Search The Purl Bee
Sign up for our newsletter!

Idea Center
Follow The Purl Bee
« Corinne's Thread: Baby Pants | Main | The Best of Summer Crafting! »
Thursday
May302013

Molly's Sketchbook: Wool and Liberty Teddy Bear

In my mind’s eye, the perfect teddy bear is based on my own childhood toy, aptly named “Teddy.” He would sit with his arms outstretched, all round and cuddly in his  midsection. Sadly, he was lost in a move, but his ideal form has stuck in my head.

To tackle my own version of dearly departed Teddy I knew I had to use felted wool because it's soft and rich and sews like a dream. Wool’s natural elasticity smooths the edges of curves and kindly forgives little imperfections. And to make my bear extra special I finished off his ears, nose, paw pads, and tail with some sweet Liberty of London Tana Lawn. Get all this, plus thread, buttons and stuffing, with our Materials for the Wool and Liberty Teddy Bear Kit!

Usually, I am intimidated by 3-D sewing. It seems so complicated and advanced, but I’ve found that if I work slowly and methodically, it is totally doable. If you have sewn a garment or any other intermediate project, I’d say you’re ready for this project! For me, all of the detailed work was easily worth it because this sweet little bear looks and feels just like my old pal, Teddy! --Molly


Materials

To make one bear you'll need A Wool and Liberty Teddy Bear Kit which contains...

You will also need...

Before you start you will need to felt the wool by washing it in hot, rinsing it in cold, drying it for 20 minutes, and then pressing it flat.

The Pattern

Finished Measurements

9.5 inches high

6.5 inches wide including legs

5.5 inches wide without legs 

Pattern Note

All seam allowances in this project are 1/4-inch unless otherwise noted.

Sewing the Head

Cut out the following pieces from the Head Pieces page of the template: 

 From the Felted Wool,

  • 1 Top Head 
  • 2 Back Heads 
  • 2 Side Heads 
  • 2 Ears from

From the Tana Lawn,

  • 1 Nose 
  • 2 Ears

You do not need to transfer the markings from the templates to the cut pieces, but keep the templates nearby so you can reference which edge is which.

Pin and sew the tops of both Side Head pieces to opposite sides of the Top Head piece. Stop sewing 1/4 inch before the nose edge.

With the right sides still facing, pin and sew the mouth edge of the Side Head pieces together, stopping 1/4-inch before the nose. This is the Front Head section now.

With right sides together, sew a Liberty Ear to a Felted Wool Ear, leaving the bottom straight edge unsewn.

Pin and sew the two Back Head pieces together along their back edges.

With right sides facing, align the Nose piece along the nose edges of the Front Head. The unsewn 1/4-inch sections should make it so you can lay the Nose down flat.

Pin the Nose's curved edge to the top of the nose edge. Starting 1/4 inch from the edge, sew the top of the Nose to the Front Head, stopping 1/4 inch from the end.

Pin and sew the next side of the Nose in this manner, starting and stopping 1/4 inch before and after the edges.

Repeat for the final Nose side.

Turn the Front Head right side out and make sure the Nose is neatly sewn into the muzzle.

Trim the seam allowances on the Ears to 1/8 inch and turn them right side out. 

Create a little 1/4-inch pleat through both the Tana Lawn and the Felted Wool at the bottom open edge of the ears and pin it in place. 

Sew the bottom edge closed with a 1/8-inch seam allowance, just to keep the pleat in place.

With right sides together, pin the Back Head pieces to the Front Head, sandwiching the Ears in between the two layers. The inside corner of the Ears should align with the seam of the Top and Side Head piece, and the Tana Lawn sides should face towards the Front Head. 

Sew these pieces together, leaving the neck edge unsewn.

This is now the Head.

Turn the Head right side out and make sure that the ears are sewn on straight  and that you like how everything looks.

Put the Head aside for now.

Sewing the Legs

Cut out the following pieces from the Leg Pieces page of the template: 

From the Felted Wool,

  • 4 Legs. Transfer the "gap" marking onto two of these pieces.

