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Sunday
Feb172013

Molly's Sketchbook: Soft Woolen Bunny

There is something almost miraculous about sewing a stuffed animal. You start with a bunch of odd shapes that don’t seem to have much to do with one another. Then as you sew them together, they gradually begin to take form, and suddenly, as you turn it right side out and begin stuffing, it comes to life! Those mismatched pieces are somehow transformed into a cuddly friend!

In my opinion, there is no stuffed animal more inviting than a bunny. And with Easter fast approaching, now is the perfect time to create one. This little guy is made from cozy 100% felted wool, making him oh, so huggable. Plus, he would look right at home in an Easter basket!

This Soft Woolen Bunny is a totally approachable project, even for your first stuffed animal. The wool is lovely to sew and its forgiving nature hides all those little mistakes. I hope you enjoy watching your bunny come to life as much as I did! 

The Materials

To make one 16-inch tall bunny:

Cutting

Cut out the pieces as directed on the template. You will have:

From the undyed felted wool: 

  • 2 ear pieces
  • 4 arm pieces
  • 4 leg pieces
  • 1 tail piece
  • 1 head top piece
  • 2 head side pieces
  • 4 body pieces

From the pink felted wool:

  • 2 ear pieces

Mark all the pieces with the marks indicated on the template.

Note: All seam allowances are 3/8-inch unless otherwise noted. Also, make sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of each seam.

Sewing the Arms, Legs, and Ears.

Pin the pink ear pieces to the undyed ear pieces and sew them together with a 3/8 leaving the bottom straight sides unsewn.

Pin the leg pieces together in two pairs and sew them together leaving the short straight sides unsewn.

Pin the arm pieces together in two pairs and sew them together leaving the short straight sides unsewn.

Cut notches in the curves of all of the sewn pieces and turn them right sides out.

Press the sewn ears, legs, and arms flat and rights sides out. Put the arm and leg pieces aside.

The Head

To sew the head you will need:

  • the 2 sewn ear pieces
  • the two head side pieces
  • the head top piece

Sew the two head side pieces together along their diagonal straight edge just until the nose mark. 

Open the head side pieces, right sides facing up.

Pin the right-hand curved side side of the head top piece all along the curved side of the right-hand head side pieces, starting at the nose. The ear marks are indicated by the yellow pins in the picture above.

Pinning along a curve can be tricky so use lots of pins and make sure there are no puckers.

Sew the pinned section together with two separate seams, one from the nose mark to the first ear mark and the next from the second ear mark to the end. The section between the ear marks will remain unsewn.

Pin and sew the opposite sides of the head side piece and head top piece in the same manner. You should have a head shaped piece with an open bottom (the neck) as shown above.

Fold the ear pieces in half at their short raw edge, with the pink section on the inside (as shown above on the right.)

With the head still inside out  slip the ear inside the head and pin the folded section of the ear into one of the open sections between the ear marks, with the pink side of the ear facing towards the nose section of the head piece.

Pin the other ear into the opposite ear marked section in the same manner.

Using a small backstitch hand sew both the ears into place.

Turn the head right sides out through the neck. It should look like the photo above.

The Body

Pin the body pieces together in two pairs across side 1 (the side with the marked gap). Sew the first pair together leaving a gap, as marked. Sew the second pair together across the entire length of side 1 without leaving a gap.

The pieces with a gap are now the back body.

The pieces without the gap are now the front body.

Loosely stuff the arms and legs. Match the seams of each piece together and sew each piece shut with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. The arms and legs will be more 3-dimensional now, as shown above.

Make a pencil mark 1-inch below the top inside corner of each of the arms as shown above.

Pin the front body to the back body matching up to their respective side 2s. The arm and leg marks are indicated in the picture above by the double yellow pins.

Sew the back to the front leaving the areas between the arm and leg markings open.

With the front of the body facing pin the legs and arms inside of the body piece. The photo above shows how the arm will be pinned once it's slipped inside of the arm marking: Line up the mark on the arm to the bottom arm marking to create a (roughly) 45-degree angle and face the arm inward towards the body's center seam.

Slip the arm into the body through the arm hold in this orientation and pin it in place. Do the same for the opposite arm.

Pin the legs inside in the same manner only with no 45-degree angle, just matching the raw edges of the legs with the raw edges of the leg openings. The points of the toes should be facing up, towards the front of the body.

Using a small backstitch hand sew the arms and legs in place.

Trim off the little triangle of excess fabric at the tops of the arms.

Turn the body right sides out though the back gap. If you are unhappy with the angle of the arms or legs you can rip them out and try again. Make sure you're happy with all four extremities before going forward.

