There is something almost miraculous about sewing a stuffed animal. You start with a bunch of odd shapes that don’t seem to have much to do with one another. Then as you sew them together, they gradually begin to take form, and suddenly, as you turn it right side out and begin stuffing, it comes to life! Those mismatched pieces are somehow transformed into a cuddly friend!
In my opinion, there is no stuffed animal more inviting than a bunny. And with Easter fast approaching, now is the perfect time to create one. This little guy is made from cozy 100% felted wool, making him oh, so huggable. Plus, he would look right at home in an Easter basket!
This Soft Woolen Bunny is a totally approachable project, even for your first stuffed animal. The wool is lovely to sew and its forgiving nature hides all those little mistakes. I hope you enjoy watching your bunny come to life as much as I did!
To make one 16-inch tall bunny:
- A 1/2 yard of Dorr Mill Wool in Natural
- A 13 X 15-inch piece of Mary Flanagan Felted Wool in Pink
- One package of Cotton or Bamboo stuffing
- DMC Pearl Cotton in color 938 (dark brown) and 605 (pink)
- 100% cotton thread in color 1140
- A pencil
- A Soft Woolen Bunny Template, available for free download here, printed and cut out.
Cut out the pieces as directed on the template. You will have:
From the undyed felted wool:
- 2 ear pieces
- 4 arm pieces
- 4 leg pieces
- 1 tail piece
- 1 head top piece
- 2 head side pieces
- 4 body pieces
From the pink felted wool:
- 2 ear pieces
Mark all the pieces with the marks indicated on the template.
Note: All seam allowances are 3/8-inch unless otherwise noted. Also, make sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of each seam.
Sewing the Arms, Legs, and Ears.
Pin the pink ear pieces to the undyed ear pieces and sew them together with a 3/8 leaving the bottom straight sides unsewn.
Pin the leg pieces together in two pairs and sew them together leaving the short straight sides unsewn.
Pin the arm pieces together in two pairs and sew them together leaving the short straight sides unsewn.
Cut notches in the curves of all of the sewn pieces and turn them right sides out.
Press the sewn ears, legs, and arms flat and rights sides out. Put the arm and leg pieces aside.
To sew the head you will need:
- the 2 sewn ear pieces
- the two head side pieces
- the head top piece
Sew the two head side pieces together along their diagonal straight edge just until the nose mark.
Open the head side pieces, right sides facing up.
Pin the right-hand curved side side of the head top piece all along the curved side of the right-hand head side pieces, starting at the nose. The ear marks are indicated by the yellow pins in the picture above.
Pinning along a curve can be tricky so use lots of pins and make sure there are no puckers.
Sew the pinned section together with two separate seams, one from the nose mark to the first ear mark and the next from the second ear mark to the end. The section between the ear marks will remain unsewn.
Pin and sew the opposite sides of the head side piece and head top piece in the same manner. You should have a head shaped piece with an open bottom (the neck) as shown above.
Fold the ear pieces in half at their short raw edge, with the pink section on the inside (as shown above on the right.)
With the head still inside out slip the ear inside the head and pin the folded section of the ear into one of the open sections between the ear marks, with the pink side of the ear facing towards the nose section of the head piece.
Pin the other ear into the opposite ear marked section in the same manner.
Using a small backstitch hand sew both the ears into place.
Turn the head right sides out through the neck. It should look like the photo above.
Pin the body pieces together in two pairs across side 1 (the side with the marked gap). Sew the first pair together leaving a gap, as marked. Sew the second pair together across the entire length of side 1 without leaving a gap.
The pieces with a gap are now the back body.
The pieces without the gap are now the front body.
Loosely stuff the arms and legs. Match the seams of each piece together and sew each piece shut with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. The arms and legs will be more 3-dimensional now, as shown above.
Make a pencil mark 1-inch below the top inside corner of each of the arms as shown above.
Pin the front body to the back body matching up to their respective side 2s. The arm and leg marks are indicated in the picture above by the double yellow pins.
Sew the back to the front leaving the areas between the arm and leg markings open.
With the front of the body facing pin the legs and arms inside of the body piece. The photo above shows how the arm will be pinned once it’s slipped inside of the arm marking: Line up the mark on the arm to the bottom arm marking to create a (roughly) 45-degree angle and face the arm inward towards the body’s center seam.
Slip the arm into the body through the arm hold in this orientation and pin it in place. Do the same for the opposite arm.
Pin the legs inside in the same manner only with no 45-degree angle, just matching the raw edges of the legs with the raw edges of the leg openings. The points of the toes should be facing up, towards the front of the body.
Using a small backstitch hand sew the arms and legs in place.
Trim off the little triangle of excess fabric at the tops of the arms.
Turn the body right sides out though the back gap. If you are unhappy with the angle of the arms or legs you can rip them out and try again. Make sure you’re happy with all four extremities before going forward.
Sewing Together and Stuffing
Turn the body inside out again though the back gap, with the arms and legs tucked inside.
With its right side facing out slip the head into the body through the neck opening.
Tuck the ears inside the body as well.
Lining up the front seam of the head to the front middle seam of the body pin the bottom of the head’s neck opening to the body’s neck opening right sides together.
Using a small backstitch hand sew these edges together. Go around the circuherence twice to make it extra secure.
Turn the piece right sides out through the back gap.
Make sure the head is sewn on securely and at a straight angle before proceeding.
Stuff the bunny tightly through the back gap. Pay special attention to getting the head stuffed to your liking before you stuff the body.
Hand sew the back gap closed with a slip stitch.
It should really look like a bunny now!
The Tail and The Face
Sew a running stitch around the circumference of the tail piece.
Once you’ve gone all the way around put a pinch of stuffing in the middle and then pull the thread to cinch up the circle. (It’s like sewing a yo-yo if you’ve ever done that.)
Cinch it tightly and then tie several knots to secure it.
Using a slip stitch sew the tail on just below the bottom of the (recently sewn) back gap.
Go around its circumference twice in order to secure it well.
The face of your bunny is a very personal thing and will give your bunny its own unique personality so don’t worry if it doesn’t look just like this one!
Using the brown embroidery thread create the eyes by tying a couple of french knots in the same spot, up and to the right of the nose just below the right front seam of the face. Then pull your thread through to the opposite side of the face and tie a two more french knots in the same manner for the other eye. Thread the loose ends onto your needle one at a time and pull them inside the stuffing thus hiding them.
Using the pink embroidery thread create the nose by taking a series of satin stitches all radiating from the same entry point, 1/4-inch below the tip of the nose at the middle seam. Gradually work from right to left always entering your needle at the same point and exiting just a little to the left of your previoius stitch until a small triangle is formed as shown two photos above. You can go back and forth a couple of times to make sure no wool is showing from underneith.
Thread all the loose ends onto your needle one at a time and pull them inside the stuffing thus hiding them.
Your bunny is all finished!