How to Make Sweater Dog Toys

comments (11) March 3rd, 2011     

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erika_kern Erika Kern, contributor
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Soft and squishy, with a great big squeak, these sweater bones are a big hit with my dog.
Gracie tested.
Gracie approved!
Soft and squishy, with a great big squeak, these sweater bones are a big hit with my dog.

Soft and squishy, with a great big squeak, these sweater bones are a big hit with my dog.

Photo: Erika Kern
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I have been lucky enough to become the foster mom of a super-skittish three-year-old mutt named Gracie. She had had a hard life. Two years on the street, hit by a car, three months in a shelter, nearly put down, and finally saved by a no-kill shelter where she lived for another six months. Then she met me. . . now she's the most spoiled mutt in town! She was scared at first (rightly so!), but she's slowly warmed up and now we're the best of friends. I sometimes cook her dinner (I know!), I run wih her, and I play with her. And boy, does she love toys! So while looking at my pile of sweater bits left from last month's projects, I could think of only one thing. . . toys for Gracie! What's more, they're so much more affordable than the store-bought toys. Win-win!

Want to make some? 

Here's what you'll need:

  • Old sweater (I used acrylic sweaters so I could wash the toy when it gets dirty)
  • Pack of squeaks (I found mine at Petsmart; they come four to a pack)
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Stuffing
  • Hand needle

First, gather your sweater or sweater parts.

I was left with a bunch of sleeves after all of my sweater projects last month. I thought making a pet project with them would be a great crossover into this month's pet projects.

You can use any part of a sweater to make your dog toys. If you're using a full large sweater, you should get about four toys: one from each of the sleeves, one from the back, and one from the front.

Draw and cut out a bone-shaped pattern from a large sheet of paper. Mine measures 12 inches long, 9 inches at the widest part, and 5 inches at the middle. Pin your pattern onto your sweater material.


Cut out your bone-shaped pieces.


Pin your fabric and sew it together using a 3/8-inch seam allowance. Leave a 2-inch hole along the side to turn your bone right-side out.


Stuff your toy with stuffing and the squeakers (I used one at each end), and sew up the hole by hand. Make sure to sew it up nice and tight, especially if you have a dog who likes to play rough.


Once your toy is sewn up, it's ready for play! As with all toys, it's best to supervise your dog when he/she is playing with the new sweater toy. 

Gracie loves her new toy!


Gracie tested.


Gracie approved!



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posted in: pets, dog, toy

Comments (11)

kushMehra writes: What a great idea to make a toy for pooch. Definitely I will try it.
Posted: 5:15 am on July 21st
jtz writes: Gracie may not have had an easy life - but she is a lucky girl now! Congrats on finding such a wonderful friend. I have 2 furry kids too, both have had rough lives in the past but are living the good life now.
Posted: 8:21 pm on March 11th
Brayden4 writes: What a GREAT idea for old sweaters! My G. Shep. passed away 2 months ago and I always made him the toys with the squeakers inside. That big, burly dog loved them. I bought a package of about 8 at our local Petsmart.
I still have a boxer and 2 pit bulls, and they don't necessarily like the squeakers, but the firmly stuffed SWEATER toy would take them a while to chew up....thanks for the idea.
Posted: 5:57 pm on April 18th
ShayMarWood writes: Oh, I'm so glad Gracie has a good home now, she looks happy! All my "kids" are rescues, all 7, 3 cats, 2 dogs, 2 cockatiels.

I may change the shape, stuff it with catnip.
Posted: 10:50 am on March 3rd
erika_kern writes: lizander: I found the squeaks at my local Petsmart. If you don't have one near you there's a link to their website in the materials section of the how-to.
Posted: 11:20 am on February 12th
pjinomaha writes: My friend and I attempted to make these bone toys on Sunday. You can check out photos from our crafting session on my blog, Somewhere in Middle America --
Posted: 10:25 am on February 10th
Nancy_Darnell writes: What a wonderful love story! You and Gracie are so blessed to have each other. The dog toy idea is perfect for sweater pieces, leftover fleece, and even old T-shirts--anything that is washable.
Posted: 9:38 pm on February 8th
lizander writes: Love the sweater-reuse ideas! May I ask where you buy squeakers?
Posted: 6:37 pm on February 7th
Jen1964 writes: Looks like fun! We always donated an old stuffed animal to the dog. Pre-loved was favored. One problem some dog-owners have had: if their dog toys looked too much like the still-used human stuff, dog bridged over and claimed anything that looked like it, as chew-worthy. You know, puppy antics, not outgrown... Smell is a big deal, so you could store your new dog toy in his bag of kibbles, for long enough for the scent to be all over it. Nothing else will compare, I guarantee!
Posted: 12:25 pm on February 7th
SuzNTX writes: I love these! I especially loved reading the story of Gracie--very heartwarming. She is a lucky girl!
Posted: 10:57 am on February 7th
FaveCrafts writes: What a cute idea. And Gracie is adorable! I'm afraid my dog would rip this to shreds though!
Posted: 4:58 pm on February 4th
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