Sewing Together and Stuffing

Turn the body inside out again though the back gap, with the arms and legs tucked inside.

With its right side facing out slip the head into the body through the neck opening.

Tuck the ears inside the body as well.

Lining up the front seam of the head to the front middle seam of the body pin the bottom of the head's neck opening to the body's neck opening right sides together.

Using a small backstitch hand sew these edges together. Go around the circuherence twice to make it extra secure.

Turn the piece right sides out through the back gap. 

Make sure the head is sewn on securely and at a straight angle before proceeding.

Stuff the bunny tightly through the back gap. Pay special attention to getting the head stuffed to your liking before you stuff the body.

Hand sew the back gap closed with a slip stitch.

It should really look like a bunny now!

The Tail and The Face

Sew a running stitch around the circumference of the tail piece.

Once you've gone all the way around put a pinch of stuffing in the middle and then pull the thread to cinch up the circle. (It's like sewing a yo-yo if you've ever done that.)

Cinch it tightly and then tie several knots to secure it.

Using a slip stitch sew the tail on just below the bottom of the (recently sewn) back gap. 

Go around its circumference twice in order to secure it well.

The face of your bunny is a very personal thing and will give your bunny its own unique personality so don't worry if it doesn't look just like this one!

Using the brown embroidery thread create the eyes by tying a couple of french knots in the same spot, up and to the right of the nose just below the right front seam of the face. Then pull your thread through to the opposite side of the face and tie a two more french knots in the same manner for the other eye. Thread the loose ends onto your needle one at a time and pull them inside the stuffing thus hiding them.

Using the pink embroidery thread create the nose by taking a series of satin stitches all radiating from the same entry point, 1/4-inch below the tip of the nose at the middle seam. Gradually work from right to left always entering your needle at the same point and exiting just a little to the left of your previoius stitch until a small triangle is formed as shown two photos above. You can go back and forth a couple of times to make sure no wool is showing from underneith.

Thread all the loose ends onto your needle one at a time and pull them inside the stuffing thus hiding them.

Your bunny is all finished! 

Reader Comments (46)

thank u so much!
February 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertukimu
Good morning. Great project. I don't usually use patterns but this is just too cute! Just wanted to let you know I think you mislabeled the ear in your template.
February 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersara-jane
Hi Sara-Jane-

Thank you so much for pointing that out! We will fix the template shortly!

Thanks again!

Molly
February 17, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Really adorable project in the felt and in these colors.
I was with you until your instruction to hide the ends of embroidery floss in the stuffing. How did you retrieve the needle? I think all openings have already been stitched close.

Thanks.
February 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiana
I am so so in love with this precious pattern! I'm printing off my pattern now to start. ;) I have a couple of questions, though - I hope you don't mind!

1. Would this pattern work well with quilting cottons or like a medium weight chambray? I think it's adorable in the felted wool, but was just curious to see if you know how it might look in different type fabrics. :)

2. Do you think enlarging the pdf pattern slightly (say, 110% or 115%) would cause too many problems in the end? I'd love to make the bunny just a liiiittle bigger than 16in, and figured that I could increase it a couple of inches by making this change. What do you think?

Also - I know I've contacted you all about this before, so I hate to be a bother.... BUT I was wondering - would you all consider maybe altering this pattern for a teddy bear? I think it should be easy enough to change the shape of the ears, and his colors, and he'd be a perfect teddy. I might play around with that a bit, but just thought I'd throw that out there. ;)

Thanks again for such an inspiring project! I can't wait to make this for my new niece or nephew (due in September). :)

xo ~ Amanda
February 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
Hi Diana-

You pull the needle though the stuffing and out at a random point, then just snip the thread at the exit point and you'll hide the end.

Thanks for your question!

Molly
February 17, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Such a cute pattern- does the bunny take up the full yard- I was going to make 3. How much do I realistically need. Do you sell different sizes of the fabric in store? Also would the woolitz felt work as a more inexpensive alternative. Thx!
February 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie
So cute! I need to try to make two for my twins. Would one yard of felted wool be enough or would I need to buy two yards? Also, would the oatmeal color felted wool make a nice bunny?
Thanks!
Amy
February 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Hi Amy-

Oatmeal would make a beautiful bunny and you could make 2 from the one yard piece, although you will probably need 2 bags of stuffing.

Thank you for your question!

Molly
February 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Julie-

I think you will need two pieces for three bunnies. You will also need two smaller pieces of the pink for the ears and three bags of stuffing.

The woolfitz felt doesn't have any stretch so I don't think it will work well as an alternative. However, you could use regular quilting weight cotton. I sewed several versions out of muslin to develop the pattern and they were all very cute and cuddly.

