Upcycled Sweater Hobby Horse (and accessories)!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A little boy I know had a special bday coming up and I'll tell you...it took a WHILE for me to come up with something good to make him (this was before the AWESOME ideas showing up on Made and Made By Rae for "Celebrate the Boy" month!). I decided to go with a cowboy theme because I had been DYING to make these preciously hilarious felt moustaches from Little Birdie Secrets here. What goes better with black felt moustaches on a 1 yr old than an UPCYCLED sweater hobby horse...umm, NOTHING!!

Here's what you'll need:
-Sweater you can't fit in anymore
-1/4 yd of fleece (if even that)
-scrap contrasting fabric
-two buttons for eyes
-hankerchief or like-patterned material
-two large rubberbands
-hot glue and hot glue gun
-acrylic paint and some sort of sealant
-1 1/2 inch wooden dowel

Here's how I did it:
1. Draw and cut out a horsehead-like shape from the BODY of the sweater, back and front together. It's basically like a bubble-letter "L." Mine was about 7 in wide in the neck, 14 in from top of head to bottom of neck and 12 in from back of head to tip of snout.
2. Cut 2 triangle ear shapes from both the sweater and the contrasting fabric. I did about 4 in tall X 3in wide ones. Pin them together right side to right side. Sew up the two "sides" of the ears and leave the bottom open. Then turn it right side out and use a point turner or something pointy and get everything nice and triangle-y again.

3. Now, take the ear and pinch the back of it and stick it under the foot of your machine. I sew it about half way to the "front" of the ear---now the ear will have a more realistic bend to it. Neat!

4. So, this project has a few of what I call "clever" sewing moments...here's one of them. I simply cut a slit in the upper side part of the head, slipped the ear through the right side of the fabric so the back unsewn end was coming up through the wrong side and sewed it across---head, ear and all!

And here's what that looked like from the front:

5. Now here's a non-clever moment I had, but I am hoping that that you LEARN from my mistake! Sew the button eyes on, if you can place them easily, BEFORE sewing up the head and mane. It will be way easier on you- trust me!

6. Next is the mane...cut a strip of your fleece about 8 1/2 inches wide by whatever the measurement is from the bottom of the neck to the top of the head between the ears. I actually cut mine a little longer for wiggle room. Fold it in half lengthwise and stick it open side down in between the two head pieces (which are right sides together now) from the head down the back of the neck. Sew it up all the way from one side of the neck to the next...leave the bottom open.

7. Turn that horsey right side out! Now, fringe the mane all the way down and WAH-LA! Hobby horse head mostly complete! Stuff it nice and tight, like a pillow, except leave the bottom 4 inches or so unstuffed.

8. Ok, now the stick...I didn't cut mine at all bc by the time it went up into the head, it was the perfect length. So, I just painted it blue (to tie in the blue from the ears) and sealed it with spray paint type sealer.

9. Stick that dowel up into the stuffed head and gather the bottom and slip a pre-doubled or tripled up rubber band over the bottom of the dowel and bring it up around the gathered bottom of the stuffed head. This took my husband and I together because one person held the rubber band open and slipped it on and the other held the horsehead on the dowel. Like so:

10. Tie the bandana around it in a cowboy sort of way...

11. Here comes the next clever part. My friend has wood floors and I didn't think she'd appreciate a wooden stick being dragged all over it. So, I cut the cuff (plus a few inches) off the same sweater. Turn it inside out. Gather up the cut edge just a touch and sew it straight across. Turn it right side out. PUT THE OTHER RUBBERBAND ON THE BOTTOM OF THE DOWEL. (otherwise, you will be looking at it like a dog trying to figure out what a fork is for...like I was!) Put a little stuffing in the bottom of the cuff, then put the dowel in the cuff and stuff all around it. Gather the end of the cuff up and put the rubberband around it. Here's how all that looks:

Now, I didn't cover up the rubberband on the bottom bc it was nice and tight and I didn't see how any human could possibly ever take it off.
The last thing I did was put a line of hot glue under the rubberbands between the sweater and the stick so they wouldn't slide off. Again, I needed the hubby to help lift up the sweater right there.

Yay! Hobby horse, moustaches, and cowboy hat (from local toy store) and we have a wonderful boy gift! I was seriously beside myself with joy to give this one!! Now try wrapping this sucker-- that wasn't pretty...
PS-- Let me just tell you that I saw more than one adult at this 1yr old's birthday party modeling the moustaches for pictures!!


Sheri@childmade.com said...

Very sweet! Too bad my boy is too big. Thanks for sharing! I've posted a link.

Kaysi said...

That is adorable!!! I know that my boys would love something like that, thanks for the idea and linking to Motivate me Monday

Heather said...

Love this idea. Found your blog via Celebrate the Boy Flicker group. Looking forward to browsing the rest of your blog. =D

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