Sleeping Charlie Bear tutorial
I designed this pattern to be perfect for sewing memory bears from clothing. This pattern uses my original Charlie 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 symetrical, and it does require a lot of ladder stitching.
This is the tutorial to go with the Sleeping Charlie bear pattern. If you have not yet bought the pattern and would like to then click the image below for my shop
If you would love to make this bear but are not yet ready to sew an advanced pattern, then try my original seated Charlie Bear pattern. Once you have sewn a few of them then sew this pattern.
Three really important points before you start making your bear
- This bear is complicated. It is not suitable for a beginner sewer. If you have sewn the original Charlie 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 recommended to cut back on confusion eg back topside, underside arm etc
- Some of the pieces in this pattern that look like the original Charlie bear are different, the feet are smaller, and the back of head is slightly different, 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. Mark dot K on the cheek pieces. 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
1 – First make sure you have marked dot C on the wrong side of your cheek pieces, it is 1cm above the top of the dart. Fold the fabric of the first cheek right sides of fabric together so that the corners at letter A are touching each other, and the fold goes through point B
2 – Sew with a 5mm seam allowance from point A to point B. Then put the needle down into the fabric lift the sewing machine foot, pivot the fabric and sew straight to point C and off the edge of the fabric. Tie your loose threads once you have sewn off at point C. Sew the second cheek the same way
3 – Sew the two cheek pieces together from point D to point E
4– Pin the forehead into place on the cheeks so the centre point of the forehead at F lines up with the cheek center seams where they are joined at point E, and the edge of the forehead fabric by point G is lined up with the edge of the cheek fabric at point H. Sew all the way round from point GH to FE to GH. Snip the excess fabric from the seam allowance by points GH. You have now created your front face.
1 – Pin the ears in pairs of one inner ear and one outer ear right side to right side. Sew around the outer seam as shown by the dotted line.
2 – On the inner side of one pair of ears add the 1234 markings, and add the same markings on the outer side of the other pair.
3 – Put pins through the 1234 marks so you can see which is which. Turn your ears right side out. Starting with the ear with the inner marked, fold the fabric at point 2 so that 1 and 3 are touching. Then fold again so that 2 touches 4.
Fold the other ear following these instructions and it will become a mirror image, then secure the fold on both ears with a couple of hand stitches.
Assembling the head
1 – Lay out your ears and front face with the inner ears facing up and the ear folds pointing towards the bottom of the cheek.
2 – Pin the ears to the front face so the inner ear lays onto the front face fabric and the edges of the ear and face fabric are lined up. The fold in the ear needs to be positioned just below the forehead/ cheek seam so you don’t have a big bulk of fabric to sew through. Tack the ears onto the front face using a 3mm seam allowance so they don’t move, this seam will be hidden from view when you attach the back of the head.
3 – Stitch the 2 back of head pieces together from point I to point J
4 – Pin the back of head pieces to the front face so that the center of the seam at point I is lined up with center point K. Pin the back of head pieces to the cheeks so point M is by point AA one side then pin all the way around so point M is by point AA the other side.
5 – Sew from point IK to point MAA one side, then turn the fabric and sew from point IK to MAA the other side. By sewing the forehead this way you will get a smoother line.
Sewing the bear’s body
• To avoid getting confused by the bear’s body pieces try pinning labels to them. Also be sure to add the correct number of * and ● to each as this will help you
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
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.
3 – 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.
4 – Repeat for the underside arm. Clip the curves all the way around both arms, except for the fabric by the turning & stuffing hole
5 – 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 the fabric lays flat.
6 – 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.
7 – 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.
8 – 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.
9 – 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
8 – 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.
9 – Repeat for the underside leg and body lining up the attachment lines and checking the * on the arm 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 cheek seam at point D to the top of the front seam of the tummy at TU, and pin the open back of the head at L to the open back of the bears body at N, both sides
6 – Pin along the neck seam multiple times to secure and sew all the way along from LN to LN. 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 L 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.
Stuffing part 1
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.
2 – Due to the shape of Sleeping Charlie’s face you will need to sew his or her facial features next and then complete the stuffing of the limbs.
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. 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 smile template onto the bear so the arrow sits at the point where the cheek seam (D) meets the neck seam (TU). 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 top 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 eye, 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 eye.
As I was using a relatively short needle I started sewing my bears eye from the 3rd pin down, then took my thread back to the beginning to sew the last stitches. Check the length of your needle against the nose to eye distance to see if you need to do the same.
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 other eye and the mouth using the same technique you used for the first eye. Use 20” of embroidery floss for each.
10 – Finally whip stitch all the way round the nose in a matching thread to secure it onto your bear.
Stuffing part 2
1 – Next stuff the underside limbs. Start by stuffing small amounts of stuffing into the area behind the attachment line. 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.
2 – 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
3 – 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.
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 neat and flat
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.
13 – Check that your bear’s arms are sitting perfectly with the top arm resting on the bottom arm. If they are not add a couple of stitches to hold the 2 arms together.
Your Sleeping Charlie bear is now complete!
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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