Thanks for writing in!

Molly
February 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Amanda-

1. Yes, quilt weight cotton would work great!

2. I think enlarging it a little would be fine.

We will consider doing a bear in the future, thank you for the suggestion!

Good luck with the project and thanks for writing in!

Molly
February 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Again Sara-Jane-

Just wanted to let you and everyone else know that the template has been updated and it shouldn't have any typos now! Thanks so much for letting us know about this issue!

Best-

Molly
February 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you Molly for responding to my questions! :) I'm so excited to start the muslin for this pattern. I think it'd be cute done up in the striped oxford you all sell!! Although, I really want to make one out of the felted wool, too. I have a feeling I'll be making several of these!

I do have one more question for you - about the felted wool. I was researching felted wool benefits online, and saw something about how the fabric may shrink. Do you recommend washing (or dry cleaning) the wool before we use it for this project? I didn't know how that would affect the shape later on, if we were to wash the bunny.

What are your recommendations?

Thanks again for the lovely tutorial!

xo ~ Amanda
February 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
Hi Amanda-

The Oxford would be beautiful! Please share a picture if you end up doing that.

Felted wool can be machine washed (on a gentle cycle in cold) but it can't be machine dried or it gets misshapen. If you would like to be able to machine wash your wool bunny I would recommend stuffing it with polyester which will dry more easily.

Thank you for your questions!

Molly
February 19, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I love this! I think I will make it out of velvet and pair it with a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit to give as an Easter present for my niece.
February 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
Thanks so much for this pattern! I'm in the last weeks of my pregnancy with just enough time to stitch up a bunch of these for my 3 girls and one for the new baby boy. I'm planning on using some Liberty I've been hoarding for the girls and trying out denim for the boy.
February 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKim
Thank you for posting this great pattern. I made it for my friend last weekend. So easy to follow. She absolutely adores him and now sits at her desk and helps her finish her PhD.
February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRachael
Hi! Thank you so much for this pattern! I made one bunny yesterday and it is so cute! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/woodsroadave/8526554979/in/photostream)

I think I'm going to try a grey bunny next. :)
March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShannonL
Hi Shannon L-

Very cute! Thank you for sharing. I love his print ears!

Molly
March 4, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I just loved this rabbit. I never made a stuffed animal before but you made it look so easy so I thought I'd give it a go. I used pink and blue flannels and made a boy and girl bunny for my friend's children. Thank you! They are adorable.
March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiane
Hi --

Rather than cutting the triangles into the legs before turning right-side out, could we use pinking shears around the edge? Also, do you think the stuffing from a cheap Ikea pillow would work for this bunny?

Thanks!
March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
Hi Michelle-

It's probably best to cut the notches at the curves instead of pinking around the edges. Since the notches are cut specifically at the curves it helps the shape of the piece when it's turned right sides out.

You can use any stuffing you like and it will probably work!

Thank you!

Molly
March 11, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I just got my beautiful wool yesterday and have finished tracing and cutting my pieces. Can't wait to see how these bunnies turn out. Has anyone tried stuffing them with something other than fill? I was thinking of trying to make their bodies slightly beanbag-ish and wondered if anyone had tried that with this wool.
Also, i was able to cut all of the pieces for 3 bunnies out of 1 yard. I know there have been questions about that. I was super careful with layout, but ended up getting all 3 without feeling stretched at all.
March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTami
Hi Tami-

Thank you so much for the information about getting 3 bunnies from one yard!

I haven't made any with bean or another filling- hopefully a reader will have some experience to share!

Molly
March 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi, I just love this bunny. I am making two. One for each of my kiddos. Thank you so much for the inspiration!
March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJess
I just finished making this for my sister's birthday present. Thanks so much for a great pattern! I dressed her up with a silk scarf and crocheted flower. Thanks, again!

http://agardenintherain.blogspot.com/2013/04/matsuri.html
April 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlexis
I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to put this all together and the generosity to share it with everyone. I'm super excited to have found this - I'm going to make one for a very deserving mom for Mother's Day. Thank you so much!
April 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily
thank you for your awesome tutorial! here's my attempt to it!

http://instagram.com/p/ZTmvy_rL2O/
May 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterserena
I love love love this bunny. So cute. Would I be able to hand sew this bunny? Wondering what stitiches would work best, if so?

Thanks!!!

Jen
June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Thank you very much for this sweet bunny tutorial. This was my first attempt for a stuffed toy and here is the result. I love this bunny :)

My second try will be the teddy bear.

