Do I need a sewing machine?
No you do not need a sewing machine to make teddy bears. Using a sewing machine is faster, but don't let the fact that you may not own a sewing machine stop you from making teddy bears. You can sew a teddy bear by hand. I've hand sewn teddy bears as large as 15" tall. Lesson 3 of the free Teddy Bear Ornament class teaches you how to hand sew.
What tools do I need?
You don't need a lot of tools to start making teddy bears. You can always add more tools to your bear making tool box if you wish later. To start all you need are:
- Sharp scissors (for cutting fabric and thread)
- Fine point marker (to trace pattern onto fabric)
- Needle nose pliers (to turn cotterpins & help pull needle when it gets stuck)
- Sharpened chopstick (to make holes for eye and joint insertion)
- Eraser end of new pencil (to use as stuffing tool)
- Pins (to hold pieces together while sewing)
- #16 milliners needles (for hand sewing and closing seams)
- 3" soft sculpture needle (for nose embroidery)
- 5" doll needle (to insert eyes)
When you are ready to add or upgrade your tools, see this blog post: More Tools for Making Teddy Bears.
How do I know what bear making supplies I will need?
The supplies you need to make your teddy bear will be listed on your pattern. In general, for most teddy bears you will need:
- Mohair, faux fur or fabric: For the bear itself
- Fabric for the paw and foot pads: This is often felt or ultrasuede. For fur memory bears you can use the lining of the coat (backed with felt).
- Eyes: Most collectible bears are made with glass eyes. Child safe bears are made with plastic safety eyes using an entirely different installation method than what is used in these classes.
- Upholstery thread: Match the color of the thread to the backing of the fabric. I use the upholstery thread for hand sewing, closing seams and attaching the ears.
- All purpose thread: For machine sewing. Match the color of the thread to the backing of the fabric.
- Pearle cotton: This is for stitching the nose and the mouth. It comes in a rainbow of colors. For miniature bears I use embroidery floss instead of pearle cotton.
- Stuffing: This is often fiberfill. There are actually several types of fiberfill. If your local store has more than one type, try experimenting and see which you prefer. I do NOT recommend foam stuffing.
Where do I get my bear making supplies?
You can buy some of your supplies at your local fabric shop (faux fur, thread, pearle cotton). Generally you have to order your other supplies (mohair, higher quality faux fur, glass eyes, bear joints....) from a teddy bear supply shop. We have a list of teddy bear suppliers here: Teddy Bear Making Suppliers. You can also find what you need to make teddy bears on eBay: Bear Making Supplies on eBay
Do you have some basic bear making directions?
Yes, you can read some general bear making directions on this page: Basic Teddy Bear Making Instructions