Monday, February 17, 2014

How to Make a Teddy Bear Pincushion

     When I first came to Mexico I spent a lot of time working with materials I had never used before, because it was hard for me to find the things I needed here.  I think I have mentioned before that the fabric stores here carry fabric more for clothing and household needs (towels, curtains, etc).  While "crafting" is becoming more popular in Mexico, most stores are small and don't advertise on the internet, making them difficult to find.  I only happen upon them while out and about.

     One of the first things I made when I came to Mexico was a teddy bear pin cushion because I didn't bring along my old pincushion.  It isn't actually a cushion, because it is made from styrofoam but it holds all my pins securely and is cute too!  I decided to offer a tutorial here on my blog for anyone interested in making their own.  This is a very easy creation and would be great for older children too.  Enjoy!


Styrofoam ball cut in half (I imagine different sizes would work but I used one with a diameter of 3 inches)

2 calf length socks
Coordinating thread
Black embroidery floss (or any color you like)
Fabric paint for eyes
Red ink for blush


1.  First cut your styrofoam ball in half using a sharp knife.  Be careful not to destroy the ball in the process.  Carefully trim the flat part to make it as even as possible.

2.  Cut the toe off of the brown sock.  The piece should be about 3.5 inches but doesn't need to be exact because we will trim it more.

3.  Put the styrofoam half piece inside the toe of the sock and pull it down snug, positioning it how you would like it to be.  Be careful not to make it too tight or you will see too much of the styrofoam underneath.  I like the toe seam of the sock to be right at the bear's eyebrow level.  Now make a mark at the bottom edge of the styrofoam piece.  You will cut carefully around the styrofoam so that the top of the bears head will be ready to sew to the bottom.

4.  Use a piece of the left over sock to cut a circle.  This will be the bottom of the pincushion.

5.  Hand or machine sew the circle piece to the head piece with right sides together.  You will be sewing the piece inside out.  Make sure to leave a space big enough to turn the piece and also big enough to insert the styrofoam.  Socks are very stretchy so you should only need to leave about an inch and a half opening.  Turn right side out.

6.  Now insert the styrofoam and adjust the circle piece at the bottom.  Add a little batting or polyester stuffing to the bottom to fill in the uneven parts of the styrofoam.

7.  Sew the opening closed with a ladder stitch.

8.  Use some of the leftover fabric to make the ears.  Turn the leftover piece of brown sock inside out with right sides together.  Draw your ear on paper to the size you want.  **Tip: If you want pieces to be symetrical, draw your pattern piece on paper first and then fold it in half before you cut it.**  Draw the pattern piece onto the brown fabric using a fabric marker and then sew along the line, leaving the bottoms open for turning.  Turn the pieces and sew closed with a ladder stitch, leaving a piece of thread to attach the ears to the head.

9.  Cut a slightly smaller ear pattern and make another set of ears with your contrasting fabric.  Sew them and close them the same way.  Match them up and sew the lighter color to the front of the darker ears.  Then pinch the ears at the bottom and sew the two bottom ends together with the black thread to make a cute crease.

10.  Decide your placement of the ears.  Different places will give you a different expression.  Experiement with where you like best and then sew the ears in place.  Use a long needle to sew and secure the ears through the styrofoam.  If you do not sew some stitches into the styrofoam the ears will be wonky.  It is hard to sew into the styrofoam and you don't want to break it into pieces so use a long needle to go deep into the styrofoam.

11.  Now decide where you want your nose and trace a triangle onto the face with a disappearing ink fabric marker.  If you use a real marker you can have a mess because it is very difficult to sew on sock material in the exact place you intend.  The disappearing ink will provide a guide but disappear if you don't quite have your stitches fall were you meant.  Use embroidery floss to make the nose, mouth and eyebrows.  Embroidering on stretchy stock material is tricky.  You cannot pull too tightly or the fabric will be stretched very awkwardly.  Go slowly, adjusting as you go.  I'm sorry it is hard to see in the photos.  You can use a more contrasting floss to see the nose better.

12.  Use the eye color paint you chose to paint a circle for the eyes.  Paint the color first, then the black for the iris, and then add white accents.  I use a ball pin dipped in the paint and then I dot a perfect circle onto the fabric.

13.  Add ink blush to the cheeks and ears.

14.  Stick your pins in and your done!  Try using different colored socks for fun combinations or try experimenting with other animals.  If I had the time I would make a lot more but I need to be working on BeBes!

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