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Felted Owl and Butterfly Hats

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, March 2009


Before starting this project, you will need to felt an old 100 percent wool sweater. Simply wash the sweater in a washing machine with plenty of detergent and hot water, and dry in a clothes dryer on high heat. 

The soap, agitation, and heat will cause the scales of the wool fibers to open up, lock together, and condense. Washing the sweater with something made of heavy cloth, like a pair of jeans, will speed the process.

You may need to wash and dry the sweater a few times -- every sweater's different. Test your sweater for felting by snipping the edge -- it should not fray. If it does, wash and dry again.


  • Felted sweater

  • Heavyweight paper

  • Scissors

  • Tape

  • Permanent marker

  • Wool felt in coordinating colors

  • Fabri-Tac fabric glue

  • Hand-sewing needle and embroidery floss in coordinating colors

  • Sewing pins


  1. Print the owl or butterfly template on heavyweight paper and cut out all shapes. For the butterfly, cut two of the hat-base shape and tape together at the dotted line to make one large template.

  2. Lay the felted sweater on a flat surface, front facing up. Place the hat-base template on the desired area of the felted sweater. Trace around the template with a permanent marker.

  3. Hold the front and back of the sweater together as you cut out the base shape along the line you have drawn, so you end up with two identical pieces.

  4. For the owl, trace and cut eyes, pupils, and beak shapes from felt. Fold beak shape in half as shown by dotted line. Choose one of the base pieces for the front of the hat, and anchor eyes, pupils, and beak to it with fabric glue. For the butterfly, trace and cut spots and body from felt. Choose one of the base pieces for the front of the hat, and anchor the body and spots with fabric glue.

  5. With a needle and embroidery floss, stitch additional details onto the front of the hat.

  6. Lay the front piece of the hat on top of the back piece, wrong sides facing, with all edges aligned. Pin on each side to hold in place. With a needle and embroidery floss, blanket stitch all around the sides and top of hat.

    Tip: From the remaining parts of the felted sweater, you can make animal toys.

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