chiichick (chiichick) wrote in egl,

Bear backpack tutorial


Hello everyone that is reading this!

Thanks for all the interest I received when I first posted about this, it meant a lot to me!  Hopefully this tutorial can be helpful to lots of you ladies out there and that it won't be a dissapointment!

Lets get started!


~25 inches of at least 35 inch wide fabric for your bear
~14 inches of at least 32 inch wide fabric for your lining
~2 buttons of your choice in size for the eyes
~12 inch zipper (you will be cutting it down to size)
~50 inches of a ribbon or some such material for the backpack straps themselves.  I actually used something I already had that I thought looked like strapping material (see pictures below)
~3 rings to attach the straps to on the back of the bear
~2 clips or large safety pin to attach the straps to so that they can be changed over from a backpack to a side sling purse (optional)
~a bag of stuffing
~Freezer paper to trace the pattern onto after you print it
~a working printer and printer paper or a computer screen that will allow you to trace off of
~scotch tape
~Straight pins
~Thread and a sewing machine

These are the supplies for a basic bear only!  I will make a seperate tutorial post for making things like the collars and crowns to accessorize with.

Ready to go?
1.)  First things first we need to get that bear pattern
I do not own this pattern, it was just hosted online for free and I took advantage of it and am passing the knowledge onto you.
You need to save this pattern and open it in say, MS paint to resize it.  First enlarge it to 150% of the original size.  Then enlarge it to 150% again after that.
Now print it!  It will be in all kinds of crazy pieces (sorry I don't have the dimensions it should print as written down right now)

2.)  You need to tape the pieces of paper together now and seperate the front and back pieces

3.)  Time to use that freezer paper!  We are need to retrace those pattern pieces onto something more workable than scotch taped printer paper.
The ear is within the front stomach, so you'll want it trace it out as its own piece! 

Sorry that my pieces were upside down for this shot, it was accidental!
As these are upside down an important detail is left out YOU MUST TRANSFER THE MARKINGS FROM THE ORIGINAL PATTERN PRINTOUT  There should be two lines for where the ears will sit on the front of the top of the head, there should be facial features and there should be the instruction for number to cut out and where.  You DO NOT need to transfer the area that it leaves open for turning the bear inside out, we will make our own cut for that later.

4.)  At this point you need to take the newly created ear piece and take 1/2 inch off the bottom.  I use a different seam allowance on this bear than they originally allowed and if you don't take this excess off the ears will come out too long.

5.)  Pin the new pattern pieces onto your fabric.  Remember as they should say, there should be 2 front pieces, 1 backpiece cut on a fold, and 4 ears.
  (I cut two ear pieces first and then moved the pattern and cut two more)
Also please ignore the black pen marks, I will explain those later.

6.)  Get to cutting!  Also be sure to transfer the markings where needed (such as where the ears will sit)  I personally use a fabric marker but you can mark your pieces however you see fit.

7.)  Now open up the back piece that you cut out, hopefully based on how you cut it there should be a big crease down the back (this will be helpful right now!)  At this point you need to start at the bottom of the center fold (between the legs) and cut straight up that crease for 9 inches only!  It should look something like this.  If you want to make your zipper opening larger you can cut up farther but it will slightly effect the look of the bear if you do so.

At the top of you slit you need to cut sideways so that the cut looks like a weird T, like this

(excuse my ghetto paint drawing)  There should be 1/4 of an inch of a cut on each side.

8.)  At this point you need to take this piece facing right side down and hem the slit you just made.  You need to turn it up 1/4 inch.

Be sure to pin it up and then iron it and remove the pins from your newly hemmed edges.
Also at this point mark the top middle of this piece and then iron it flat.  This is the only chance to iron this back piece and rid it of any wrinkles or creases.

9.)  Now lets skip over to the front piece and sew it together!  After you remove the pattern piece off of the top you should have two pieces facing each other right sides together which is what we want.  Pin down the front of these pieces, again, right sides together, starting at the point of the head and traveling down the stomach stopping when you hit a blunt edge.

