Hi everyone! I’m Whitney and I post a new
tutorial every single Wednesday to help sewers of all skill levels learn new projects and
techniques. Today I’ll be showing step-by-step how to sew a memory bear. If you came across
this video at random make sure to hit that subscribe button down below and check out
my entire memory bear playlist linked below in the description box.
The pattern I’ll be using today is Simplicity A2115. If you have Simplicity C5461 or 8155
they are very similar patterns so you should be able to still follow right along. But there
will be a lot of info in this video that will be helpful, no matter what pattern you are
working with. This pattern in particular has 9 pattern pieces
for the bear and a few more for the clothing. Each paper piece will need to be cut out.
I copied my patterns onto a thin plastic for a sturdier pattern. I have more info on that
in a video linked in the information icon in the upper corner of the screen.
Follow the info on each pattern piece to know how many to cut from your fabric. I like to
interface my materials, so I trace the pattern right onto the interfacing. Since you will
probably only be cutting one layer at a time make sure to flip the pattern over so you
will have a right side and a left side. Then cut just inside the marked lines of each piece.
To keep track of everything I make a list of the pieces I need and what fabric I’m cutting
them from and mark each off as I go. After all the pieces are cut it’s time to start
sewing. The first step of the pattern is to sew the
two face sides together along the center front seam. So place the two face sides right sides
together and sew along the side with the double notches or just an extra wide notch out on
mine, with a ¼ inch seam allowance. Every time you sew a curved seam you will
want to make some small snipes in the seam allowance. This helps your curved seams to
lay smoother when your bear is completed. Be careful that you aren’t cutting into your
stitching line. Then we are going to add the face center.
I found it easiest to find the exact middle of the piece and line it up with the center
seam we sewed before. Then I start sewing there adjusting the two pieces as I sew making
sure to keep my seam allowance as close to ¼ inch as possible. I find this to be easier
than trying to line the edges up and add lots of pins before starting to sew, but if you
are more comfortable with pinning then feel free to do it that way.
Then I flip it over and sew from the center point to the other edge. By doing it in halves
like this I know the face is centered and if one side ends up just a bit longer on one
side I can just trim the little bit of excess off and it’s fine.
Clip the seam allowance. This is one of the most important seams that need to be clipped
because of how sharp of a curve it is at the nose and it’s such a prominent part of the
bear. If you are using safety eyes and noses like I do you want to go ahead and install
them at this point. I have a video showing how to install them that is linked in the
information icon in the upper corner of the screen.
Match two of your ear pieces up right sides together and sew around the curved edge. Clip
and turn right sides out. Add a small amount of stuffing and sew along the lower edge to
close up the ear. Repeat for the second set of ear pieces. Use the pattern markings to
place the ears on the bear face and sew to attach with about a 1/8 inch seam allowance.
Next up is sewing the back of the bear head. Lay the two back head pieces right sides together
and sew along the edge with the double notches with a ¼ inch seam allowance. Cut snips in
the seam allowance then open the piece up. Place it right sides together with the bear
face matching up the edges. Add a few clips to hold the two layers together and sew around
the large curved side. Clip the seam allowance and carefully turn the entire head right sides
out through the neck opening. Now onto sewing the body. Lay the two body
front pieces right sides together and sew to attach them along the center front seam.
Match your four leg pieces up in sets of two with the right sides together. Start at the
top and sew down the leg and around the curve of the toe to the bottom. Try to keep your
seam line as smooth as possible. You’ll probably have to sew a few before you find the exact
speed that works best for you. Then start at the top on the other side and sew to the
notch. Start again at the second notch and sew to the bottom. Make sure you are backstitching
at the beginning and ending of each seam you sew. It’s very important to clip the seam
allowance around the toe area so the foot will look great when it’s stuffed.
Time to sew in the bottom of the feet. Some people recommend lining up the entire outer
edge of the foot with the bottom of the leg and having a pin basically every 1/8 of an
inch. But I prefer to just match up the dot markings from the pattern with the leg seams
and add clips there. Then I sew slowly and adjust the two pieces as I sew to keep them
lined up. Sometimes it ends up to where I have a little excess of the foot material
and I just let it stick out a little past the other fabric and bring my seam a little
further in from the edge. Clip those seam allowances once again, always making sure
you do not cut into the stitching line. Repeat the same steps for the second foot then turn
them both right sides out. Fold the legs in half so the top seam and
back seam line up. You can open the seams up or push them to opposite sides to reduce
bulk. Clip them to the body front using the markings from the pattern as guides. Make
sure the toes are pointing toward the belly when flipped up. Sew to attach the legs to
the body using a 1/8 inch seam allowance. Each back piece of the bear has a dart cut
out. Fold one piece so the edges of the dart match up. Sew the dart closed with a ¼ inch
seam allowance. Repeat for the other piece. Then place the two right sides together and
sew from the top to the first notch on the back seam then from the second notch to the
bottom. Leave the opening in the middle for adding stuffing.
Put the front and back pieces right sides together with the legs tucked inside and clip
the outer edges together. I like to start at the center seam and work up to the top
edges. I sew it in the same way, starting at the center seam and sewing up the the top
then start back at the center and sew up to the other top edge. This way if one piece
ends up longer than the other I can just trim the excess off at the top. Turn the entire
thing right sides out through the opening that was left in the back.
Onto the arms. Place the four arm pieces right sides together in pairs and sew around leaving
the short top open and the space between the two notches open. This is another area where
you want to try to keep your stitched curve as smooth as possible. Clip the seam allowances
around the curve and turn the arm right sides out. Repeat with the second arm.
Use the markings from the pattern to clip the arms in place, then sew to attach with
a 1/8 inch seam allowance. Turn the body back inside out. Now we need to sew on the head.
Find the center front seam of the body and the center front seam of the head and match
them up right sides together with the head down inside the body. Match up each of the
seams making sure to either open or nest your seams to reduce bulk and add a clip at each
one. Take your time getting everything situated because this is probably the hardest seam
to sew just because there is very little space to work in.
Place it under your presser foot and sew the head to the body. Sew very carefully making
sure the layers are staying lined up and you aren’t accidentally sewing the neck closed.
I usually need to sew around twice to make sure I sewed far enough in to hide where the
arms were sewn on before and to make sure everything is nice and neat.
Turn the bear right sides out through the opening in the back. Take it slowly so you
don’t accidentally rip the back seam farther open.
Time to stuff the bear. I buy Fairfield polyfil in 5 lb boxes at Joann. You can make about
five 18 inch bears from one box. I have found it best to start with the head and make sure
the nose if stuffed really firmly so it has that great shape to it. Then firmly stuff
the rest of the head. I like to do the legs next and firmly stuff the feet then a little
looser in the top of the legs. The same for the arms. Then on to the body. Stuff it so
that it is semi firm, but still just a little squishy. If you pull the stuffing apart as
you are working with it you will get better results. You want your bear to be fully stuffed
so there aren’t any areas that look lumpy or bumpy, but not overstuffed to where the
seams are trying to burst open. When you are happy with how your bear is stuffed
use a ladder stitch to sew the openings in the arms, legs, and back closed. I have a
separate video that shows step-by-step how to sew a ladder stitch and that tutorial will
be linked in the information icon in the upper corner of the video.
Then your precious memory bear is done and ready for hugs!
If you still have any questions about sewing memory bears leave them in the comments below
because I have another video coming that will have tons of extra bonus tips for making sure
your memory bears are amazing! So make sure you are subscribed by clicking my picture
right down there so you don’t miss that video. Until next time, Happy Sewing!