Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Beanie Baby Project

First of all, this is not my idea, this is just how I decided to do it.  I've seen it at some quilt/boutique/consignment shops - and thought it was so cute!  I have a bunch of beanie babies I bought back when they were such a hit, not for their value, but because I liked them.  My girls did get some for gifts or for rewards, but I chose to get the dogs and cats for myself.  SO.  If any of my beanies are valued over  $5 . . . DON'T TELL ME.  Because I've dissected a few.  Cut them right in half, I did.

I started with some minky fabric and some flannel.  (1/2 yard of each will make 2 beanie blankets, and enough extra minky fabric for 1 more.)  

1)  I cut the beanie in half, and emptied out the little beanies.  In the first one I made, I left some, but emptied out enough to give myself room to stitch the halves shut.  I decided I don't think it really matters if there are beans in there, and I wouldn't want them to escape for any reason at a later date.  I emptied the remaining 3 beanies, leaving the stuffing in their cute little heads.

2) I zig-zagged the ends shut, just to give myself a flat edge to sew into the blanket.  I used a denim needle in my machine to be sure I could sew through everything.

3) Without worrying too much about an exact size, I cut the largest pieces I could from each of the flannel and the minky fabric.  I cut two opposite corners off, approximately the width of the beanie I'm going to use - and this is different for each beanie.  It isn't terribly fussy, but if you cut it too wide, the beanie doesn't always end up centered on the corner.  Believe me, I did it, thinking I knew what it "should" be.

4)  The other two corners I rounded so I didn't have to try to make this be square.  As you can see, I used a most technically advanced tool to do this.  Whatever I could find that was about the right size . . .

5)  Next, I pinned the two squares together.  If you are not a pinner for small seams, I suggest you become one for this project.  The minky fabric is very slippery, especially against flannel, and does NOT stay put.  I placed one half of the beanie at one of the cut ends of the minky fabric, and stitched it down.  I would suggest doing this before stitching between the two layers and around the whole square to make sure it catches the beanie.  Then stitch the end closed with both fabrics and repeat for the other end, being careful to place the beanie the same direction on the fabric so the halves end up facing the right way.  This will become clear . . .

6)  Even though the square is pinned, turn back both ends where you've sewn the beanie to look at the finished side and be sure the entire piece has been caught between the two fabrics.  Also doublecheck that each half of the body is facing the same fabric.  

7)  Place the entire piece on your cutting table, and check the pins.  Re-pin if you have to, and use lots of pins :)

8)  Now you can stitch all the way around, leaving an opening to turn right side out.  (Don't forget that opening!)  I used a good 1/2" seam to be sure to catch both fabrics well.

9)  Turn right side out.  Double check the body parts again to be sure they are both facing the right direction.

10)  Once you're sure everything is attached well and facing the right direction, press the entire piece, and also get the opening for turning pressed so you can stitch it closed.

11)  Now I top-stitched around the entire piece, fairly close to the seam and closing that opening.  I top-stitched a second time around about 1/2 inch in.  These blankets will NOT be coming apart!

It took me about 3-1/2 hours to make 3.  Sometimes the minky fabric shifted so I had to do some creative tucking and re-sewing to be sure the beanie was completely stitched in.  It's amazing how this fabric can shift and fold back on itself!  But it's soft, soft, soft, and I think a little kid hauling this around will not care much whether everything is square or centered or perfect.  So, I'm trying very hard not to beat myself up about the little things I don't think look very good.  It's for cuddling, not examining, right?

Some additional thoughts:
  • If one doesn't want to perform surgery on their beanies, any stuffed animal will do, to make any size blanket.
  • Both sides could be minky, I just chose to use flannel for one side because the minky fabric is fairly expensive.
  • I have seen these with small various-textured ribbon tabs on the sides as well, for a sensory toy.
  • I think this is a cute gift by itself, but one could make a matching crib quilt using the same fabrics.
There you go.  The Beanie Baby Project!


  1. Those are very cute...wishing I had a little one small enough to make one of these for!

  2. those are cute. never thought of doing something like this until you mentioned it the other day. Glad you gave a tutorial.

  3. Now I get it! I still don't think Joanne will let me sacrifice her Beanies, though.

  4. I absolutely love this! Thank you for sharing it :)

  5. What a great idea! I'll bet who ever (whom ever??) receives these will love them. I would think they are very cuddly.

  6. What a great idea! Have been keeping some nice flannel for years, hoping some day someone would give me some nice inspiration. THIS IS IT!
    I'll go over to the secondhand store, where they sell lovely (unused and clean) stuffed animals for almost nothing, buy myself some nice animals and get going! Great!
    Thanks for sharing the tutorial! Ingrid


Thanks for your thoughts - I read and appreciate every one!