Upcycled Cuddly Keepsake

So many ideas, but so little time to execute, this is how I would describe my creative life (and probably my life in general).

Recently, my 7 year old provided me with the starkest of reminders. Clutching one of he’s old T shirts, he asked when I was going to get round to making it into something for him.  A pang of guilt spread over me, and when looking at the sizing tag I realised this project was 4 years overdue, I knew this was going to be my next project.

So how did this project come about in the first place? I am a sentimental person. While I wouldn’t describe myself as a hoarder, I tend to hang onto things that where special to me or my kids. So naturally for me, when my then 3 year old outgrew he’s favourite T shirt, rather than throw or give it away, I decided to hang onto it. Not wanting it to simply end up in a folded pile never to be seen again (see I told you I’m not a hoarder!), and with the mind of a craft addict, I came up with the idea to turn the image on the front into a keep sake soft toy.

Here is what I did and the instructions to make your own.

You will need

  • T shirt with suitable character motif
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Needle
  • Toy stuffing


1. Manipulating the image. If the image on your T shirt is exactly how you want it, you can skip straight onto step 2. I however did have a slight issue with mine – the robots right hand was attached to the body. For me this just would not do for the finished keep sake so I decided to manipulate the image.

Upcycled Robot Keepsake

Luckily enough for me, the appliqué detail of the robot gave me the perfect idea. I would cut some fabric away from the detailing on the hem of the T shirt, shape it into robot hands and sew them on at a slightly different angle so that the right hand was free from the body. I did the same for the left hand so that it would match.

2. With the T shirt right ways facing out, pin the robot image to the back of the T shirt, making sure that front and back lie flat together.

Upcycled Robot Keepsake

3. Carefully cut around the robot with a 5mm allowance where possible. I didn’t measure mine – I was too lazy and just eyeballed it.

4. Using a sewing machine (because its faster but you can do this by hand too), sew straight stitch 2mm from the edge all the way around your robot shape , leaving an opening at one end.

5. Turn the robot inside out. You might have to use a pencil to get into all the edges.

Upcycled Robot Keepsake

6. Now sew a line all the way around your robot, as close to the image as possible (note where I have sewn roughly around the robot antenna as it would be to skinny to stuff if I had sewn it so close). Remember to leave an opening in the same position as the last.

7. Make a cut between the arm and the body. For completeness sake you may like to make some reinforcement stitches on the seem between this cut to ensure it doesn’t break when stuffing later.

8. Turn the robot back the right way around, again use a pencil to get into all the edges.

Upcycled Robot Keepsake

9. Carefully stuff the robot with toy stuffing, making sure you get into the antenna and arms.

10. Once happy with how the robots looks, hand sew the opening with coordinating thread, and you are finished. Enjoy your keepsake for years to come.

Upcycled Robot Keepsake

Note: Obviously, unless you have the exact same T shirt, you will have to adapt these instructions a bit.

As always, don’t forget to let me know how you got on, I’d love to see your efforts and; incase any of you are wondering, yes! he loved it.


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