Sleeping Betsy bear tutorial
I designed this pattern to be perfect for sewing memory bears from clothing. This pattern uses my original best selling Betsy bear sewing pattern, and adds to it the idea of an angel or cherub who is sleeping.
This is a complex pattern as the pattern pieces are not symmetrical, and it utilises a lot of ladder stitching. If you love this bear but are not yet ready for an advanced pattern then have try my original Betsy bear available to buy here – sew a few of them and then graduate to this pattern.
This is the tutorial to go with the Sleeping Betsy sewing pattern, to buy the sewing pattern click here
This is a complex pattern as the pattern pieces are not symetrical, and it utilises a lot of ladderstitching. If you love this bear but are not yet ready for an advanced pattern then have try my original Betsy bear – sew a few of them and then graduate to this pattern.
Three really important points:
- This bear is complicated. It is not suitable for a beginner. If you have sewn the original Betsy Bear before you will see that this is an adaptation of that pattern.
- As this bear is not symmetrical it is really important that you follow the directions exactly for the body and limb pieces – see the first part of the Method below. Labelling the pieces the 1st time you make this bear is 100% recommended to cut back on confusion eg back topside, underside arm etc
- Several of the pieces in this pattern that look like the original Betsy bear are different, the feet are smaller, and the muzzle/ face is slightly narrower, so make sure you don’t get the pattern pieces mixed up!
Preparing the interfacing
1 – Draw around the body pieces onto your interfacing with the written side of the pattern piece facing up. As the bear is not symmetrical it is vital to get this stage right. Mark the * and ●, and the ** and ●● on the correct part of each body piece. To avoid confusion I would recommend labelling each piece the first time you make this bear eg BT for Back Topside etc
2 – Draw around the arms and leg pieces again following the directions on the pattern pieces. Place the pattern pieces with the printed side up to draw the outer arms / legs and draw the attachment line on. Mark the * and ●, and the ** and ●● on the correct ends of each of the attachment lines. As with the body pieces it is recommended to label the limbs the 1st time you make this bear eg UA for Underside Arm etc
3 – Then turn the pieces over to draw the inner arms / legs and do not draw the attachment line on the inner limbs. Again label each piece
4 – Draw around the paws and mark the top and bottom points on the paw pieces. Then draw around all remaining pieces following the directions for piece numbers and reversals. Cut around all your interfacing pattern pieces with a rough margin then iron them onto the reverse side of the fabric. Cut the pieces out neatly.
Sewing the front face and ears
1 – Pin the first of the darts with the fabric right side to right. Put one pin near the edge of the fabric to secure by point A and the other 1cm from the end of the dart shown as point B. Sew from the edge of the fabric at A, towards point B so your stitches come off the fabric at B. Cut your cotton about 10cm or so from your fabric and then tie your loose threads. Don’t try and do reverse stitches by B as tying is stronger. Repeat for all the darts in the muzzle
2 – Sew the face pieces together from point C to point D
3 – Pin the face piece to the muzzle piece right side to right side so the top central dart seam of the muzzle is lined up with the face seam at point C and point E of the muzzle is against point F of the face. Pin all the way round then sew. Trim the excess fabric away by point F/E
The fabric of the muzzle and the fabric of the face are not identical lengths, the additional fabric is so there is space for the muzzle to stand out from the face when stuffed. Just ease the fabric round so the fabric is distributed evenly and secure it with lot of pins so that it is slightly gathered and evenly spaced.
When you sew the muzzle to the face do it with the muzzle dart seams uppermost, so they don’t catch in your machine’s feed dogs (the zig zag strips that stick up from your sewing machine’s needle plate)
4– Pin the ear pieces together in pairs. Sew around the outer seam as shown by the dotted line
5 – Turn the ears right side out. Put a small amount of stuffing in each one – you need enough to make it plump push the stuffing towards the top half of the ear so there is no stuffing for the bottom 1cm of the ear, and pin so it stays there. Hand stitch the bottom of the ear closed. Leave the pins in place until after you have stitched the back of the head on so the stuffing doesn’t get into the seam
6 – Lay each ear on to a face piece so the side of the ear you want to face forwards is laying on the right side of the face fabric between points G and H
7 – Sew the ears onto the face using a 3mm seam allowance so they don’t move out of place when you stitch the back of head pieces on, this seam will be hidden from view when you attach the back of the head.
