The Teddy Bear Project

I know this may sound random, but I was thinking the other day that I wanted to make a teddy bear. I made a stuffed pig out of fleece for a friend’s baby for christmas, and thought, hey? How hard could this be? I googled “Teddy Bear Template” to find a pattern. Here’s the best one that I found online:

The teddy bear pattern pieces I used.

The search gave me a pretty big looking pattern, and without a useable printer, I held up pieces of paper to the computer screen and just drew the pieces, then cut them out. I cut a set of the pieces into a very soft fabric (almost like the softest, shaggiest towel you’ve ever felt) and cut the pieces as directed. After cutting ALL of them, I realized that I wanted a bigger teddy bear, and then tediously started to cut new ones. Yes, all new ones, about a half inch bigger then the pattern pieces that I had previously cut.

I took all the pieces to the sewing machine, and, with NO direction, just stared. I felt like a kid with a new bike. A bike that was all in pieces, and the directions were gone, and I had to figure out how to assemble this bike on sheer luck.

  • I sewed the head first, sewing the two side pieces and the gusset together. I then sewed the ears into place based on where the template marked the ears to go, sewing them into the sides of the head from the wrong side of the fabric. I added some button eyes, and a little embroidery floss as a nose. It looked… rather crooked, but I just went with it. I knew the pieces were all the same size, so how off could it be?
  • Then I sewed the body, I started by sewing the two front pieces together, then the two butt pieces together. I sewed the arms in between the butt and the body pieces while I was attaching them, enclosing them in while sewing the body almost shut. I left the bottom of the torso open to add the legs. The fabric and fuzzies kept getting stuck in the thread, but I didn’t let it bother me… too much.
  • I didn’t know how to do the legs… I had pieces, but it looked like the legs should be sewn, stuffed, and attached to the outside of the body. I wanted the legs to come out of the body, and so I just sewed them into the body, and sewed it all together, while inside out. I added the tail at this step too.
  • While still inside out, the body kind of all folded into itself like a Poppel, I attached the head, sewing almost all of the way shut, but leaving a space to turn it right side in, and stuff it.

My end result looks like a lamb that got ran over a few times.

My Lamb-Bear!!!

This is the bear from the back. Yikes. Crooked, and mis-proportioned.

Now, you can laugh. I did. I presented this bear to my boyfriend as a failed attempt at a bear. He laughed, but he loves it. This morning, I saw the precut bear pieces from my first cutting, and decided that I couldn’t leave that bear un assembled, and decided to sit down in front of the classic movie channel and hand sew another little bear. Yes, you read the words “hand sew”. About 2 hours in, I declared myself a crafting masochist… WHY did I do this? This was taking forever! But, never the less, I knew what I had done wrong with the first bear and decided to make a better one.

  •  After sewing the head, and looking at it, It was very… crooked. Like the first one. And one ear was taller than the other, like the first one, even though I knew they were the same size when I cut them, and they were attached in the same place on both sides of the head. I realized that the reason that the bears were crooked wasn’t me, it was the stretchy fabric! It was tugging as it was being sewn in the machine, the feeder was stretching the bottom piece, and the top piece was laying flat, creating crooked pieces with everything I had sewn. Even though it looked even, when it was flipped inside out, it was crooked. I made the proper adjustments, sewing some pieces in farther and taking out fabric, and the bear started to look normal.
  • I made the head like before, and the body, without attaching the arms and legs to the insides, and sewed them together and stuffed them. It looked like a peanut!
  •  I then sewed and filled the arms and legs separately, and attached them to the outside of the body, like I thought they should be. Here’s the end result of the 2nd bear:
Bear #2

I’m a fan of bear #2. It looks like a real bear, with little arms and legs on the outside of the body, and button eyes, a little stitched nose, and a ribbon on his neck. And it only took… 2 tries, 3 hours, 2 movies on TCM, a DVD, and a whole lot of fuzz on my carpet and couch. But, hey, it’s all about the end result, right?

Fraternal Twin Bears!

So, as fun as this was, I say next time, I use a pattern with directions. I would advise using fabric without too much stretch to it, and I think that with this pattern, the butt and belly pieces can be adjusted to be larger, if you choose to make a jollier bear, since otherwise the head and the torso are about the same size, if not, the head is almost bigger. I will make another bear, and adjust the pattern, with photos and step by step instructions, so you can make one properly. Happy sewing!


