Sweater Sleeve Hand Puppets: Sewvivor Round Two

Today is the voting is open for round two of Sewvivor! After you check out my entry, please cast your vote for me at Family Ever After. The voting is only open until midnight tonight, so I appreciate your timely support!

This week’s challenge was to upcycle, repurpose or find a new use for something. I’ve done a little of that before:) Because I refashion clothing pretty regularly, for my entry this week I decided to do something different turn a pile of old sweaters into quirky animal hand puppets!

These puppets are really so much fun to make! I used the sleeves of the sweaters to form the body outside of the mouths, then added various other sweater bits and knit scraps to the insides of the mouths and ears. I made up the shapes for the ears and noses as I went. It was a great exercise in spacial orientation, to get a feel for how to cut and sew to have the three-dimensional look I wanted. I didn’t plan the animals before hand. I just looked at the color and texture of the sweater I was cutting up and tried to imagine if it were an animal, what it would be…

I’ve become quite fond of them all, let me introduce you better:

Betty bunny is a sweet little thing, but not very bright. She loves to snuggle, flop her long ears from side to side, and occasionally speak with a British accent, just for fun.

Henry hippo snorts when he laughs. He gobbles up wooden blocks without trouble, and is very proud of his two bottom teeth (that, so far, have remained cavity-free.)

If you mention something about Henry’s adorable pink striped mouth, he’ll blush. He knows it’s his best feature.

Penelope pig’s favorite color is chartreuse. She dreads the clean-up song (you know the one, “Clean up, clean up, every body everywhere…”) and wishes we could all sing Kodachrome all day instead.

Penelope keeps the other puppets in line. This look means business.

Coco is the diva of the crew (likely attributed to her being made of cashmere.) She can recite all 50 states in alphabetical order, and wishes she lived in #5 instead of #46.

“Uncle” Ernie Elephant is a regular type of elephant hand puppet. He thinks before he speaks and looks before he leaps.

Ernie makes everybody feel special.

All together, they make up a pretty wonderful group. I brought them all outside to play in the neighborhood courtyard, and they had a great time.

My dear neighbors who modeled them for me did, too, it seems:)

And most importantly, the kids loved them. Coco is Milo’s favorite, he meows with her throughout the day. He laughs hysterically when Henry eats his blocks, and Penelope is trying to help him learn better table manners.

I had a blast with this challenge, and hope you love it, too! You can VOTE right HERE (I’m contestant #1) and help me move on to the next round!

Thanks a million folks!


  1. Mellisa Dean
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Hey Miranda! I voted – your creation is by far the most creative! Good luck – I love these puppets… 🙂 xxx

    • Miranda
      Posted April 11, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much Mellisa! I was excited to do something different. And now I’m kind of in love with them:)

  2. Tasha
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Voted!! Who needs pinterest when I can look at your blog?? Love your creativity.

  3. katie taggart
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Miranda – you are so dang talented! I love looking at your blog and the fun things you create! I wish I had even 1 oz of your creativity! Good luck!

    • Miranda
      Posted April 12, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Thank you! That’s so nice. I hope you get some ideas here that you can use! xoxo

  4. Posted April 12, 2012 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    I love that you made something other than old clothes into new clothes like all the others. Very creative and I love the little bio on each puppet. My 2 year old son loves puppets. I’ll be searching thrift stores for some sweaters this weekend. 🙂

    • Miranda
      Posted April 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Kara! I had no idea that my son loves puppets, too! These are great to make because the little quirks (aka crooked seams, etc:) give them such character. Good luck with yours!!

  5. Connie
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink


    I saw your puppets and would love to try them out with a bunch of 10 year olds.
    Would you help me out a bit? Hoe did you make the mouths?

    Thank you.

    • Miranda
      Posted May 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Hi there Connie! I’m glad you like the puppets! I have a more in depth tutorial coming soon, but here’s a quick run-down on the mouths: Put the cut off sleeve on your hand, lining the end up with your finger tips. Cut down each side of the sleeve all the way to the joint of the thumb. Cut an inch or so off of the bottom flap (to compensate for the bend of the hand when making the puppet talk. Turn the sleeve inside out, flat, with the mouth flaps open. Cut a piece of material in the shape of a rectangle to fit the open mouth, then stitch it on right sides together. When you flip it back right side out, you’ll have a puppet mouth!

      Good luck! I’d love to hear how they turn out!

  6. Connie
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    It looks like you only cut 2 lines from the open part of the sleeve. Right? So it is in the shape of an upsidedown U. What do you do with the piece that has been cut? Does it get cut off? Still a little confused.

    • Miranda
      Posted May 13, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      Hmm. I’m not sure about the upside down U. I cut two lines, one on either edge of the hand. That forms an open flap. I trim the bottom flap about 2 inches, so when the “mouth” closes, the bottom doesn’t stick out too far. Then I sew a rectangle into the “inside” of the “mouth” by turning the whole sleeve inside out, and matching up the rectangle to the open flaps, and stitching around the edge. When flipped right side out, I have an open-and-close mouth!

  7. Connie
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Get it. Thanks! I was thinking that it was more complicated!!!!! The puppets are SO cute.

  8. Connie
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    How do you keep the sweaters from unravelling when you cut the sleeve?

    • Miranda
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      All of the raw edges end up being stitched to something else, so there should be no problem with unraveling. I used the cuff of the sleeve as the bottom end of the puppet!

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