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Kids clothes are quickly outgrown, but it can be hard to say goodbye to favorite outfits. One great way to keep special outfits is to turn them into a stuffed animal. It’s an easy craft project that you and your child can do together.

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Find a Pattern

The first step in turning kids clothing into a new stuffed animal is finding a pattern. Patterns are easily found online, and some are even free. You may even be able to create your own pattern, though this takes extra effort and practice. When picking out your pattern, keep in mind that patterns with lots of curves can make sewing more difficult. For beginner sewers, it’s better to pick a pattern that doesn’t need a lot of detailed sewing work.

Gather Materials and Cut Out Material

Once you have your pattern, round up your materials. You will need the kids’ clothes, thread, scissors, sewing machine, needles, buttons, decorating elements, and fiberfill. Next, pin your pattern to the old kids clothes you plan to use. Carefully cut along the lines of the pattern. Many patterns will come with their own set of instructions, so be sure to read and follow these carefully.


Line up the first two pieces of material (i.e., the front and back of a bear’s body). You will want to sew it on the wrong side so that the shirt or dress is inside out. You will flip it inside out before you are done sewing. Thread your sewing machine, or needle if you are going to sew it by hand. Carefully sew along the edges of the piece using a small basic stitch. If you or your child has never sewn before, you can practice on scraps of material first.

On curved areas like the head or arm, you may need to trim some of the extra fabric along the seams. Extra fabric past the seams can cause wrinkles when you flip it inside out. Trim the excess fabric, or cut small v-shaped slashes in the margin.

Leave an opening in the seam about the size of your hand. Flip the material inside out, and use a chopstick or other small stick to poke out any edges or corners. Some bags of fiberfill come with a poker that you can use for this.

Stuff It!

Once your animal is right side out, you can begin to stuff it. Using small balls of fiberfill, begin stuffing corners and small areas of your animal, like the ears, tail or paws. If you can’t reach these areas very well, use a chopstick or poker to push the fiberfill to the edges. Stuff the small areas until they are firm, and then work into the main body. Make sure all areas of the animal or creature are thoroughly stuffed.

Finish Up

After the animal is completely stuffed, sew the opening closed. From here, you can decorate it however you want, using paint, buttons, yarn, clothing or anything else you can think of.

Creating a stuffed animal out of old kids clothes and kids dresses is easy and fun. Kids can easily do this project in an afternoon with a little guidance from adults.


Erin Martin is a guest author on behalf of Carter’s and OshKosh B’Gosh. She has been featured as a contributor on numerous kids’ style and parenting blogs around the net and maintains her own blog, KidSource.