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3706/9132379373_61c1323f47_z.jpg
June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeyza
Hi Jen-

I'm not sure how well this would work handsewn. It needs to be very securely sewn for the stuffing and the seam allowances need to be precise. But if you'd like to give it a go I'd use a back stitch.

Thanks!

Molly
June 25, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I'm not a very experienced sewer and am trying to create this adorable bunny. I've reached the point where I need to sew the head to the body. I've lined up the front seam of the head to the seam on the front of the body and have pinned along the front half of the head, lining up the side seams as well. But when I get to the back, the head and body don't line up. I have all of this extra fabric on the body (it comes to a sort of "v" in the back) that doesn't line up with the straight edge of the back of the head. Am I doing something wrong? Any advice?
July 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiz
Hi Liz-

I'm so sorry to hear you're having trouble with this step! You should pull the "V" shape so that it lays flat and try to match it up with the back edge of the head. If the body section is still too big you can resew over the top of the side body seams to make the neck opening a little smaller. It might take some trial and error but if you've gotten this far in the pattern I'm confident you can make it work!

Please let me know if you have any more questions!

Molly
July 12, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
This looks so adorable and I really want to make it- but splurging almost $50 on fabric doesn't fit into my budget.

What fabric would be a good alternative for this pattern that would keep the soft cuddliness? Would (polar) fleece work? Flannel maybe? What would you suggest as an alternative?
July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharon
Hi Sharon-

We are really partial to natural fibers around here so we would definitely suggest cotton flannel. You would need 1/2 a yard of the white and 1/4 yard of the pink. It's only $7.20 per yard so it's a totally affordable alternative and it would be so soft and cuddly!

http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/5099-Robert-Kaufman-Flannel-Solid

You could also use a fat quarter of any quilt weight cotton for the inner ears if you want to add a pop of a print or unexpected color.

Thanks for getting in touch and good luck with the project!
Molly
July 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi there. I am a beginner and have got stuck on the body.. How do you sew the back and front together? Do you line up on top of each other and sew all the edges?
August 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFiona Bell
Hi Fiona-

You pin the back to the front around the sides that are marked "side 2" on the pattern template. Then you sew them together but leave un-sewn gaps at the marked arm and leg sections.

I hope this helps. Sometimes it's best just to give it a try. If you sew something wrong you can always rip it out and try again.

Please let me know if you have any more questions!

Molly
August 12, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you so much for this! I used your tutorial to draft my own pattern and my little girls love them! :D

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152078518522254&l=9bd4f3a71b
December 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJenny
I was wondering if there is a reason for the 3/8 in seam allowance. I am having a hard time turning the pieces with all the material there.
January 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjessica
Hi Jessica-

I used a 3/8-inch allowance because a 1/4-inch seemed a little unstable and a 1/2 seemed a little thick. If you're having trouble with the seams being bulky feel free to trim them down before you turn the piece.

Thank you!

Molly
January 2, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you very very much for this lovely project. It is easy, beautiful and lovely. I made ii in a knitted fabric, light blue and the inner ears in white, it looks so beautiful that even my husband wants me to do one for him.
March 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria
I know I am late on this post but I saw it on pinterest and thought it was precious! I have a question about sewing the neck to the body. How exactly do you backstitch this? Did you do it on the sewing machine or by hand? I can seem to fit the neck opening on to the sewing machine because it is such a small opening....maybe I am just doing it wrong. Help would be greatly appreciated!!
March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith
Hi Meredith-

The head is sewn on with a backstitch by hand. I have corrected the pattern to be more clear about that. Thanks for getting in touch and good luck with the project!

Molly
March 26, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi,
I love your bunny - I added it to my Cute & Easy DIY Easter Projects. You can find it here: http://www.sewadorablefabrics.com/10-cute-quick-diy-easter-projects/
Thanks for this cute tutorial.
Hannah
April 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHannah
Hi-I love this little bunny but I was wondering if you had any suggestions for making the ears rigid? I want one to stand straight up and the other to bend over slightly at the middle. I'm guessing I would use some kind of wire but how to I secure the wire in the ear? Thanks for your help.

Donna
April 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDonna
Hi Donna-

I don't have any experience with wire so I don't know what type you could use but you could probably place it inside the ears around the edges and then sew around it, kind of like a channel for a drawstring. I would be worried about the sharp ends of the wire so I'd be careful to wrap the ends or tape them to make sure they aren't sharp.

Alternatively you could try using a very thick interfacing to make the ear more rigid.
http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/4798-Pellon-Peltex-I-Fusible-Stabilizer-71FP

Good luck with it!

Molly
April 17, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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