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How to make a stuffed bear | Tutorial and Pattern | HowJoyful Bear

Last week I showed you one of the projects I’ve been working on, I wanted to make something really special for our wedding photographers, so as a Thank you present I made 2 little bears for their son and daughter.

teddy bear

Now that I actually finished and shipped the teddy bears, I didn't want to just show you how it turned out, I also I wanted to share the pattern and some basic instructions on how to assemble. So gather your materials! and get ready to make your very own teddy bear! =)

stuffed bear

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IMPORTANT: This project is NOT for beginners, and if you have never made stuffed animals and are not familiar with patterns, I would recommend you to start with a more simple project and attempt this teddy bear once you have the skills and patience to put together pattern pieces and are familiar with your sewing machine (if you are not fully hand-stitching it). I have added extra instruction and updated this post on February 20th, 2012. So hopefully now it will be easier for all of you to follow. I have no extra instructions or images but what I am sharing here. I am unable to give personalized help with this project, Thank you for understanding!

 

* You can use normal hairy fur fabric too, I used fleece because these are for a little boy and a little girl, so I wanted the bears to be as soft as possible =)

DOWNLOAD the PDF PATTERN

The pattern is a PDF file, the link goes direclty to Dropbox, but you don't need an account to view it, you will need Abobe Reader or a similar program once the file is downloaded.

THE PROCESS:

[ Click on images to enlarge ]

Before you start you need to print the pattern (the link is above), I printed my pattern and then glue it to cardboard (before cutting each piece out) so that way the process of tracing to the fabric (and making more bears) can be easier.

First, you need to trace all of your pieces on the fabric. Cut out all pieces adding a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Note: If you are doing a two-toned bear, as shown, you will need contrasting fabric and these pieces will be used: #1 (ear, 2 only), #2 (forehead), #4 (mouth), #8 (arm front, hand) and #15 (feet bottom).
For all of those pieces that say you need “2, 1 reverse” after tracing the front, turn the pattern and trace the second piece. Cut out the pattern and pin on to your fabric. When only one piece is necessary (#2, forehead and #4 mouth) place pattern on right side of the fabric.

HEAD ASSEMBLY: Pieces #1-5
• Sew ear (contrasting) pieces (#1) right sides together, leaving straight portion open. Turn right side out.
• Sew forehead (#2) and side head (#3) together making sure ears are in place (A2), see the picture.
• Attach mouth (#4) to forehead piece matching “B” and center.
• Sew mouth center seam to close.
• Sew center seam of the back of the head (#5).
• Attach head back to front making sure ears are pinned in place (A1) and center of forehead matches the center seam.
• Turn head right side out

I recommend starting with the ears, once you have them done attach them to the front and side part of the face.
Repeat and make sure the color of the ears is on the inside part.
After attaching the back, proceed to sew the mouth, first to the headpiece and after that sew the front.

Front body assembly: Pieces #6-10
• Sew belly (#6) center seam.
• Attach hand front (#7) to arm front #(8)
• Attach leg top (#9) to foot top (#10)
• Connect leg and arm pieces to belly according to letters on the pattern, making sure the outside edge of the leg is on the outside (this can be an easy mistake).

Then sew the body as marked on the pattern.
Sew the arms before attaching to the body, then pin the parts to make sure everything fits properly.

Back body assembly: Pieces #11-14
• Sew tail (#11), right sides together, leaving straight portion open. Turn right side out.
• Sew back (#12) center seam with tail in place.
• Sew bottom leg (#13) center seam together from point S to K.
• Attach bottom leg to back, matching letters on the pattern.
• Attach arm back (#14) to back (#12), matching letters on the pattern.
• Sew your front piece to the back piece leaving neck open and feet open.

Attach feet bottoms (#15) to leg openings, matching points Q and R to leg seams. Turn bear right side out.

Make sure you assemble the tail and place it before closing the back.
For the feet repeat the process and pin all the pieces together before sewing, sometimes it can be an overflow of fabric in this area depending on the kind of fabric you are using.
The body of your Teddy Bear is done!

Finish face details:
• Attach eyes
• Cut a nose out of felt, put in place and hand sew all around.
• Fold mouth as shown, pin and tack into place.
• Hand sew the head to the body with an invisible seam.