8 – Stitch the 2 back of the head pieces together from point I to J
9 – Pin the back of head pieces to the front face so that the face central seam at point D is lined up with the back of head central seam at point I. Pin the back of head pieces to the face pieces right side to right side so point K is by point L both sides then pin all the way round. Sew from point DI to point KL one side, then turn the fabric and sew from point DI to KL the other side. By sewing the seam this way you will get a smoother forehead. Cut the excess fabric away from the seam at point K/L as it will get in the way when you sew the head to the body later
Sewing the bear’s body
1 – Stitch a row of guide stitches from point O to N 5mm away from the raw edge on EACH of the 2 back pieces (this is not sewing the 2 pieces together).
2 – Stitch the back top side to the tummy topside as shown by the dotted line, this will create your bear’s top side. Then stitch the back underside to the tummy underside as shown by the dotted line. This will create your bear’s underside. Do not sew these 4 pieces together yet, you will do that later!
3 – Snip into the angles by the indentations so this fabric will shape easily, and then cut the excess fabric away from the seam allowances all the way down both sides except for the last few centimetres by point W/X
4 – Mark the attachment lines on the inside of each of the 4 indentations on your bear’s sides. Then re-mark the * and ●, and the ** and ●● on the tops of the attachment lines if they got cut off when you trimmed the seam allowance
Sewing the bear’s arms
1 – Sew a row of guide stitches with your machine where the turning & stuffing hole is on each of the four arm pieces
2 – Sew along the attachment line on both outer arm pieces. Then put one tacking stitch to mark the placement of the single dot ● at the correct end of the attachment line of the underside arm, and put a pair of tacking stitches to mark the placement of the pair of dots ●● at the correct end of the attachment line of the topside arm. These will be removed later.
2 – Then lay the inner fabric of the topside arm onto the outer fabric of the topside arm, right sides of fabric together and sew all the way around as shown by the dotted line except for the turning & stuffing hole
3 – Repeat for the underside arm. Clip the curves all the way around both arms, except for the fabric by the turning & stuffing hole
4 – Turn both arms through so the right side of fabric is now on the outside. Run your stuffing tool around the inside of each arm to push out the curves. Flatten the tops of each arm and pin around the top by the attachment line so they stay flat.
5 – Push pins through at either end of the topside arm attachment line inside the bear’s body – so push from the inside towards the outside. Put a small mark on the fabric where the pin pushes through. Remove these first 2 pins.
6 – To pin the arm correctly onto the bear’s body, the arm’s attachment line needs be on the outside of the arm ie not touching the bear’s body. Push pins through both ends of the attachment line on the topside arm, push them into the bear’s body at the point where the two small marks are. This way the pins enter the body at either end of the 3.5cm line. To get the arm attached correctly check that the ●● of the arm is above the ●● of the body’s line, then your bear’s arm will face in the right direction.
7 –With your sewing machine sew the bear’s topside arm to the topside body, sew along the attachment line. Sew with the bear’s arm uppermost so you can be sure you have followed the line of stitches exactly. This line of stitches needs to be strong so ensure you stitch up and down the attachment line twice so your bear’s arm is well secured.
Remove all the pins from the top of the arm and your tacking stitches.
8 – Repeat for the underside arm and body
Sewing the bear’s legs
1 – Sew a row of guide stitches with your machine where the turning & stuffing hole is on each of the four leg pieces
2 – Sew along the attachment line on both outer leg pieces. Mark the * and the ** on the correct end of each attachment line with tacking stitches as you did for the arms.
3 – Then lay the inner fabric of the topside leg onto the outer fabric of the topside leg, right sides of fabric together and sew all the way around from P to Q as shown by the dotted line except for the turning & stuffing hole
4 – Repeat for the underside leg. Clip the curves all the way around both legs, except for the fabric by the turning & stuffing hole
5 – Attach the paws to the legs one at a time. Attach them with the right sides of the fabric together. Pin center point R of the paw to the end of the seam P of the leg. Then pin center point S of the paw to the end of the seam Q of the leg, make sure the edges of the fabric are perfectly lined up. Pin all the way round pushing your pins from the paw side through to the leg side. Then put a second row of pins all the way around from the leg side through to the paw side – this helps to keep the fabric straight so you get a really smooth seam between paw and leg.
6 – Put the paw pad face downwards on your sewing machine to sew. Sew slowly and carefully to ensure a really smooth line of stitches. Once you have sewn all the way round clip the curves. Repeat for the second leg.
