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Tutorial – Using Safety Eyes with Woven Fabric

Using Safety Eyes with Woven FabricUsually I use safety eyes with polar fleece or fake fur.

You can see a video showing how to use them here.

They really stand out from the fabric and look great – and there’s nothing you need to fuss with.

But when I was designing Bean I decided I wanted the face to look younger. That means bigger eyes and I knew safety eyes would give me just the shine and roundness I wanted.

The problem is the 9 mm safety eyes (the size I wanted to use) have a back that’s larger around than the eye itself.

That’s not an issue with fabrics with a bit of pile to them (like fleece or fur) but I didn’t like the way it looked with the woven cotton I was using for the face.

You can see the sharp edge of the backing in a little ring around the eye on the finished doll. It doesn’t look too bad – until you stuff it. Then it looks very pronounced.

Luckily – the solution is super easy!

safety eyes tipCut a circle of felt for each eye, just a little bit bigger around than the washer used on the inside of the eye.

It doesn’t have to be perfect.

If you’re using fabric in a light color, make sure to use felt in a light color too so it doesn’t shadow through.

safety eyes tip

When you insert the eyes, slip the little felt circle between the fabric and the washer. It’ll be on the inside of the doll head.

Make sure you lock the washer down tight.

Now when you stuff your doll the felt will act like a little layer of stuffing between the washer and the “skin” – softening the hard edge of it.

See? I told you it was easy!

Happy sewing!

Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)

The Dress Up Bunch is a collection of cute and cuddly rag dolls. Get patterns for the dolls, plus all their fun outfits and accessories!


  1. Marion SAYS...

    I am having trouble signing in and was looking at your free patterns. But how do I register to become a member. I already am getting your news letter. Please let me know

    • wendigratz SAYS...

      You shouldn’t have to sign in to see anything. What page are you at where it’s asking you to sign in?

  2. Judy G SAYS...

    I make memory bears, and one of my early bears had the safety eyes tear a hold in the fabric. After that, I used fleece, cut into 1 inch squares, and use one of those fleece squares between the back of the fabric and the washer. I feel that makes the eye more secure.
    Thanks for your great website and videos and patterns. I can’t wait to try out the applique cats.