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How to Make a Teddy Bear Out of an Old Sweater

Updated April 17, 2017

Teddy bears are the ultimate American symbol of comfort. Studies have even been written about how they were adopted as symbols of healing after some of America's biggest tragedies like the 911 bombings of the Oklahoma City Federal Building and World Trade Center. You don't have to spend a lot of money to give a teddy bear as a gift when you can give one that you made yourself. Handmade gifts are often the ones with the most value and meaning--it doesn't have to be fancy to be loved.

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  1. Find an old sweater you can imagine being a teddy bear. It doesn't have to be any particular colour, but it should be a fairly tight weave so it won't unravel. It should be big enough for a 12-inch by 9-inch bear. A pullover sweater will work the best.

  2. Draw an outline of a simple bear figure (don't forget to include the ears!) onto the sketch pad. To accomplish this fold a 14-inch by 10-inch piece of paper in half. From the fold you will draw half of a bear shape--this means one ear, one leg and one arm. This ensures a perfectly symmetrical bear. Cut out the bear pattern.

  3. Outline the bear from the pattern onto one side of the sweater with the marker and cut it out. Outline and cut one more from the other side of the sweater.

  4. Pin together the two sides and stitch around the outside edge. Leave an opening approximately 3 inches wide between the legs. Turn the bear right side out from the hole.

  5. Open the bag of stuffing and stuff the bear. There should be enough stuffing so the bear is fairly firm.

  6. Stitch the bear closed with a wrap stitch. Sew the buttons on for the eyes and nose and finish by tying the ribbon around the bear's neck.

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Things You'll Need

  • An old sweater
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle and thread to match sweater colour
  • Buttons (for eyes and nose)
  • Ribbon
  • Polyester or Cotton pillow stuffing
  • Large sketch pad
  • Sharpie or other kind of marker

About the Author

Dina Gilio-Whitaker began writing professionally as a freelance journalist in 2001 when she focused on community activism. She has a bachelor's degree in Native American studies with a political science minor and is currently a graduate student in American studies at the University of New Mexico. Gilio-Whitaker has won numerous awards for her academic writing and is an accomplished Native American artist, crafter and dancer.

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