Crafts for Making Your Own Teddy Bears & Stuffed Animals

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Crafts for Making Your Own Teddy Bears & Stuffed Animals
Stuffed teddy bears make cosy crafts. (two teddy bears on white background image by ta_samaya from Fotolia.com)

With basic sewing skills and simple patterns, you can make cosy stuffed animals and teddy bears at home. This craft for children and adults can tickle your imagination and make use of old fabric and notions. Modify simple patterns to make different sizes or species of cuddly friends. You can use a variety of fabrics, but felt cloth is strong enough to withstand even a child's "tough love."

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Sock Monkey

This classic monkey made out of a pair of socks is an enjoyable project for a vintage design aficionado. With just a long pair of colourful socks, a few cuts and stitches bring a gangly monkey to life. Cut an inside-out sock lengthwise from the ankle hole to the heel. Stitch up those two halves for the legs. Stuff the sock's foot for the monkey's body, fill the legs with stuffing or fabric scraps, and stitch up your little simian friend. Use the second sock for the tail, arms, head and ears. Cut a 1" section from the whole length of the second sock, stitch it along the side and bottom and stuff it so you have a long snake, otherwise known as your monkey's tail. Cut the rest of the sock into three pieces: heel, foot and ankle. Cut the ankle section into two and make two long skinny arms. Transform the heel into the monkey's face with added buttons for the eyes. The remaining foot section serves as his ears.

This classic toy can be made with any kind of socks as long as they have a contrasting-coloured heel and a nice long ankle section.

Felt Teddy Bear

Felt fabric is fun and simple to work with. To get started making your teddy bear, trace the shape of your bear (or, if you prefer, another animal) onto cardboard or stiff paper. Lay two layers of your felt out flat and pin the paper to the fabric. Carefully cut out the pattern, leaving about an inch of fabric around the edge. Using either a machine or hand stitching, sew the two pieces together, leaving an opening for the stuffing along a straight side. Stuff your bear with fabric scraps or craft stuffing, stitch him up and decorate the face with buttons, more felt or other fabric decorations like lace or rickrack.

Lovebird

Create an adorable chicken with a very simple pattern. Select one or two pieces of fabric at least a foot square and sew them into an egg shape, leaving a hole open for stuffing. Turn it so the stitches are on the inside, and stuff. Use felt to create feet, hair and a beak if you like, or even a little pocket or decal for the tummy. The pattern suggested at MollyChicken.com is just a starting point. You can take the Lovebird pattern in many directions, creating an owl, turtle or whatever your imagination concocts.

Washcloth Puppets

Washcloth puppets help remind your children that cleanliness can be fun. Older children will love to make something they can use at home, and younger kids and toddlers will have fun in the tub with these goofy animal puppet washcloths. Trace animal shapes on several washcloths. Trace the shape of the animal you want to make and pin it to a two-layer stack of washcloths. Cut around the pattern and stitch around three sides, leaving the lower edge open for your hand. The ears, arms, tail and other animal features can be added with a third washcloth, or by stitching other, contrasting fabric pieces on. Find patterns you can print out and use at the Sewing.org website, or you can plan and trace your own animals.

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