Proceed to attach the eyes, and pin the mouth to stitch it together.
I folded the very bottom of the mouth to shape a lip and then made two stitches on each side (Same place the pin is)
After that, mark his nose with a stitch from the lips to the nose, this is how the inside looks like after being done.
For mine, I used a piece of felt to shape the nose, sew all the way around and your Teddy Bear’s face is done.

Sew the head and the body together: What I did was, I sewed the back of the neck and the back of the head first, I place them with the wrong sides to the outside (before stuffing, so you can fold them inside out easily) and sew all of the back of the head to the back body piece, then turned the bear inside out (right side facing out) stuff the bear and hand-sew the rest trying to make the stitch as hided as possible.

If you finish without any trouble, pad yourself on the back because YOU ROCK! The finished Teddy Bear is about 16″ inches tall (From his bottom to his ears), so if you need it to be bigger or smaller you can enlarge or scale down the pattern =]

stuffed teddy bear

EXTRA TIPS:

Some of the best hints I can share:
• Each pattern piece is labeled with a letter (and in some cases with a letter and number), so take each step in alphabetical/numerical order. As the instructions state, start with the ear first, this is pattern piece “A”.
• Keep your pattern pieces handy so you can refer back to them for placement during the process.
• Different parts need to be attached to each other, so letters need to be matched up together.
• If you already cut your pieces without adding seam allowance, it's not a big deal, it will just be a tiny bit smaller.
• If you want to make a smaller or bigger bear, use a copy machine make the pattern bigger or smaller, magic!! =]
• Are you using a sewing machine? If you are, then know that some of the sewing involved will be too hard to do on the machine and will need to be hand stitched. With sewing experience, you will know when this is necessary.
• This is NOT a beginner project so in order to avoid the frustration, try something easier before attempting this =]

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For the Bears I made for our photographer's babies, I changed the pattern a little bit and made different backs. So that they could use their bears as a backpack for the little girl, and for stuff pajamas for the little boy =] I am super happy of how they end up, so I just hope they like it as much as I do hehe

bear

you can see in the top image that the pink it has ribbon strings that work as handles to be a backpack and the brown has buttons that make a pouch for the pajamas =] If you want to see all the rest of the pictures for the two very special bears, you should visit this post.

Hope you enjoy this project! It’s very fun!

[ This tutorial is provided for personal use only. If you wish to sell items made with this tutorial please purchase a limited production license. Check out our site policy for further information, Thank you! ]

Joy



How to make a stuffed bear - Tutorial and Pattern - HowJoyful Bear by Joy Kelley from @howjoyful

About Joy

Joy Kelley is a Chilean Designer & lettering Artist. Mom to 3 little boys. Crafter. Pattern lover. Color obsessed. Lemon pie dependent. And the hand behind the HowJoyful Studio & HowJoyful Shop

66 replies
  1. Maria
    Maria says:

    Hello. Thank you for the pattern. I started the bear yesterday and so far I have only made the head and it is amazing!! So cute and perfect!!

  2. Carmen
    Carmen says:

    Hi
    I am finishing the bear, so I hope I will soon show it to you. It has been an enjoyable and very cheap activity!!!

    Carmen

  3. En mi tiempo Libre
    En mi tiempo Libre says:

    hola Joy desde que vi el osito me encanto 🙂 gracias por compartir tu trabajo.. yo ya empeze el mio para mi novio jejeje

    saludos de otra Joy 🙂

  4. Cris
    Cris says:

    I have a question…how do you sew the head of the bear to the rest? I plan on making one for my goddaughter and i read the instructions but I can’t imagine how to do this part…
    Thanks ^___^

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      what I normally do is sew the back of the neck and head first, I place them with the wrong sides to the outside and sew prob half of it, then moved the head and hand-sew the rest trying to make the stitch as hided as possible. 🙂

  5. Chy
    Chy says:

    Wow! This bear looks so cool and hard too make. I’m in a high school sewing class and i desperately want to make this bear to make my pyjama pants i am making except i cannot figure out how you made the mouth look so perfect and round! When i sew my mouth it looks more like a beak…!

  6. Mary
    Mary says:

    Can you show how to attach the head to the body in picture tutorial cuz I’m having trouble attaching it to the body nicely without it showing that it’s sewed on. On your picture the teddy looks clean and as if it were just one whole piece. I can’t tell you sewed the head onto the body. I’d like to replicate that effect. Please, teach me how.

