How to sew a teddy bear and a FREE printable pattern!

Eeeek! A teddy bear tutorial and free printable pattern print out! I found a great one from HowJoyful that I am excited to share with everyone.  It is mentioned in the tutorial, and I would like to reiterate that this is not necessarily a beginner project.  There are a lot of steps that could be a bit tricky. However, I think a beginner can tackle this! Taking it ONE step at a time of course. This tutorial does a fantastic job breaking the process down step by step with images that can help you as you follow along.

If you are a newbie to sewing and decide you want to try this out, let me give you some of my advice… Your first one will be a learning experience. Do not anticipate that one being a work of art, anticipate it being a learning curve so you can figure out what works best for you in making the next one. Use some practice fabric until you feel more comfortable.  You will find that with each one, they will get easier and easier. After a few, you may even figure out ways that you would adjust the pattern and look of your bears to make them your own.  One of my favorite parts about sewing!

This is also a great free pattern to test out if you are interested in making memory bears. The simplicity in the body would be a great starting point for beginners.

How to make a stuffed bear: The HowJoyful Bear

 

THE STORY BEHIND THE HOWJOYFUL BEAR

I first created this pattern while in high school, we had a sewing class that taught us the basics of making patterns and while everyone else started making pillows, I decided to venture a little further and made this one.

Granted when I first made it, it looked a little rough around the edges (literally and figuratively)

When I started thinking about a gift for our wedding photographers this bear came back to my mind, I had brought with me my little “crafty notebook” and I was so happy that I still had it!

So I made a tester and changed some things here and there, and the HowJoyful Teddy bear was born!!

So gather your materials and get ready to make your very own teddy bear!

You will notice that the ones I made and are pictured here have little modifications in the back, that’s because I didn’t want them to just to be toy bears.

I wanted them to play AND also be useful, so I added straps and a back zipper to make it a backpack and a little butt pocket to make it a pajama storage (the brown)

For this tutorial, since the pattern is complicated as it is, I am going to share just the basic way to make them.

One cool thing is that you can use this pattern to make a memory bear, just select a piece of clothing from your loved one and make a bear that will always remind you of them.

Or use your kid’s old pajamas and have a little token of when they where little!

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).

MATERIALS NEEDED

  1. One yard of fabric for the body (I used cream color fleece, 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)
  2. 1/2 yard of fabric for the color details (I used light brown)
  3. One set of animal eyes 18mm
  4. a small piece of felt for the nose (you can use felt for the eyes too if gifting it to a baby- for safety reasons)
  5. Stuffing material (I used polyester filling)
  6. Sewing machine or thread and needle for hand-stitching

THE PROCESS:

Before you start you need to print the pattern, 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)
  • #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 the 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.

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!

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 hidden 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 =]

EXTRA TIPS:

Some of the best hints I can share:

    1. 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”.
    2. Keep your pattern pieces handy so you can refer back to them for placement during the process.
    3. Different parts need to be attached to each other, so letters need to be matched up together.
    4. If you already cut your pieces without adding seam allowance, it’s not a big deal, it will just be a tiny bit smaller.
    5. If you want to make a smaller or bigger bear, use a copy machine make the pattern bigger or smaller, magic!! =]
    6. 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.
    7. This is NOT a beginner project so in order to avoid the frustration, try something easier before attempting this =]

Joan Mantini

About Joan Mantini

After several years of being the Facebook page owner at Beginner Sewing, I noticed there was a desperate need to have a single go-to spot for members to be able to find answers to their common questions, get some useful tips & tricks, as well as find reputable places to purchase sewing products online. Taking my role as a trade publication editor by day, and combining it with my knowledge of frequently requested beginner sewing advice, I created www.beginner-sewing.com. An outlet that gives new sewists a free digital magazine geared for entry level sewing as an extra bonus!

One Comment

  • Victoria Carswell says:

    So funny. People must be getting on bear kick again. In one of the other groups I am in we just did bears.

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