This 5-inch cuddly panda was created using a straight, medium-density alpaca approximately ¼ inch in length.
Alpaca, a premiere teddy bear fabric, is wonderful to sew on and makes a teddy that allows you to sculpt an innocent and charming face. Many patterns designate beginner, intermediate or expert bear-making skills. I’d like to think that if you enjoy hand sewing and can do a running backstitch, you can create a treasured friend.
Some hints: Tiny bears require tiny stitches, running your thread through wax strengthens it, and Aleene’s Stop Fraying has made bear making much easier over the years. I trace the pattern on the back of the fabric and then go over the lines lightly with Aleene’s Stop Fraying, allowing that to dry before I cut out the pattern pieces. Aleene’s seals the edges and prevents fraying with no bleeding onto the right side of the fabric.
Be free to think outside the box and try this little guy using short mohair. Each fabric, each bear, each time we stitch a bear, we create a little love.
• Pattern (click on link)
• 9 inches by 8 inches brown alpaca (approximately ¼-inch length)
• 9 inches by 6 inches white alpaca (approximately ¼-inch length)
• Ten washers
• Five ½-inch cotter pins
• Carpet thread or waxed regular thread
• Poly-fil or pellets
• 3 mm or 4 mm round black beads for eyes
• Aleene’s Stop Fraying
• 2 inches by 2 inches felt for footpads (optional)
• Trace around each pattern piece (trace one piece, flip it over and trace again to get the right and left side).
• All seams are hand sewn with matching carpet thread or waxed regular thread.
• Treat the edges of the cut pieces with Aleene’s Stop Fraying. Allow to dry.
• Use a running back stitch.
• The white alpaca can be used for contrasting footpads, or use matching suede or felt.
• Cut the pattern pieces carefully with the tip of a sharp small scissor, cutting the backing only.
• Be sure to lightly mark the joint placement on all pieces. A silver gel pen works well on light fabrics.
• Remember: Tiny bears need tiny stitches.
Preparing the Parts
Light-colored body: Pin the two body pieces together and then sew all the way around, skipping a stitch at the neck (for the cotter pin to slip into for the head joint). Leave open where marked on the pattern to turn and stuff.
Dark-colored arms and legs: Match the arm pieces. Pin and sew, leaving open where noted on the pattern. Match the leg pieces. Pin and sew, leaving the back open to turn and the bottom open so the footpads can be attached. Pin on the footpads at the toe and heel. Stitch around.
Light-colored head: Match the two side head pieces. Stitch from the neck to the nose (point A to point B). Match the head gusset. Begin sewing from the center of the nose to the back of the neck (point B to point C). Repeat for the second side. Leave the bottom (neck area) open to turn and stuff.
Dark-colored ears: Fold the ears in half. Stitch around the curve. With the tip of a sharp small scissors, slit the sewn ear on the fold. Treat the cut edge with Aleene’s Stop Fraying. Allow this to dry and then carefully turn to the right side with a hemostat.
Turning the pieces: Using a tweezers or hemostat, make a well at the end of the limb/body and gently push the end out through the opening. Try to work the fabric down as you push up and out. Do this slowly and gently.
Jointing: Attach the head first. Stuff the head somewhat firmly, especially the nose area. When the shape looks good, insert the joint.
For the head joint, use one cotter pin and one washer sewn securely inside the stuffed head, with the long, straight edge of the cotter pin protruding from the head. The second washer goes inside the body at the neck area. For the body joints, use one cotter pin with one washer on the inside of each limb and a second washer on the inside of the body. Note: Do not stuff the arms and legs before jointing.
Run a gathering stitch around the neck opening and sew the joint securely into the head. The straight end of the cotter pin will be sticking out of the head; one washer will be sewn inside. Now insert the end of the cotter pin into the tiny space left open at the neck of the body. On the inside of the body, working through the opening in the back, place a washer on the cotter pin. With a small needle-nose pliers, grasp one side of the cotter pin and curl it under in a circular motion, letting the cotter pin rest on the washer. Do the same with the second side of the cotter pin. The same technique will be used to joint the arms and legs.
For jointing the arms and legs, place a cotter pin through the washer hole. Poke the cotter pin through the mark on the limb and then into the body at the joint placement mark. Place a second washer on the inside of the body and bend the cotter pin under in a circular motion, making sure the cotter pin rests on the washer once it is turned.
When the arms and legs have been attached, they will need to be stuffed with pellets or Poly-fil. If pellets are used, put a small amount of stuffing near the opening to prevent everything from spilling out. This cuddly panda is stuffed very loosely (the lack of stuffing is what makes him so cuddly). Tip: If you want the panda to stand by himself, the feet and legs will need to be stuffed a bit more.
Ears: Pin the ears to the head, moving them around until they are straight and look good. Sew them on using a ladder stitch—one horizontal stitch into the ear and one horizontal stitch directly below that into the bear’s head. When the stitch is pulled tightly, it will disappear. Continue sewing through the front thickness of the ear first and then through the back thickness of the ear. Sew over to the second ear and repeat.
Nose: Using carpet thread or waxed regular thread, take a few vertical stitches—very close together—at the tip of the nose. You can take the first stitch in the middle of the nose and then fan out with the stitches, first doing one side and then going back to do the second side. The mouth is either an inverted V or Y. For a waxed nose, lightly rub beeswax over the entire nose and then take a clean piece of plain white paper and rub in the wax. This will blend the threads together and give the panda a nice waxed nose.
Dark-colored eye patches: This is optional, but if you choose to put eye patches on, remember to lightly treat the cut edges of the patches with Aleene’s Stop Fraying. When the treated edges are dry, you can pin the patches onto the face, starting near the gusset seams and going down toward the neck. With matching thread, hide the knot on the underside of one of the patches, come up through that first patch, take a tiny stitch and then bring the needle through the head, coming up into the second patch to take the next tiny stitch. Repeat, sewing back and forth from one patch to the other until the patches are secure. Remember to take tiny stitches and pull them tightly. This will blend the little patches right into the alpaca of the face.
Eyes: Experiment with eye placement using pins with colored heads so you will be able to tell what the bear will look like. Begin with a doubled, knotted thread at the back of the neck. Sew up to where you want the eye to be, thread the bead on and then sew to the back of the neck. Repeat for the second eye. You can take a few extra stitches right next to the eye to gently pull the eyes into the face.
To personalize your panda, find a cute little charm to tie around his neck.
Pam Holton, 314 S. 9th Ave., Wausau, WI 54401. This panda was designed exclusively for Teddy Bear Review. This pattern is a gift to you for your personal enjoyment. Please respect the artist and her generosity and do not reproduce the bear for sale. (You may use the bear for gifts and charitable donations.)