10.)  Sew this seam with a seam allowance of 1/4 of an inch.  The entire bear is sewn with 1/4 of an inch seam allowance otherwise a larger seam allowance would shrink the bear.
Once you have sewn this seam clip the curves to relieve seam tension.
(if you want to try and iron this seam open as best you can, now is the only chance.  It will be difficult but it is possible I promise)   Regardless of if you try and iron the seam open you will need to iron the front pieces now to rid them of any creases or wrinkles.

11.)  Switching gears again to the ears now.  Pin each set of ears, right sides together, around the curves but not across the bottom.
Now follow through with the 1/4 inch seam allowance and sew around those ear curves!  Be careful and go slowly sewing these ears since the curves are so extreme.  Clip the curves now and flip them right side out.

12.)  If you wish to stuff your ears now is your only chance.

13.)  Go back to the front piece that you sewed together and open it up as best you can.  You will need to pin these ears where you marked them for placement earlier.  It is very important that you pin these facing down instead of up and so they are sitting on top of the right side of the front piece.

Now you will leave these here and sew over them when you sew the back piece onto this so not quite yet.

14.)  It is now time to pin the front and back together.  When pinning these pieces you will need to be careful and not simply start at one place and pin around the circle of the bear THIS WILL NOT WORK.  What you need to do is line up the center of the top of the head and place a single pin there through the front and back pieces.  Then I would match up one of the arms so that they sit straight on top of each other and pin them together.  Now you will want to stretch and tug between the top of the head and the arm in order to pin it and get it to sit just right.  Then of course you'll want to repeat this on the other side.  
At this point you will also need to be pinning through the ears again, when you sew this seam it will also be for securing these ears.
After you've pinned down through the arms you will want to repeat the process with the legs of pinning them where they match and then stretching them between the arms to match up the in between.  At the bottom of the bear you will have an odd gap from where you cut and hemmed the back piece earlier.  If pinned correctly you should have a total 1/2 inch gap on the back piece where you hemmed up the sides.

15.)  Now that you're all pinned and set, it's time to sew the seam itself.  Be careful and slow around curves and make sure to sew all the way around so that you eventually meet up with your starting point.    Now clip where necessary.  I did quite a bit of clipping on this since there were so many curves.

16.)  At this point the bear should be ready to turn inside out through the big gap in the back.  You will now want to sew on any eyes or other facial features you want at this point.  I sewed my eyes on later because I forgot to buy them before hand but it should be easier now rather than later if you've already got yours.

17.)  Now my favorite part!  It's bear stuffing time!
You want to make sure to only stuff the arms, legs and head up until you reach the body.  Make sure to stuff them plenty full though and as pulmp and evenly as you are happy with!  I personally put a very thin layer of fluff sitting in the stomach and body so that when the lining is put in there will still be a little pulmp in this area.

Unfortunately at this point it is going to feel like you are starting all over again because it's time to make the lining.


You will now want to take the pattern pieces you made earlier and butcher them.
You need to make these now to reflect the pattern pieces of the lining which will only reach through a little bit of the arms or legs.

1.)  On the back pattern piece mark a line between the legs and the body and the arm and the body as shown here.
I marked mine something like 5 inches in from the arm and 6 inches in from the leg.
The neck specifically needs to be marked up 9 inches from the bottom of the seam where it would be on the fold so that it matches the pre existing bear's back slit.

2.)  Now you need to chop the arms, leg and head off where you marked them.  Match the newly cut off arm onto the front pattern piece and cut off the same amount.  Then do the same with the leg and neck.  The goal here is to have the same amount removed from the arms, legs and head on both the front and back pattern pieces.

3.)  Now pin these pieces down onto your lining fabric, they should look something like this.

Sorry it's difficult to see white pieces on white fabric.  This actually isn't the lining I used for the bear posted here, but I made two of them at once and actually took a picture of the other's lining.  My bad!
The back does not need to be on a fold this time.  Make sure you have two cut outs of each pattern peice.

4.) Now go ahead and cut them out!

5.)  Sew the middle front seam (AKA the tummy seam)  right sides together just like you did on the original bear except there is no head on this one.  Clip as needed.  If you wish to open up this seam and iron it now is the time.