From the Tana Lawn,

  • 2 Foot Pads.

Pin the Leg pieces together in pairs of one marked piece and one unmarked piece.

Starting 1/4 inch from the bottom edge of the Leg, sew the pieces together along the perimeter except for the flat bottom edge and the gap section. Stop sewing 1/4 inch before the bottom. 

Open up the unsewn bottom edge of the Leg. With right sides together, arrange the Foot Pad so that its pointed heel is facing the back of the Leg and the rounded toe is facing the front. Pin one half of the Foot Pad to one half of the bottom edge of the Leg and sew them together. 

Repeat for the second half of the Foot Pad, then go over the seam to make sure there are no gaps and that the curved angle of the toe is smooth.

Turn the Leg right side out.

Repeat for the second Leg.

Stuff the Legs through the gaps, making sure the Legs feel firm and full. Sew each gap closed with a blind stitch.

Put the Legs aside for now.

Sewing the Arms

From the Arm Pieces page of the template cut:

From the Felted Wool,

  • 2 Outside Arms 
  • 2 Inside Arms 

From the Tana Lawn,

  • 2 Paw Pads, that face opposite directions, from the Tana Lawn. To make sure that they face opposite directions cut one with the Tana Lawn's right side facing up and one with its wrong side facing up.

You do not need to transfer the markings from the templates to the cut pieces, but keep the templates nearby so you can reference which edge is which.

With right sides facing, pin the Paw Pads to the Inside Arms along their straight edges, making sure to align the top edges with the top edges and the bottom edges with the bottom edges. 

Sew these pieces together and then press them flat. They should be mirror images of one another.

With right sides together, pin the Arm Insides to the Arm Outsides and sew them together leaving the straight sides unsewn.

Turn the Arms right side out and stuff them so that most of the stuffing is towards the Paw Pads and there is no stuffing poking though the unsewn edges.

Keeping the wrong sides together sew the final edges together with a 1/8-inch seam allowance. 

Put the Arms aside for now.

Sewing the Body

From the Body Pieces page of the template cut:

From the Felted Wool,

  • 4 Body pieces. Transfer the arm and gap markings onto one of these pieces and just the arm markings to another Body piece.

From the Tana Lawn,

  • Two Tail pieces that face opposite directions. 

With right sides facing, sew the Tail pieces together along their curved edges, leaving the straight side unsewn. 

Turn the Tail right side out and stuff it lightly. With wrong sides facing sew it closed along the unsewn straight edge with a 1/8-inch seam allowance.

Pin the Body piece with the gap and arm markings to the  Body piece with just the arm makings along their back sides, marked sides facing out. Sandwich the Tail between the layers just below the bottom gap marking.

Sew these two Body pieces together, leaving the gap unsewn and sewing in the Tail in the process. This is the Back Body

Pin and sew the other two Body pieces together along the tummy side.

This is the Front Body.

With right sides facing, pin the Front Body to the Back Body along their side and bottom edges, leaving only the neck section unpinned.

Unpin the area between the marked arm sections. Put the Arms inside the Body, aligning the Arms’ raw edges with the Body’s and making sure the Paw Pads face towards the Front Body. The arms should slope downwards towards bottom of the Body.

Pin the Arms into place. Starting 1/4 inch from the neck opening, sew all around the Body, stopping 1/4 inch before the opposite neck opening.

Turn the Body right side out through the back gap.

Attaching the Head

With the Body inside out and Front side up and the Head right side out, face up and upside down, slip the Head into the neck opening of the Body.

Carefully matching up the edges, pin the neck edge of the Head to the neck edge of the Body.

Using a backstitch, hand sew the Head to the Body around the circumference of the neck. Go around twice to make it super secure.

Turn the piece right side out through the gap at the back of the body.

Stuff the Body and Head very firmly and sew the gap closed with a blind stitch.

Attaching the Legs

Pin the Legs to the bottom left and right sides of the stuffed Body. Make sure that the bear can sit on its own.

