Friday, 29 April 2016

Worry eater tutorial (upcycled)

I mentioned worry eater in my first post so I think it is time for this blog's first how to. Worry eater is a plush toy with big mouth to eat all the worries kids (and maybe older ones) have. The idea comes from Germany where it goes under name ' Sorgenfresser'. Here is a tutorial to sew one and also tips to draw a pattern for your liking.

This is what I used:

Sweatshirt-dress, t-shirt and zipper from old pants. You can use almost any fabric for worry eater but I think it is best to use fabric that is soft and somewhat elastic to make it nice and cuddly. The sweatshirt-dress has a stubborn stain that won't come off, t-shirt's picture is too faded to be used so they are best used for upcycling. I used also the bowtie and the buttons so overall very good project.

I started by cutting the dress in parts and ironing them, I also removed the buttons and the bowtie and sew a 'lock' on the other end of the zip so it won't open in the wrong end. The t-shirt was used for the eye, mouth and the ears.

Then I placed the zip, bowtie and buttons on a sheet of paper (a4) and draw the body of the worry eater based on those measurements. I decided what kind of ears I would make and also the paws. Here is what I came up with:

Only one pattern for the paws as I used the same one to make all four paws.

After having the outlines for the worry eater I decided the place for the mouth (blue arrow in the picture) and the size of its mouth.

I then copied the mouth to transparent paper and cut two pieces for it:

The upper part is 1cm higher than the lower part as the zip will be needing its own space. Now the patterns are ready.

For the back part you can use the pattern you drew first and you can use the same for the front as well, just cut it half along the line where you intend the zip to come. So the front patterns should look like this (add the seam allowances):

Cut 8 pieces for the paws and two for the ears from sweatshirt and also two for the ears from t-shirt. Cut the eyes from the t-shirt as well and you are ready to start sewing. First attach the eyes and in this case, the bow tie. Whatever decorations you might use, attach them now as it is easiest. Then start with the mouth. Attach the top parts together right ways facing (head and mouth) with zip between the two:

After sewing it should look like this:

Then do the same for the lower parts. Attach lower part of the body and lower part of the mouth together, again, zip in between and remove the upper parts out of the way.

Now the backside should look like this:

Then close the mouth but only partly leaving a gap on the bottom big enough to be able to turn the worry eater around once it is ready. Start sewing from the bottom and do it in two parts remembering to leave the gap. So start from the left on the bottom and sew as far as you can get, then do the same on the right side. You can't sew all the way up because of the zip, like this:

That's fine, you can leave small gap there, you will be closing it later.

Take your paw parts and ears and sew them together, right ways facing, make cuts to seam allowances and narrow down the seam allowances to something like 3-5mm.

On the left you can see what was left after narrowing down the seam allowances, pictured because I used it as part of the filling. No need to throw it away if you can use it right away. Turn the parts, pay special attention to corners and bents to give the right form for the parts. Fill them with whatever you have in hand, I used cotton wool added with those small pieces of fabric. If you are like me and don't throw anything away here is a good place to use all those too tiny scraps of fabric. Attach the ears and paws

It looks a bit grumpy like this but let it stay that way and attach the back side, right ways facing of course and leave the zip open for couple centimeters, you will be needing that later when you turn the whole thing around. Use pins even if you don't usually. You have to stretch the back part a bit as it needs to cover all those lumpy parts too and it is very easy to misplace it. Better use them than having to rip it later because it moved while sewing.

Sew around and now you will be closing those two gaps around the zip as well with that one seam, like this:

Now it is actually almost ready! Just put your hand through that gap you left on its mouth, through the zip and start pulling it to the right side.

If you left big enough gap on its mouth you will have it done pretty easily. Now, fill the worry eater with cotton wool through its mouth:

Close the mouth completely.

And push the mouth inside your new worry eater.

You are done!

Let's take a look back. This was where it all started:

And this is what those unusable clothes became:

- Elina


  1. wow, really great! thanks for sharing on craft schooling Sunday!

  2. A recycling project, outside and inside: that's fantastic! Your worry eater is beautiful. It must be very soft with those fabric and hard-to-resist for children. At first, I wondered how you made the inside of the mouth... Now I know. :-)
    Thank you for participating to my Fabric, Thread and Yarn link party. Have a good day!

  3. OH my goodness - I just found this through Sew Can Do's linky party. I LOVE it - what an awesome upcycle!!!

  4. OH my goodness - I just found this through Sew Can Do's linky party. I LOVE it - what an awesome upcycle!!!

    1. I have somehow missed your comment completely, sorry about that. :( Thank you very much!

  5. Kiitos ohjeesta! Taidanpa lisätä huolisyöpön ompelulistalleni :)

  6. What a clever idea and a great way to reuse pre-loved clothing. I love your Worry Eater!!!

    1. Thank you, glad you liked it. :)

    2. I've showcased your fabulous Worry Eaters over at Threading My Way today...

  7. I am making this for me!!!! And I am 65!

  8. Great little fellow! A silly question - what do you put inside him? Thank you

    1. Thanks. :) Anything soft goes but for these I used pillow stuffing.

  9. Thank you. So much easier than the way I've been doing this!