Lorraine (or LiEr) from ikat bag has shared a steady stream of innovative and fun toys, clothes, costumes and more over the years. You can now supplement her extensive archive of free patterns with more involved PDF designs that you can purchase. It’s so easy to spend a lot of time on Lorraine’s site… Just look at the parties! Look at the extensive list of tutorials! Lorraine has also joined us here at Sew Mama Sew with her Back to School Pencil Case and the more recent Cloverleaf Bag.
Today Lorraine shares her Spring Bunny tutorial, just in time for some special Easter sewing. You could even pair a bunny with a Scalloped Edge Basket, Fun + Frayed Basket, Toy Gathering Bucket or The Art Tote! Welcome spring with this happy little bunny…
Hello, everyone! Bunnies are a big thing in our house because Kate, our 6-year-old, is besotted with them.
Last year for her birthday she asked for a “puffy” bunny, where “puffy” animals– she explained eventually– were those that sat upright on their bottoms, like teddy bears. These were opposed to “flat” animals which, according to Kate, sprawl on their bellies with all four limbs splayed out like bearskin rugs. One year later, I decided to revisit the idea of “flat bunnies” after we all fell in love with this book:
Adults, I’ve learned, will happily make a stuffed animal, lovingly gift it to a child and call it a day.
Children, on the other hand, will take that lovie, and their imagination, and run wild with it. And, often, they keep running.
What followed was a litter of baby bunnies, multicolored and multi-fabric-ed.
And, at the behest of Kate and her sisters, food.
And beds. And clothes. And travel bags. And a cardboard bunny house.
Stay here on Sew Mama Sew to learn to make your own bunnies. Then come over to ikat bag tomorrow for the full story, and more tutorials for the carrots, bed, house, clothes and totes. Also visit this post for tips and tools for making stuffed animals and dolls.
The Bunny Templates do not include seam allowances to facilitate easier enlargement or reduction, should you desire bunnies of different sizes. Cut out the Bunny Template pieces and add 1/4” SA (seam allowance) all around each piece with the exception of the tail, which doesn’t require additional SA.
Lay out and cut out the required pieces of fabric using the templates. Plush fabrics with a bit of give tend to produce better results. Recommended fabrics include micro fleece, stretch terry, velour, fleece, minky and knits which are not overly stretchy. I have also used thin corduroy and terry cloth with good results.
When cutting out the head pieces, mark the center front and center back edges to distinguish them from the side edges as they are very similar in curvature.
Begin making the head. Place the right side (RS) of the Head Front pieces together, and sew along the center front edges.
Place the RS of the Head Back pieces together and, beginning at the top of the head, sew only about 3/4” of the seam leaving the remaining lower portion open.
Open up the Head Front and hand-embroider the facial details. Set aside.
Make one ear. Place the RS of one Ear piece and one Ear Lining piece together, aligning their left edges (red arrow). The Lining is deliberately cut narrower than the Ear, so that when sewn together, the outer ear will wrap around the edges of the lining.
Begin stitching, as shown (the presser foot has been removed for better visibility)…
…Pausing when you reach the tip of the Lining.
Then turn the fabric, and to gently stretch the Ear Lining so that its right edge aligns with that of the Ear (red arrow).
Continue stitching to complete the ear.
When completed, the Ear fabric will bulge slightly, while the Lining fabric stays flat and taut.
Pink the seam allowance.
Turn RS out (note how the Ear now frames the Lining).
Then fold as shown in preparation for attachment to the head.
Repeat Step 5 with the other Ear and Ear Lining pieces to make the second ear. End of Part 2.
Attach the ends of the ears to the top of the Head Front, as shown. The folded edge of the ears are towards the center front seam of the Head Front…
…So that when attached, the ensemble will look like this:
Attach the Head Front to the Head Back, RS together, lining up their edges and matching up the center front and center back seams. Notice that the lower half of the center back seam is still open (red arrows).
Sew all around the head. Set aside.
Place the RS of the Side Body pieces together, and sew from point A to point B (blue arrows).
Spread the Side Body pieces over the Belly piece, RS touching, matching up the four limbs. Sew all around the outline of the Belly, from point C at the neck all the way around to the other point C.
Attach the completed head to the completed body. Lay both on your work surface as shown. Lift the head and place it on the body, matching up points E and D. The RS of the head will be touching the RS of the body. The side seams of the head will not align with the side seams of the body but the center front of the bunny’s head will match up with point D on the body’s neck, and the center back will align with the center back of the body. The center back seam of the head is still half-open, as is the front portion of the body’s back seam.
Sew all around the neck to attach the head to the body. Sew from point E all the way around the front of the neck to the other point E.
Pop the head back up. Sew shut the center back seam of the head, extending about 1/2” past the neck into the body. Leave the rest of the body’s back seam open for turning out and stuffing. Snip and notch all the concave and concave SAs, respectively, including those around the neck and shoulders.
This allows them to lie flat when the animal is turned RS out.
Make the tail by sewing running stitches 1/4” from the edge of the Tail circle, then gathering the fabric around a little stuffing.
Secure the opening by stitching it shut. Do not cut off the thread; you will continuing to sew the tail onto the bunny.
Draw a 5/8” circle on the back of the bunny where the tail should go. Also draw a matching 5/8” circle on the gathered portion of the tail. These circles are optional, but they help position the tail centrally while stitching.
Ladder-stitch the tail onto the bunny.
The ladder stitch will be invisible when the thread is pulled tight.
Stuff the bunny. A combination of polyfill stuffing and poly pellets (can be bought in craft stores) gives a stable, beanie-baby-like outcome. I used about a half cup of poly pellets per bunny. First fill the back legs and lower half of the body completely with pellets, then with stuffing to keep the pellets in place. Next fill the front legs with pellets, and then stuffing to keep the pellets in place. Continue stuffing the rest of the head and chest of the bunny to the desired firmness.
I use a contraption made with a wide straw and a paper funnel. More details can be found in this blog post. That helps channel the pellets directly into small spaces without spilling.
Ladder-stitch the back opening shut.
The bunny is completed! Head over to ikat bag tomorrow for the tutorials for the carrots, bed and other accessories.