Using a blind stitch, hand sew the Legs into place where they make contact with the body. Go around this area twice to make sure the Legs are on very securely.

Sewing on the Eyes

Sew a button into place along the top seam of the front of the head. Here’s how:

Leaving a long tail at the beginning, stitch the button just as if you were sewing it onto a garment. Once you've sewn through a few times, tie the two thread ends into a knot behind the button. Then hide both ends inside the stuffing of the bear.

Repeat for the second button and you're all done! 


Reader Comments (37)

absolutely precious. Molly's design is amazing.
May 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne
Adorable and such a wonderful tutorial! Thanks!
May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRuthB
I love the teddy bear! I will make it in wool and pink fabric, and stuf it with wool. Like I did with a doll I made a week ago.
May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterÅsa
This is adorable. Do you have any suggestions for a substitute for the felted wool? Many of the children I know have sensitive skin.
May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDixie
This is an excellent tutorial! I may actually try this sewing project for my niece :)

I also completed your chevron baby blanket about two weeks ago for her, as well.

Awesome website!
May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCasi
very good craftsmanship and congratulate you for the very detailed explanation, is just what I needed and I wanted to make myself a bear for my kids.
Such a gorgeous teddy bear!! I have been looking for a pattern like this for so long, and I am in *love* with this design - how clever to include bits and pieces of Liberty lawn fabric. :) So classic and chic!! I'm tempted to get the teddy bear kit, but think I might go ahead and order the larger pieces of felt wool and Liberty lawn, because I know I'll be making more than one of these in the near future!!!

If I were to order the supplies separately - do you mind telling me what size buttons you used for the eyes? I'd like to order my supplies all at once, and love the color you chose for the eyes!! Thanks for your help!!!

I can't wait to get started on this project - just in time for my new niece to arrive at the end of the summer!! Thank you all - again - for another beautiful pattern. :)
May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
This is so sweet! The Liberty tana lawn used for the nose, paws, ears, makes it extraordinarily charming! I will definitely make one for my own to keep^^ Thanks for sharing!
He's so cute. How about jointed legs for this little Teddy? I'll be making him this weekend with some grey felt I have in my stash. Thank you for sharing your pattern.
May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna
He's beautiful! I especially love the fabric for his little paws.
May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandrea
Hi Molly, thanks again for another wonderful project!!! This Teddy is gorgeous and so sweet it's asking to be hugged! Sorry to hear about the original Teddy, though. Looking forward to your next project!
June 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSilvia
Adorable. I can wait to try to make this.
June 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLilla Coelho
Hi Dixie-

You could use any lightweight woven fabric you like to make this! You could even make it all out of Liberty!

Thanks for your question!
Molly
June 2, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Anna-

Jointed legs would be great! Just keep in mind you need to use very strong thread for joints on a stuffed animal.

Thank you!

Molly
June 2, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Amanda-

The buttons are size 15.

Thank you!

Molly
June 2, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I love this bear! Btw...could you make a bunny pattern? I can just see the floppy ears with the Liberty lining. Once again, well done.
Anne
June 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne
Hi Anne-

We already have a floppy eared bunny actually! He doesn't have Liberty Ears in the example but you could easily use it instead of the pink wool.

http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2013/2/17/mollys-sketchbook-soft-woolen-bunny.html

Thanks for writing in!

Molly
June 3, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thanks for this gorgeous project.
This will be a loved addition for my collection.
June 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKay L
This is the year of bears and bunnies.....both of your patterns bring back such lovely memories that I will make them and pass them on...I love the felted wool you use..
julie
June 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Tremain
Beautiful Bear, Molly.
Your tutorial is exceptional too.
Thanks for creating this.
It will make a perfect baby shower gift for my soon to be born nephew.
June 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRamona
That is one adorable bear. I just read through the pattern and didn't see when to stuff the head. Did I miss that? I can't imagine that you stuff it before inserting it into the body. Great idea to use those pops of print for the accents.
June 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara
Hi Barbara-

You stuff the body and the head at the same time, after you've sewn on the head. I have changed that section of the pattern to make it a little more clear.