  7. Danisha
    Danisha says:

    This Bear is adorable 🙂 I plan on making this Bear for my nephew-in-law for Christmas. I haven’t started yet but I just wanted to know how I would go about turning it into a backpack. Thanks 🙂 hope mine turns out as nice as yours :S

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      Hi Danisha, I would recommend you to make one just like it is to get you familiar with the patter first. I closed on the inside the arms and legs putting fabric cups and then attached a zipper to the back and just like you would make a handbag made a liner for the inside of the bear. The process is a lot more complicated than just doing the normal teddy bear, just a heads up!

      Have a lovely day!

  8. Maricarmen78
    Maricarmen78 says:

    Dear Joy,

    I´ve finished two or three bears i gave as a present for my family. I extremely adore the results, you can see where in your flicker group I posted 3 pictures of my version of white and pink joyful bear.

    Best wihes and please keep posting lovely tutorials!!!

    Maricarmen78 from Guatemala City

  9. Mary Ann
    Mary Ann says:

    Good snowy morning. I make bears, both crocheted and sewn for the children at the safety shelters and homeless shelters. This pattern will be useful for the older ones. I make smaller crocheted ones for the younger children. I have begun a 4-H unit with my grandchildren and one of them is interested in sewing. I will save this pattern for her to also use as she progresses as I hope she does.
    Thanks and have a blessed New Year.

  10. Keyth Sokol
    Keyth Sokol says:

    I finished my bear. Tomorrow he goes to his one-year old friend for adoption! Like I said above I agree with some of the instructions being vague and I note a problem I resolved, but I swear, this is one of the cutest bears I have ever made, just perfect out of fleece and loosely stuffed.

  11. Barbara Sprague
    Barbara Sprague says:

    A thousand thank yous. For once a print out of the instructions. The bear came out cute, very easy. I always seem to lose the instructions when I “save”them. So thanks

  12. bellabearcriacoes.blogspot.com
    bellabearcriacoes.blogspot.com says:

    obrigado pelo molde é lindo sou apaixonada por ursos e espero que no meu blog tenha algo que vc goste,beijos Brasileiro
    bellabearcriacoes.blogspot.com

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      The teddy bear took me about 9 hours to complete from the cutting to the finishing details and yes! I actually used to make all of my stuffed animals by hand =] Now I like to sew them on the machine just because it’s faster, I’m getting lazy!

  13. Ciely Franco
    Ciely Franco says:

    Hola Joy, saludos cordiales desde Colombia, felicitaciones por tu página es variada, fresca y tus trabajos lucen muy delicados.
    Adoro hacer muñecas de trapo y tu oso me ha parecido precioso, muchas gracias por compartir el patrón, voy a buscar los materiales para hacer el mío. Así que cuando lo haga te lo mostraré.
    Tienes un perrito muy hermoso.
    Bendiciones. Chaooooo

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      Muchas gracias por los saludos Ciely, no sabes la alegria que me da cuando gente de latinoamerica commenta en mi blog! Muchos saludos para ti =] Besos!

  14. Maria
    Maria says:

    Thanks for posting this free pattern. I did have some issues with putting it together like some of the other people here, but I am fairly a beginner. I did get it and my three kids love the end result. I have to make a couple more things now so they don’t keep fighting over it. Thanks again!

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      You are welcome Maria, as I state in the post this is not an easy project and definitely not for beginners so pad yourself on the back!! you are awesome =]

  15. Amy
    Amy says:

    Thank you for this beautiful Teddy Bear Pattern I’m Excited to start it I’ll post photos of him when I’m finished.

  16. Keyth Sokol
    Keyth Sokol says:

    I am on my third and fourth bear. Second one has a lighter brown than he first. But the third and fourth are in primary colors! I love this bear!

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      I am so happy you have made so many of them =] I’d love to see them if you have a chance, have a lovely day!

  17. Joy
    Joy says:

    Hello there, I have decided to close the comments on this post. I have added extra instruction and updated this post Feb 20th 2012. So hopefully now it will be easier for all of you to follow. I have no extra instructions or images but what I am sharing here and I am unable to give personalized help with this project, as I stated on the post this is not an easy or beginner project, so start with something smaller and easier, then once you have more experience upgrade to this teddy bear, Thank you for understanding! =]

Comments are closed.