I absolutely love this photo that Carrie sent of her girls with the softies she’s made for them.
She writes. . .
I’m just realizing on this trip how much my girls really do love their softies! That’s Ellie all snuggled up with a Fat Cat. Kate’s favorite way to snuggle with Bertie is to use its belly as a pillow and the big feet to warm her ears!
She’s in the UK and couldn’t find the cuddle fleece that I used. Guess what she used instead?
I actually made my bunny out of a very soft and ‘feel-y’ baby blanket I bought in a discount store (£4 – maybe $6? – for a blanket 1m x 0.75m) – it worked well, but it was very fluffy to work with! The Soft and Stable was easy to work with and actually made the sewing a bit easier when it was that side down! Everything else I had, so he was an economical project for me. 🙂
I thought you might like to see a picture of Buster in white velour. I had forgotten how tricky velour can be as it insists on curling. Happily, our fabric store did have the doll needles. I made him for my great niece’s first birthday, along with a pile of favourite books my grandsons no longer read.
That velour can be kind of a bear to work with (the curling makes me crazy) but it does make spectacularly squishy softies. 🙂
I wanted to show you the two softies that I made for my niece and nephew in San Diego. We Facetimed with them on Christmas, and my sister-in-law said my niece loved Nellie – I also included a spiderweb and Aranea as well.
Normajean shared these incredibly cute photos of her new puppy chasing her kitty up in a tree.
She writes. . .
I bought your Buster pattern last week. You said he’s a drooly dog, but you didn’t warn us that he’s so scrappy and spunky! The phat cat is still up in the tree! That’s one spunky puppy. I didn’t have any pellets and live over an hour away from any fabric/craft store, so I put a ball of fiberfill only in the ends of his ears. I used a lighter shade of yellow for the inside of his ears and front paws. Gotta go with what you have on hand!
Can you believe I still have photos to share? Next week I’ll be sharing some of the places you all donate your creations, then I’ll be back with more Show & Tell. I think the next one may be all Dress Up Bunch dolls and clothes!
I designed the free Warren pattern especially for people who want to make bears for donations. I had a few goals in mind as I worked on his design. . .
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. . .
battered women’s shelters
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.
Cut Out the Body
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. 🙂
You can also give him a belly patch, a heart patch, or no patch.
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. 🙂
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.
Finish Your Bear
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.
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These stuffed toy snakes are one of my most popular free patterns! They’re lots of fun for all ages to make.
Years ago I made a book weight – a simple tube of fabric filled with heavy metal pellets.
It was designed to hold a book open, but my daughter immediately saw it as a toy.
She played with it all the time so I finally made a toy snake just for her – bright and colorful, with button eyes and a forked tongue, and filled with plastic pellets instead of expensive metal shot.
She still has that original snake. And she still plays with him all the time. Her response when I asked her about him was, “Well, you never know when you’re going to need a snake.”
Jo helped me make some modifications to the original design. The seams are on the inside now “to make him more smooth and snakelike.” The tongue is made of ribbon so it’s less likely to tear away. I asked her about rounding the head and tail to make him (somewhat) more realistic and got a resounding thumbs down. Okay then. Square-headed toy snake it is.
And so I bring you the new and improved – and FREE – Snake Charmers. These toy snakes are quick and easy to stitch up, small enough to fit in a pocket, and have a pleasing drapability (if you don’t fill them too full). They’re a good size to interact with action figures and all kinds of dolls. They’re surprisingly versatile little guys who make their way into all kinds of situations. I hope you enjoy them!
Do make more than one. When I told Jo she could have all the samples I made her response was, “Cool! Now I can have an invading horde attack my American Girl dolls.”
Cool indeed. 🙂
The links in the pattern all go to video tutorials that show that skill in more detail.
Toy Snake Pattern
Materials needed for each snake. . .
scraps of fabric - I use different prints for the top and the belly
two small buttons (1/4 - 3/8 inch)
scrap of red ribbon (1/4 or 3/8 inch wide)
plastic pellets for stuffing (I like Fairfield brand Poly Pellets)
Have fun making these easy stuffed toy snakes! And happy sewing!
Edit – Over on Flickr, Curlysue7795 commented on the fabrics I chose, and that reminded me that I meant to mention that in the post. For these snakes I chose fabrics that had wiggly stripes on them, and I centered the stripe so it ran down the backs of the snakes. You certainly don’t have to do this, but I think it’s a nice effect.