Thanks for writing in and please let us know if you have any more questions!

Molly
June 3, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
This bear is such a BEAUTY, Thanks for the wonderful pattern and the inspirational tutorial. I see making a lot of Teddy's in my future.
June 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJosie
Ok Purlbee geniuses LOVE the bunny tutorial and LOVE the teddy tutorial, and would LOVE to see an elephant ?:) maybe someday?

Thank you again for all your work creating these beautiful timeless creations:)

Colleen
June 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterColleen
really love it! i need to do my own
June 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatrycja
Superbe ours, merci beaucoup pour ce tuto très bien fait.
June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmie'lie
Hi,

The teddy is beautiful, and I'm having a blast making it, even though my handsewing skills are far from being good. Thanks a lot!
I'm making this as a gift for a newborn, and I wonder whether buttons are appropriate for babies. Do you know a technique to embroider the eyes maybe?
July 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne
Hi Anne-

I totally understand your concern. If you want to be extra super safe, to use polyester or silk thread to sew on the eyes. Those threads are very strong and if you sew the eyes on securely I can't see it being a problem.

Or, if you'd rather, you can certainly embroider them. I embroidered the eyes of my Soft Woolen Bunny recently. You can see that project here: http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2013/2/17/mollys-sketchbook-soft-woolen-bunny.html

Good luck with the project!

Molly
July 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
So, so sweet. Looks like he is just waiting to be hugged (or she is waiting to be hugged). Your work is fabulous and your tutorial is so well done and easy to follow. Thanks for your time in putting this all together. Can wait to see more of your designs.
August 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie
Hello,

Thank you for this little guy! I just finished stitching one up for my nephew who is due late next month.

I have a question about the template. When I put the top of head sides and side head sides together, the pieces at the bottom read "nose" on the top of head and "neck" on the side head. What ended up happening is that my nose is formed from one part nose, two parts neck.

I forged forward because I couldn't figure out another way to sew it up without leaving it this way. The result is that the neck is that the head proportions don't look like the ones in your picture.

What did I doing wrong?

Thanks,
Lauren
September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
Hi Lauren-

Would you mind sending me a photo of the head/ neck area so I can see what happened? My email is Molly AT purlsoho DOT com

Thank you!

Molly
September 6, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
HI,

I would like to make these for my children, each with a unique Liberty print, but the same body wool felt. Would you tell me how much wool to purchase to make 3, and also if you could, recommend a few Liberty prints that come in 3 or more colorways?

Thanks so much, I am looking forward to putting these under our Christmas tree this year!

Kalle
October 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKalle
Hi Kalle-

What a lovely idea! I would get 1 yard of the wool. Here are some Liberty ideas. (I would get 1/4 yard of each of the Libertys):

In the seasonal prints I think "Ninataylor" or "Annabel" would be great: http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/7486-Liberty-of-London-Tana-Lawn-Seasonal

Or in the classic prints, the "Edenham" (which is what I used for the pictured bear) also comes in a few great color ways as does "Mirabelle", "Pepper", and "Betsy": http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/1695-Liberty-of-London-Tana-Lawn-Classics

If you have a chance we'd love to see a picture of the finished bears! Maybe you could post them on our Facebook page when you're done? https://www.facebook.com/pages/Purlsohocom/58035888021

Thank you!

Molly
October 24, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi there! Love your tutorials! Made the wool felt bunny for my baby girl when she was born and she's loved it ever since. Having another baby on the way and am totally thinking of trying my hand at this teddy.. will you be doing a puppy dog tutorial by any chance? :)
February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMoira
Hi Moira-

No plans for a puppy at the moment but we'll keep that in mind for the future!

Thanks!

Molly
February 10, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you for sharing this pattern and tutorial! I have made one of these bears now for each of my kids and they are such a special keepsake. Thanks again!
April 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHilary
Just finished making this little guy for our baby girl that's due in just over a week. Pattern was great, and the bear turned out wonderful! Thank you so so much!!
July 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.