7 – Next turn both legs through so the right side of fabric is on the outside
5 – Pin then sew the topside leg to the body using the same technique as you used for the arms. Check the ** of the leg is above the ** of the topside body’s line, so your bear’s leg will face in the right direction.
6 – Repeat for the underside leg and body lining up the attachment lines and checking the * on the leg is above the * of the body
Completing the bear’s body
1 – With the right sides of fabric together pin the topside of the body to the underside of the body. Start by pinning T at the neck seam of the tummy topside to U at the neck seam of the tummy underside piece. Pin all the way down the front seam, nest the seams where they meet at points X and W and continue pinning together up the back seam to point V
2 – Sew from TU all the way to V
3 – Pin the tops of the arms down so they don’t get in the way of the neck seam. Keep the bear’s body so the right side is facing inwards
4 – Turn your bear’s head through so the right side is facing outwards
5 – Put the bear’s head inside the body so that the fabric of the body and head is right sides together. Pin the central dart of the muzzle to the top of the front seam of the tummy, and pin the open back of the head at M to the open back of the bears body at N, both sides
6 – Pin multiple times to secure and sew all the way along the neck seam from M/N to M/N. There will be places where the seam looks bunched up by pins due to the curve of the body’s neck seam but this will un-bunch and look right when you have completed sewing and taken the pins out
As this seam is on the slant you will need to sew slowly and carefully.
7 – Sew the head closed from J to M at the neck seam. Sew the back closed from V to O
You will be left with a gap, from O to N – this is the body’s turning and stuffing hole.
1 – Turn your bear through the turning hole, so that he or she is the right way out. Stuff your bear’s body and head first, then ladderstitch up the body’s turning and stuffing hole. Do not worry if your bear has quite a distinct ‘bump’ on his or her topside between the arms – this will look correct once the limbs are stuffed.
2 – Next stuff the underside limbs. Start by stuffing small amounts of stuffing into the area behind the attachment line (as shown in the pic above). Once this is full stuff the remainder of the limb. As the limbs start to fill up check that your bear is laying at the right angle. If you overstuff the limbs, it could cause the bear to lay as if rolled either forwards or backwards. Once you are happy with the amount of stuffing ladderstitch closed.
3 – Stuff the topside leg, stuff small amounts of stuffing into the area behind the attachment line first, then stuff the remainder of the leg. Ladderstitch closed
4 – Stuff the topside arm, stuff small amounts of stuffing into the area behind the attachment line first. Then as with the underside limbs you need to be careful with your stuffing quantity so that the arm sits right. If you hard stuff the whole arm it will stick out at an angle, so stuff the paw end firmly, then gradually stuff the arm checking as you go that it is sitting correctly. You will need very little stuffing in the upper arm. Ladderstitch closed.
Sewing your bear’s facial features
1 – First cut out the eye template from your pattern. Place the eye template so it sits against the seams of the bear’s face as shown in the photo below. It may not sit exactly on your seam lines depending how much stuffing you have added but make sure the curved bottom edge sits against the muzzle seam, and the corner is against the bottom of the seam between the 2 face pieces. Push pins through the eyeline and lashes at the points shown by the dots on the template.
2 – Pull the pinheads partly out of your bear’s face, so you can lift the paper up and see where the pins enter the fabric. Lean around the paper and push a pin directly (not through the paper) into the bear’s face at exactly the point where the first pin entered, take out the first pin. Repeat one at a time for each of the pins so your bear’s eye is marked out by pins, and the paper is removed. Check your pins are in a nice neat curve, and the eyelashes are neatly spaced – adjust a bit if necessary
3 – Repeat for the other eye. Check both eyes look even, adjust your pins a bit if necessary
4 – Next cut out your felt nose and pin into position on your bear – so it is 1cm below the face/ muzzle seam and sitting nice and central. Do not sew the nose into position yet
5 – Cut out the smile template from your pattern. Pin the paper onto the bear so the arrow sits at the point where the central bottom dart meets the neck seam. Put a pin at the top of the paper too so it is held straight. Push pins through the smile line on the paper into your bear at the points shown by the dots on the template. Put in new pins and remove the paper in the same way as you did for the eyes.
6 – Cut 20” of embroidery floss, lift the bottom edge of the bear’s nose and push your needle in so the end of the embroidery floss will be hidden by the nose felt, and come out by the first pin of your bear’s smile, pull the needle through leaving a tail of around 2 inches so you can tie off at the end. Stitch with back stich along the smile.
