot water in your washing machine (a top loader with agitator is preferable)  I borrowed my neighbors.  I did wash one sweater in my front loader but just ran it through twice to help it felt a little more.  Then I throw it in the dryer on high  to help it shrink some more.  If it hasn’t shrunk enough you could repeat the process.

The next step is to cut out your pattern.  Since it is Valentine’s Day soon I went with a heart.  I just cut it free hand from some paper in the recycling bag!

Sweater Hearts

Any shape heart will do.

Next, I like to cut the arms and neck ribbing off the sweater and open it up at the side seams so I have two flat pieces of sweater.  I also open up the sleeves because there is usually enough fabric there to work with too.

Sweater Hearts

I loved this Fair Isle sweater and the pattern around the yoke.  That’s where I cut my heart out of.

Sweater Hearts

I cut the backside of the heart out of the body of the sweater since I didn’t want to use up all the great pattern on the backside of the heart.

Sweater Hearts

The next step is to pin the back and front of the heart together (wrong sides together).  You will also want to insert a piece of string or twine to use as a hanger.

Sweater Hearts

Place your presser foot along the edge of the heart (about 1/4″) and sew around the heart leaving an opening on the side of about 1 1/2″, room enough to insert the fiberfill batting.

Sweater Hearts

After stuffing the heart finish sewing the opening closed with the machine.

Sweater Hearts

Another way to attach a string hanger that looks great is to just tie a knot in your loop and top stitch it to the outside of the heart.

Sweater Hearts

The little sweet sweater hearts make the perfect decoration for your Valentine gift bags.

Sweater Hearts

You can add a piece of ribbon or torn fabric as a bow to dress up the heart a bit.

Sweater Hearts

I used rubber stamps and acrylic paint to add a little love message to the bottom of the bag.

Sweater Hearts

This cream color heart was made out of an acrylic sweater so it didn’t felt at all, thus the frayed edges but it still works.  I loved the texture of the sweater.

Sweater Hearts

Lots of possibilities and one sweater will yield quite a few hearts.

Sweater Hearts

They would also like darling on a Valentine tree.

Sweater Hearts

Happy sweet sweater heart sewing!

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Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

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  1. says

    Oh my Gosh!!! I absolutely love, love, love these!!! I want to go to the goodwill right now. I usually make something to hang around my light fixture over our kitchen table. This year I did paper hearts like the ones on the pottery barn garland, but I am in love with these and want to make some. So darling! About what size did you do yours? Thanks so much for the awesome idea! xoxo

  2. Jolyn says

    This is such a cute idea! I just got a new sewing machine for Christmas and all of your cute ideas are on my list of ‘Must Do’. I bet those hearts would be great with some lavender tucked in them. I am so grateful that you’re sharing your awesome talents because for someone like me who doesn’t have a creative bone in their body, your ideas are amazing, easy and so classy. I love it!

  3. Renee S. says

    Leigh Anne~these are wonderful! So pretty!! I was thinking of all of the possibilities even after Valentine’s Day . . . Mother’s Day, birthdays, and even getting started soon making some for Christmas bags next year! : )

  4. marti says

    Leigh Anne,
    What a revelation to know that when one accidently shrinks a sweater (and I have!) it can be used for something creative, and it even has a name…felting. Who knew! Thanks for all of your great ideas.

  5. Dawn says

    Love the hearts!! If I made them, I’d have to give Valentine’s gifts to someone other than my family. They wouldn’t appreciate the effort. Again, I want to be you when I retire.

  6. says

    Just wanted to let you know that I “ Featured” you on Santa’s Gift Shoppe Blog Hop today for your great project & inspiration! Be sure to grab the “I was featured” on Santa’s Gift Shoppe Button/Code for your sidebar! You deserve it! Thanks so much..If you’re not a follower already we’d love for you to join us…

  7. says

    Wow – these hearts are adorable! I need a holder for cedar shavings
    felted shapes would be handmade and so adorable for the many on my gift list. Thanks for sharing such a heart warming practical idea that’s quick too!

  8. Stephanie Magnusson says

    I’m making this for a Christmas ornament exchange! And a few for myself since the sweater makes so many! So excited :)


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