Upcycle Baby Clothes into a Memory Blanket

Our daughter came home to us from Ethiopia wearing 12 month sized clothes even though she was 19 months old.  But once she settled in and learned to trust us and try new foods, she quickly filled out.  Many beautiful outfits have only fit her for a one-time-wear because of how fast she’s put on weight!

Upcycle Baby Clothes into a Memory Blanket @4onemore.com

What to do with all these memories — the outfit she came home in, the ruffly top she wore around the house the first week, the “cutest little sister” shirt that she wore in Ethiopia when she left the orphanage.

I am happy to be passing along many things from her stash of clothes, but a few of my favorite pieces will find their way into a Memory Blanket.

Upcycle Baby Clothes into a Memory Blanket @4onemore.com

Memory Blankets combine the best of everything — preserving sentimental pieces in a useful way.  Isn’t upcycling fun?

I made Memory Blankets for my boys.  I made them rather small — only a 3 x 3 blanket, which measure nearly 24 inches square.  But you can make this as big or as small as you’d like.

Upcycle baby clothes into a Memory Blanket @4onemore.com


I wrote a note for each boy and set it and the Memory Blanket in their Memory Bin.  Hopefully they will enjoy unpacking it again when they’re parents.

Here’s how do make this blanket.  Adjust the measurements to fit your preference.

Step One:  Figure out how many squares you need for your blanket and what the dimensions will be.  Cut a template out of a cereal box.

Step Two:  With your stack of outgrown baby clothes in front of you, use your template to cut the best parts from each outfit.  Include pockets and buttons for added fun.

Upcycle baby clothes into a memory blanket @4onemore.com

Step Three:  Sew your squares together in rows with a simple straight stitch.  Sew your rows together until your blanket front is complete.

Step Four:  Add a backing to your blanket.  Mine use simple white minky fabric.  Pin right sides together and sew all the way around, leaving a few inches to turn your blanket right side out.  Finish off with a stitch close to the edge of your finished piece.

That’s it!  Will you be making this?  This would make a great gift for a mom-to-be.  Just gift her a certificate for a lovingly handmade Memory Blanket.

DIY Spring Floral Pillow

I’m interrupting my recap of our adoption trip to Ethiopia {you can start with Day 1 here} to bring you a fun sewing project to span that confused season called spring.  Today is the first day of spring, but here in the Poconos of PA we have more snow!  Go figure.

DIY Spring Floral Pillow using an up cycled sweater l 4onemore.com

This project is great for up cycling one of those tired sweaters you have in your closet that you’ve worn all season and are planning to put in the “donate” pile anyway.


So, here’s your supply list:  {measurements are for a 16″ square pillow}

Cotton fabric 37.5 x 15.75 inches

Upcycled sweater or jersey knit top cut into 3.5 inch strips {roughly 120 inches total length}

16″ pillow form


DIY spring floral pillow 4onemore.com

Step 1:  Make your envelope pillow cover

I had a cute cotton quilting fabric in my stash with little grey, yellow, and white geometric designs that I knew would help my grey floral front to pop.  So, I cut that fabric out into a  37.5 x 15.75 inch rectangle, then folded the short edges over and ironed them.  This will make a neat edge at the pillow opening.  You can also straight stitch the folds you make.

DIY spring pillow cover 4onemore.com

I made the mistake of sewing my pillow cover together at this point, which caused more difficulty than necessary when sewing on the big bloom.  I would recommend finding the center of your pillow cover and moving on to Step 2.

Step 2:  Cut your strips

I used an up cycled wool sweater that had been felted.  It was lightweight, which made it easier to manipulate and sew on than a thick chunky sweater.  You could also up cycle an old jersey knit top or skirt.  Check your local thrift store for some fun options.

DIY spring floral pillow l 4onemore.com

I kept cutting strips out of the grey sweater until I had about 120 inches worth of them.  They measured about 3 1/2 inches thick.

Next you will want to run a long stitch to gather the strips.  Make sure you leave several inches of thread at each end, then stitch about 1/8 inch from the edge of the fabric.  Don’t backstitch.  You will use these threads to gather the fabric so it puckers.  Don’t worry if it’s not perfect — this  pillow is great at hiding imperfections!

DIY spring pillow 4onemore.com

Step 3:  Trace a circle

Now on the center of the front of your pillow, with right side facing up, trace a circle onto your fabric.  This will help you line up your fabric strips in the next step.

DIY spring pillow tutorial 4onemore.com

Step 4:  Start sewing the sweater strips

Here’s where things can get a little crazy, but just tackle it little by little.  Starting with the circle you just drew onto your fabric, line up the first sweater strip so the edges cover the markings.

spring pillow DIY @ 4onemore.com

Start sewing the strip on near the top where you did the gathering stitch.  Again, don’t worry if it’s not perfect because your other strips will eventually cover these strips.

spring pillow DIY 4onemore.com

Keep sewing the strips onto the pillow, gradually moving the design in toward the center.  Just make sure each time you add a new layer of strips, they are covering the stitching done on the previous layer.  Overlap the short edges of the strips.  Nothing too perfect here.

DIY floral pillow cover 4onemore.com

Eventually, you will not see your pillow fabric anymore in the center.  That means you’re almost done.  It will look something like this.

floral pillow cover DIY @ 4onemore.com

Step 5:  Finish the bloom 

Did you make it this far?  Seriously, the hardest parts are over.  Cut a circle with a 3 inch diameter out of your sweater or jersey knit fabric.  Spiral cut it like this.

DIY floral pillow @ 4onemore.com

Now, fashion a loosely rolled flower and tack into the center by hand stitching.

Step 6:  Sew your pillow cover together

Yes!  With your beautiful bloom inside, and right sides facing together (and making sure your pillow form will fit inside), sew the top and bottom of your cover together.  This is an envelope style opening in the back, so some of the back fabric will naturally overlap.

pillow cover DIY 4onemore.com

Turn right side out, pop that pillow form in, and admire your bloom!  This is such a fun pillow for spring.

DIY floral spring pillow @ 4onemore.com

DIY spring floral pillow 4onemore.com

Have you ever made a pillow like this?  Will you be trying one this spring?

Oh, and if you’d like this pillow without all the work, it’s for sale in my shop.  All proceeds go to help us finish our Ethiopian adoption!