6.)  Now pin and iron back 1/4 of an inch on the back pieces of a hem just like you did on the bear.  These should be hemmed onto the wrong side of the fabric AKA the fabric should be facing right side down and you should be hemming them onto the wrong side.

Mind you this will be on the fabric itself, not the pattern piece.

Make sure all lining pieces are ironed at this point.

7.)  No open up the front and it's time to sew it to the two back pieces.  Pretend like the back pieces are attached in the middle and they should pin around the perimeter of the front piece just like you did above except it will be easier without a head, arms and legs.  Make sure your pieces are pinned right side together. 
Mine didn't quite match up so I had to cut them a bit more at this point to make sure the stubs where the arms and legs were were the same sizes.

8.)  Sew your seam all the way around.  Clip as necessary.
DO NOT turn your new lining right side out.  It is lining and will be sitting in the bear how it is now, seamingly inside out.

9.)  You now want to sew the zipper on top of the 1/4 inch hemming you did earlier on this lining piece.
Line up the top of the zipper  to the top of the piece and then pin it along down.  Once you reach the bottom don't quite cut the zipper off yet, I would suggest doing this after you sew the zipper on. 
As you can imagine this zipper is a little bit tricky to sew on.  I opened it up and did it like I would sew on a sleeve in a circlular way on my machine until I got to the bottom.  At the bottom be sure to stitch across horizontally so that when you cut off your zipper it won't be able to go down farther than this.

10.)  After you stich your zipper on go ahead and cut off the lots of excess.  Mine looked like this at this point.
SORRY FOR THE BAD LIGHTING this was back to the black lining and it was late and really dark no matter what I seemed to do!

EDIT:  Here is a better picture that I took while making the white lining, hopefully it is easier to understand than those terrible quality picture above

Yes, it should look weird right now.  The reason we do this is that when we attach this zipper to the bear itself it makes it a lot easier already being sewn onto the lining.

11.)  The lining is now ready to be set inside the bear.
Set it inside as is and stick your hand in it and spread it out.  This is when you will notice that you either need to add more stuffing or less stuffing based on large your lining is in comparion with how far inwardly you stuffed.  You should take out the lining and adjust the stuffing as needed.  Once the lining is set inside the bear and you are happy with your stuffing it's time to sew them together.

12.)  Pin the zipper as you would a normal zipper onto the under side of the hemming you did for this on the bear itself earlier.  This should be pretty easy to line up but this seam is going to be pretty difficult to sew.  On my first bear this seam was terrible so don't feel bad if it isn't perfect!  You want to sew this the same way you sewed the zipper onto the lining, around in a circle motion like you would when attaching a sleeve onto a garment.  Be careful and go slow!
Just as when you attached it to the lining you'll want to sew a horizontal seam across the bottom of the zipper to secure it.

CONGRATS!  You now have a completed bear!  All you need now is some backpack straps!

You will want to sew one of your rings about an inch or two above the top of the zipper for the cording to go through that will serve as your strap.

You will also want to sew a ring on each of the legs, I put mine up onto the body a bit as seen below.

Once all your rings are sewn on you'll want to take the strapping you bought and run it through the top ring.  Take each end now and attach it to either the giant safety pins or the clips that you bought.  If you didn't buy these than attach the strapping to the rings directly.
If you attached it to a clip now you can attach each clip to each of the lower rings or both on one ring if you want it as a sling over purse.

Congrats for real this time!  You are finally finished!!
Now you can accessorize it as you wish!

Here is the end result of my punky boy bear.

I hope lots of you talented sewers out there make some adorable bears to post pictures of!  I am dying to see other's results!

I am sorry for those that read this tutorial wondering why I explained every step so fully and detailed.  I wasn't meaning to be condescending at all to those that do know how to sew, I just wanted to make sure that those that don't will understand it as well.

Well that's that!  Thanks for reading!  ^-^
Here's a seperate link and tutorial for those wanting to make the crown and collar accessories!

This tutorial is great for starters to advanced sewers so please come take a look!
This is a very long detailed tutorial and has lots of images, BE WARNED!

Tags: tutorial: misc, tutorial: sewing

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