Step by Step, Sew an Embroidered Polar Bear
Note that RS is the right side and WS is the wrong side.
YOU WILL NEED
- White plush fabric: 50x75cm (20x30 in)
- Back plush fabric: 6x6cm (2.3/8 in x2. 3/8 in)
- Pair of plastic safety eyes: black, 12mm (½in) diameter
- Stranded cotton: black and metallic silver
- Scraps of iron-on interfacing
- Polyester toy filling
- Basic sewing kit
- Polar Bear Pattern
- Snowflake Wonderland: Embroidery Design Pack
Approx. 22cm (8. ½ in) high
- Maintain a neat 5mm seam allowance for that professional touch.
- When your pattern calls for cutting out two or more pieces from a template, here's the secret: Mark half of the required pieces first, and then flip the template to mark the remaining half. This way, you'll ensure that you're cutting out mirror-image pieces for a flawless finish.
Shannon Fabrics, smooth cuddle (shannonfabrics.com)
Step One: Template Magic. Begin your sewing adventure by tracing and delicately cutting out all the pattern pieces. This pattern comes with the essential seam allowances already included, so there's no need to use them., and it even offer helpful arrows to guide you in the right direction for marking and cutting. Pay close attention to the notches, as they're your secret helpers for aligning pieces during stitching. Use a water erasable pen or a trusty pencil to transfer the pattern onto the wrong side (WS) of your chosen fabric.
Step Two: Let's Get Cutting Now, it's time to transform this pattern into plush magic! From your white plush fabric, skillfully cut the following pieces:
- Front ear: two
- Back ear: two
- Middle face: one
- Side face: two
- Back head: two
- Tummy: two
- Side body: two
- Under arm: two
- Top arm: two
- Inner leg: two
- Foot: two
- Tail: one
And from your black plush fabric, cut out the pièce de résistance:
STITCHING THE SNOWFLAKES
Step One: Let It Snow
When it comes to adding that charming snowflake touch to your polar bear, the choice is yours. You can embroider as many or as few of these delicate snowflakes as your heart desires. In our example, we've adorned our bear with three of these frosty wonders.
Step Two: Snowflake Embroidery Magic
To ensure your snowflakes shimmer with perfection, it's best to take a small piece of iron-on interfacing and press it gently onto the wrong side (WS) of the plush fabric piece where you plan to work your embroidery. This little trick provides essential support and prevents any unsightly puckering of the fabric beneath your exquisite stitching. When sewing on fabrics with a fluffy texture, such as terry cloth or fleece, it's essential to ensure that the embroidery design remains on the surface, without sinking into the fabric loops.
When securing your fabric in the hoop, you need to start by using a stabilizer on the bottom. The type of stabilizer, whether fusible, tear-away or cut-away, is a personal choice that has no significant impact on the result. So first place the interfacing of your choice in the hoop, then place your plush fabric on top. Here's the key step: use water-soluble stabilizer on the top side. Water-soluble or washable interfacing is thinner and more delicate. You'll need to superimpose it over your designated embroidery area and secure it in the hoop. This extra water-soluble stabilizer ensures that your embroidery design doesn't tangle in the fabric loops, and that the embroidery machine completes the design smoothly. This process ensures impeccable embroidery on fleece and terrycloth, making it an enjoyable and successful activity. Now, it's time to weave your snowy magic using metallic thread for that extra touch of elegance.❶
At this stage, if you wish, add the child's name in embroidery on the plush's belly.
MAKING THE EARS
Step One: Ear-to-Ear Connection
Begin your creative journey by taking one front ear, its right side (RS) touching that of one back ear. Stitch along the sides, but leave the straight edge open, like a little secret waiting to be unveiled.
Step Two: The Ears Come to Life
Turn the ear inside out to reveal its true beauty. Now, find the center of the front ear and create a graceful fold that perfectly mirrors the shape and width of the back.
Step Three: A Secure Elegance
Secure that elegant fold you've just created. Gently tack it into place across the bottom of the ear, ensuring that every detail is in harmony.
Step Four: A Tale of Two Ears
Now, it's time to give life to the other ear. Repeat the process, but this time, make the front ear fold in the opposite direction.❷
MAKING THE FACE
Step One: Darting the Middle Face
Bring the right sides together, and gracefully close the dart at the top of the middle face. As you reach the end, taper it for a clean and polished finish, like a well-tailored suit.
Step Two: A Nose for Detail
Sew the top of the nose onto the bottom of the middle face. It's where your bear's character truly takes shape. ❸
Step Three: The Side Face Connection
With the right sides together, begin by closing the dart in one side face piece. Then, sew it seamlessly to the corresponding side of the middle face.
Step Four: A Mirror Image
Now, repeat this artistry for the other side face piece, ensuring that both sides mirror each other perfectly. ❹
Step Five: Ears That Speak Volumes
Take the front of the ears, aligning them with the right side of the face, and let the elegant fold of the ear face outward. Tack the ears in place between the seam and marker on each side, as if they're whispering stories to your bear's heart.
Step Six: Eye of Precision
Create the smallest possible opening through which the eye shank can pass, exactly where marked on the side face pieces. If you're using delicate fabrics like cotton, add a small square of fabric on the reverse side of the face over the shank before attaching the washer. This additional support ensures that the eye stays in place, never losing its gaze.
Step Seven: Eyes That Speak
Fit the eyes into place with the finesse that only the manufacturer's instructions can provide.❺
FINISHING THE HEAD
Step One: Uniting the Back
Bring the back head pieces together, their right sides (RS) facing each other, and begin your sewing journey by stitching from the top down along the back of the head for approximately 4 cm (1.inches).