39 thoughts on “The Teddy Bear Project

  1. umm i’m trying to do this too, but i don’t understand the butt and body pieces! how do they fit together? i normally make my own patterns, this is the first time i haven’t made the pattern 🙂

    1. Honestly, I don’t really remember. I sewed the 2 belly pieces together, and then sewed the 2 butt/ back pieces together, and after making sure the tail was sticking out where it needed to be in the lower back piece, I just sewed it all together. Your result will almost be like a tube sock. Once you stuff it, it will fill out then you can attach the head. I’ll take a better look at the bears when I get home, and see if I gave you the right instructions. Otherwise i’ll post another picture. Best of luck!

  2. how does the butt piece you sew the two belly pieces together, the two butt pieces together, and attach the connected butt and belly pieces? ._.

    1. Yep, that’s right. You attach the 2 front pieces, the 2 back pieces (after putting the tail where you want it to go) and then sew the front to the back. You will end up filling it before you attach the head that’s also been filled.

  3. Hi, I would like to know the step by steps on how to make bear #2, even though I don’t love the first bear, I’m making it for my boyfriend for christmas 2011. I’ve made him things in the past that he just loves, but I know he will love this one just as much as the other things. I have a few questions like: What kind of fabric did you use? Where can I get it? Where did you get the stuffing? What kind of needle did you use? How big will it turn out to be? Did you use a pattern? If you did then where did you get it? It would help me a whole bunch if you could answer these for me. Thank you so much for your time 🙂

  4. Hi how did your bears head come out so small mine was larger than the body?but any way it is cute and I adore it I am making them for my grandparents for second one came out as looking a bit like a 😉

    1. I sewed it in between the two back pieces before attaching them to the front pieces, so sew it sticking right side in when you sew the two back pieces together and when you turn it right side out, you will have a cute little tail sticking out. I’ll post a pic today so you can see. 🙂

  5. Hey what is the gusset? im making this for my girlfriend for christmas,, And whats the difference between the butt and stomach?

  6. The gusset is the top of the head. It’s a piece that’s sewn in between the two sides of the face, and carries from the top of the nose, to the back of the head. I’m not sure what the pile is, it’s a fuzzy fabric. And the butt pieces are a little longer than the stomach pieces, the stomach pieces are wider to create a fuller belly.

      1. Hi, I was wondering how you sew the belly and the butt pieces to make the body for my bear. So far I have my head, arms, legs, and tale done but I’m really confused and would love step by step instructions on how to get the body done. If you could help me that would be amazing. Thank you.

      2. Well it’s pretty simple. You take the 2 belly pieces and sew them together according to where the pattern tells you to. You do the same for the butt pieces. Then you take the but and belly pieces and pin them together right side facing in. Then you sew them together all the way around except where you would sew the head on. Leave that open. Set the torso aside and sew the head. Once you have the head sewn, take the head, with the right side folded in, and having it inside out, attach it to the body, leaving enough room to flip the whole thing right side out, and leaving room to stuff and hand stitch it shut.

  7. I am almost done making a quilt for my 2 year olds twin bed. I am beginning to add stuffed animals that I will be making soon too. I am doing it all by hand so this bear is a real quick project that will tie in quite nicely. Do you have any other projects you have done that I could use?

  8. I love them! I’ve been thinking about using my baby girl’s baby blankets to make a teddy for her! Thanks for the tips!

  9. Not to be random but… well, what the heck. My daughter’s name is Roxanne. I know there aren’t so many Roxannes these days, so I thought I’d mention it. You’re a brave soul to hand sew super soft fluffy fuzz, by the way. I know how you all feel about bear #1, though… the first time I sewed a soft doll pattern I bought years ago, I was in a hurry and just did everything fast and came out with a mutant with two ear sizes and a pointed head… and this thing was just a flat, no-frills cotton doll! But I didn’t have the heart to get rid of her in favor of her successors who were all sewn slowly with stitching lines sketched on to preserve their proper shape… so I put a dress on her and called her Salvador. It fits on so many levels.

  10. just seen this and made me giggle so much i tried to make a stuffed bear and mine turned out very similar ! think il stick to needle felting .
    Debbie x

  11. Hi,

    I love teddy bears ♥ and your is so cute. I am making this bear for my GCSE and I find the step by step instructions really hard! could you please be able to make a video on how you made this teddy bear? It would be so helpful for me 🙂


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