- He had to be easy to make. Easy enough for kids to make.
- He needed to be a good, huggable size.
- I wanted him to have mix & match parts – so you could make a hundred of them and never get bored.
- He needed to be pretty foolproof – it doesn’t matter if his features are precisely positioned. It’s ok if he’s stuffed a little loose or a little tight. It’s all good.
- He needed to work well with easy-to-find polar fleece – but also work well with fancier fabrics like minky and cuddle fleece.
Jo and I tested this pattern a LOT – and then I used the pattern to teach softie-making to a bunch of kids – and then Jo and I made a bunch more. And now he’s ready to share. I can’t wait to see the bears that YOU make with him!
One note – I designed this pattern especially for charitable giving – but of course I’m giving it to you with no strings attached. Make bears for yourself and your kids and grandkids. Use the pattern when you teach. Sell finished bears. The pattern is yours! Make whatever you want with it! If you want to make bears to donate, I suggest the following places. . .
- homeless shelters
- battered women’s shelters
- fire departments
- police departments
- children’s hospitals (check first to see if they have special requirements about the materials they’re made with)
- Please suggest other places in the comments!
Here’s how to make him!
Prepare the Pattern
Download the pattern here. Print it out at 100%. Layer the two pieces together, overlapping so the edges of the pattern and the little hearts line up. Tape the pieces together into one large pattern piece and cut it out. I like to punch holes where the eyes are to make marking their placement easy.
Lay the pattern on the fabric so the stretch of the fabric goes across the bear’s belly. You want him to stretch wide – not tall.
Cut two body pieces.
Mark the placement of the eyes on the front piece.
Applique Any Parts
Cut any muzzles or belly pieces you want to use out of felt and applique them in place. Just stitch them close to the edge with a basic straight stitch. Nothing fancy. If you have trouble on the tight curves of some of the smaller pieces, watch this video for help.
There are two different muzzle patterns so you can give your bear a wide muzzle, a tall muzzle or no muzzle. You can see the three nose sizes in these photos too.
Embroider the Mouth
Thread a needle with a full six strands of black embroidery thread and knot the end. You’ll embroider the mouth in three stitches, always coming up at point A and going down at point B. If the A’s on the second and third stitches are above the B, your bear will be smiling. If the A’s are below the B he’ll be frowning. Don’t worry about making the sides exactly even. Crooked smiles are sweet.
Pop in Some Safety Eyes
I carry four sizes of safety eyes and three work well for these bears.
There are more eye options too. . .
Mismatched eyes are always fun.
And even if the eyes don’t go exactly where they’re supposed to, the results are cute.
If you’re making your bears for kids under three, you’ll want to embroider the eyes instead of using safety eyes. Here’s a tutorial showing the stitch I use.
Layer your bear front and bear back pieces right sides together and pin or clip the layers in place.
Sew around the edge using 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a stuffing opening on the side of one leg.
If you’re using a fabric that has no stretch, you’ll need to clip into all the concave curves. Watch this video for the why and how. Polar fleece, minky and cuddle fleece don’t need this step – they have a natural stretch that will allow the curves to turn smoothly without clipping.
Turn your bear right side out and stuff it.
Make sure you get some stuffing in his ears and arms before you fill up the big body – once you block access to those bits it’s hard to get back in there. Watch this video for some stuffing tips.
Here’s a review of my favorite stuffing. I like Fairfield Brand Poly-fil Supreme Fiberfill – it really does make a difference.
Sew up the opening. Ladder stitch is totally invisible on fleece – here’s a video showing how to do it.
If you like this free pattern, sign up for the Shiny Happy News! Subscribers get a weekly newsletter full of sewing tips and tricks, free patterns, special discounts, and other things to make you smile.