Step Two: A Graceful Union
With the right sides together, align the dart at the top of the middle face with the central seam in the back head. Starting from this pinnacle point, sew the face and back head together along one side. Then, return to the top point and gracefully sew the remaining side together. By dividing the sewing into two parts, you not only make the process easier but also ensure a beautifully even finish. ❼
MAKING THE TAIL
Step One: Tailored Perfection
Begin by bringing the right sides (RS) together and elegantly folding the tail piece in half. Carefully sew it together, but be sure to leave the end open for the moment.
Step Two: Tail with FlairTurn the tail right side out, revealing its true character. Give it a light stuffing, just enough to infuse it with a touch of body and personality.
Step Three: A Stitch to Seal the Deal
Seal the deal by tacking the end closed, ensuring that your tail is both stylish and secure, ready to charm and captivate.❽
MAKING THE BODY
Step One: Curves Unite
Select the tummy and inner leg pieces that perfectly match, bringing their right sides together. Seam them together along the curvaceous path, as if you're uniting two puzzle pieces that fit flawlessly.❾
Step Two: A Symmetrical Dance
Repeat this graceful dance on the other side, connecting the remaining tummy and inner leg pieces.
Step Three: Building the Body
With right sides together, stitch a side body piece to the corresponding tummy and leg section, starting from the underarm area and trailing down the side of the body. Continue to sew across the top of the leg, crafting a harmonious connection between these pieces that will bring your creation to life.
Step Four: A Tale of Two Sides
Now, mirror this process on the other side, connecting the remaining two side body pieces with their corresponding tummy and leg sections. Your bear's body is now taking shape, and it's a masterpiece in the making.❿
ATTACHING THE ARMS
Step One: Matching Pieces
Begin your creative journey by selecting an underarm piece and its corresponding side of the body section.
Step Two: The Dance of Seams
With right sides together, let the fabric waltz as you sew from the internal V at the top of the underarm down to the V-shaped opening created between the side body and tummy.
Step Three: The Mirror Waltz
Now, mirror this seamless dance on the other side of the body, creating a beautifully symmetrical composition.⓫
Step Four: Dart and Arm Unite
With right sides together, begin by closing the dart in a top arm piece, and then continue by sewing the top arm to its corresponding underarm.
Step Five: The Synchronized Waltz
Repeat this synchronized waltz on the other side, ensuring that both arms mirror each other flawlessly.⓬
ATTACHING THE FEET
Step One: Crafting Little Feet
Bring the right sides together, and begin your sewing adventure by gracefully stitching a foot piece around the end of one leg. ⓬
Step Two: A Ballet of Symmetry
Repeat this delicate ballet on the other side, sewing the other foot piece to the end of the other leg. Your bear is now ready to dance its way into your heart.
JOINING THE HEAD
Step One: Sealing the Face
With the right sides together, embark on your journey by elegantly sewing the front of the face closed, starting from the bottom of the nose and continuing down to the neck edge.
Step Two: A Connection of Hearts
Now, it's time to bring the head and body together, like two long-lost friends reuniting along the neck edge. Pay close attention to the markers, ensuring they align perfectly. Your bear is about to become whole, and it's a moment of heartwarming connection.⓮
FINISHING THE BODY
Step One: Tail's Secure Journey
Secure the tail, like a secret treasure, to the right side (RS) of one of the side body pieces. It's a beginning that promises a delightful end.
Step Two: Head-to-Body Unity
With right sides together, let the back head come together as one, stitching it fully until just a little beyond the neck seam. This step symbolizes the unity of your bear, where head and body meet.
Step Three: Leaving Room for Magic
Sew the bottom back of the body closed, but leave an opening of 8-10 cm (3-4 inches) in the back of the bear body. ⓯
Step Four: Bringing It All Together
With right sides facing each other, sew the bottom of the bear together, stitching from the bottom of one foot, gracefully crossing over to the bottom of the foot on the other side. ⓰
Step Five: Fluffing Up the Bear
Now, the magical transformation begins. Turn the polar bear right side out, revealing its true character. Fill it firmly with polyester toy filling, as if you're giving it life and fluffing up its spirit.
ADDING THE FEATURES
Step One: Gifting Your Bear a Smile
Let's add a charming smile to your bear's face. Embroider a delicate mouth in backstitch using black stranded cotton, using the photograph above as your guide for the perfect positioning. It's as if you're giving your bear a reason to smile.
Step Two: Shaping the Soul
Now, let's bring life and depth to those beautiful eyes. Begin by stitching some shaping between them. Start by bringing the needle out at the inside of one eye and securing the thread with a few small, gentle stitches. Then, take the needle on a journey across the face to the other eye, back to the first eye, and back again to the second eye. ⓱
Step Three: Adding Character to the Gaze
Now, let's give your bear's face a bit more character. Gently pull on the thread to draw the eyes together slightly, as if your bear is sharing a secret smile with the world. Secure the thread, then gracefully guide the needle back into the head and out again at any point, finally snipping away the excess thread. It's the finishing touch that infuses your bear with charm.
Step Four: Shaping the Expressive Smile
For those who love attention to detail, you can enhance your bear's expression by adding more shaping. Just like before, add subtle shaping between each corner of the mouth and the eye above it in the same delicate way.
Step Five: Bringing It All Together
After all the careful shaping and stitching, it's time to re-adjust any filling that may have been disturbed during the process. Then, neatly sew the back of the body closed using the ladder stitch, sealing your bear's enchanting story within.⓲