7 – If you push your needle in and out of the entry points marked by the pins it will stay neat.
8 – When complete take the needle and embroidery floss to the point where you originally started under the nose, and tie to secure. Snip off the excess embroidery thread.
9 – Sew the eyes using the same technique you used for the smile, use 20” of embroidery floss for each eye. So start your thread underneath the bear’s nose leaving a tail. Sew the bear’s first eye and lashes. Take the end of the thread back to its tail and tie off. Snip off the excess. Repeat for the second eye.
10 – Whip stitch all the way round the nose in a matching thread to secure it onto your bear.
1 – Sew the line of guide stitches on each of your 4 wing pieces. These are long because you will need a long opening to insert the pipe cleaners
2 – Lay your wings out in pairs, so one pair will be the side of the wings that will sit against your bear’s body (the inside pair), and one pair that will be the side that will face outwards (the outside pair). Next iron the fleece onto the wrong side of the inside pair’s fabric, or spray glue your wadding on.
3 – Sew the inside pair of wings together from Y to Z, cut the excess away from the seam allowance. Then sew the outside pair of wings together from Y to Z, again, cut the excess away from the seam allowance.
4 – Place the 2 pairs of wings right sides of fabric together. Then sew all the way around as shown by the dotted line leaving the stuffing hole open on both wings. Trim off the excess fabric all the way around – except by the turning / wire insertion gaps
5 – Turn the wings through one of the gaps so the right side of the fabric faces out. Run your stuffing tool all the way around the inside of the wings to push the curves out. Put some pins around the top edge of the wings to hold the fabric neatly
6 – Sew along the seam between the 2 wings and then sew a line of top stitches 5mm to the right of this central seam, and sew a line of top stitches 5mm to the left of this central seam
7 – Sew each wire into place starting from the top of the wing ie the furthest from the turning / wire insertion gap. To do this lay the first wire onto the fabric in the same curve and direction as the wire placement guide on the pattern piece shows. Pin all along the top edge of the wire. Put a pin either end of the line to mark the end. Then remove the wire and sew along the line you have marked out with pins. Remove the pins
8 –Put the wire inside the wing and press it up into your line of stitches. Put a second row of pins under the wire to hold it in place. Sew down from one end of the top row of stitches (to hold the wire in place) and then along your second row of pins. Finish by stitching up at the other end so the wire is enclosed within a slim curved rectangle of stitching. At no point are you sewing across the pipe cleaner.
9 – Lay the 2nd wire into place below the first and repeat these steps. Stitch all 6 wires into place using this method. Make sure the second wing’s wires are level with the first.
10 – Ladderstitch both of the turning / wire insertion gaps closed.
11– Pin the wings onto the back of your bear 4cm, 1½” below the neck seam Make sure the central seam of the wings is lined up with the central seam of the bear’s back. Lay your bear down and check the wings look right in comparison with the bear’s head and shoulder. Adjust if necessary.
12 – Ladder stitch the wings onto the bears back. Sew from the bears back fabric into the underside wing using the right top stitched line as a guide, sew across to the left top stitched line and continue ladder stitching up it to the top of the wing. Complete the rectangle by sewing across to the top of your first stitches. Stitch all the way around the rectangle again for extra strength and then tie and trim the cotton off. And finally, your bear’s arms may not be sitting perfectly with the top arm resting on the bottom arm. If this is the case put a couple of stitches to hold the 2 together.
Your Sleeping Betsy bear is now complete!
If you have read this far and missed the LINK to buy the pattern… CLICK HERE
If you enjoyed this tutorial and want to keep it or share it, please pin it…!
Copyright Terms and Conditions
It is not permissible to make a copy of this sewing pattern except for your own use. It is not permissible to share this pattern either in person, by post or by email. It is not permissible to sell this sewing pattern or a copy of it on to another person.
It is permissible to sell an item that you have made from this pattern in small quantities – for example as keepsake bears and soft toys to sell through your in-person or online shop or at craft fairs. Please include the information that your keepsakes / soft toys are made with a pattern from Rachel Leggett at cwtchandbloom.com in online descriptions and on Instagram please tag me at @cwtch.and.bloom . It is permissible to add or remove a limited number of features to this pattern eg altering the ears / adding a tail etc, please then state in the description that your item is made with a pattern from cwtchandbloom.com with added / altered etc. If you have any queries regarding this please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org