Stuffed animals make me happy. They live on my desk at home and in the Sew4Home studio, so I can glance over at them when I’m having a bad day or when someone has shot down another one of my ‘spectacular’ ideas. There they sit. Always calm, always smiling. Funny Bunny is a super sweet softie who combines nubby cotton chenille with smooth, retro-inspired cotton for a soft vintage look.
Funny Bunny has button eyes and his little head is sewn on by hand, so he’s not the right choice for babies or young toddlers who are still rough on their toys. He’d make a great friend for older toddlers and children, as well as any young-at-heart adults you know… like me.
We found our chenille at Chenille Magic. For the featured print fabric, we originally used Heather Bailey’s Nicey Jane collection from FreeSpirit Fabrics. This is an older collection and so is no longer readily available. As an option, check out these newer fabrics at Fat Quarter Shop in the 1900’s Reproductions category that have a similar vintage vibe. Click on a swatch for more detail.
Funny Bunny is one-of-a-kind. The supply list below gives you the elements we used, but the fabric combos are endless. This is a more advanced project with quite a few pattern pieces. We’ve included extra photos and step-by-step notes to make everything as easy as possible. We know you can do it!
Make one or a basketful; bunnies like to multiply.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ⅓ yard of 44″+ wide cotton chenille or similar in a solid color
- ⅓ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight patterned cotton
- Small bag of polyester fiberfill
- ½ cup small dry beans (optional)
- TWO ½” black four-hole buttons
- ONE giant cotton pom pom for the tail in rainbow colors; or make your own, using our pom tutorial
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- Cotton embroidery floss in a soft pink for the mouth and nose
- Iron and ironing board
- Sharp scissors
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil or marking pen or chalk
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Hand sewing needle
- Straight pins
- Large safety pin
Getting Started and Pattern Download
NOTE: All seam allowances for this project are ⅜”. We’re mentioning this upfront, because the majority of our projects here at Sew4Home use a ½” or ¼” seam allowance.
- FUNNY BUNNY PATTERN BINDER: Download and print out our SEVEN pattern pieces, which have been bundled into ONE PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each of the two pages in this PDF is ONE 8½” 11″ sheet. You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a 1″ guide on the page to insure the printout is to scale.
- Cut out all the pattern pieces along the solid lines: arms, body, face, foot, ear, base, and back/side of head. Set aside.
NOTE: Sometimes it’s easier to use the pattern pieces as templates to trace the shapes onto the back of the fabric, rather than trying to cut around small pieces of fabric pinned to paper. It also helps to cut small pieces from fabric that has been ironed with spray starch.
- From the chenille, cut the following:
TWO back/side head pieces
THREE body pieces
- From the cotton, cut the following:
TWO 3″ x 5″ rectangles for the legs
- Using your fabric pen, pencil or chalk, transfer the pattern marks and dots onto each fabric piece for: the ear placement on the face, the toe stitching lines, and the ear pleat lines. Also cut all notches indicated into the very edge of the fabric.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
NOTE: Another reminder that all seam allowances are ⅜”.
- Place one cotton ear onto one chenille ear, right sides together, and stitch both sides to a point.
- Turn right side out and press flat.
- Using the placement marks you made as your guide, pinch a pleat into the raw end of the ear to give it some dimension.
- Machine baste the pleat in place.
- Using the placement marks you made as a guide, pin the ear to the top edge of the face piece, right sides together (cotton sides together) and aligning the raw edges – so the point of the ear hangs down.
- Repeat to create and place the second ear.
- Place one cotton arm on one chenille arm, right sides together. Pin in place.
- Stitch all the way around leaving the short straight end (the top of the arm) open for turning.
- Turn right side out and press.
- Repeat for the second arm.
NOTE: Because we want a soft vintage look, we chose NOT to stuff Funny Bunny’s arms. We wanted the arms to hang close and floppy, right next to his body. If you want the arms to have more body and stick out from his sides, then stuff them lightly with the polyester filler at this point.
- Using the placement marks you made as a guide, return to the machine and stitch from the curved end of the arm in about 1″. These two short lines create Funny Bunny’s fingers.
- Repeat for the second arm. Set both finished arms aside.
Feet and legs
- Place one cotton foot on one chenille foot, right sides together. Pin in place.
- Stitch all the way around leaving the short straight end (the back of the foot) open for turning.
- Turn right side out and press.
- Repeat for the second foot.
- As you did above for Funny Bunny’s ‘fingers’, use the placement marks you made as a guide and stitch two 1″ seams to create ‘toes’ on each foot.
- Turn in the back raw open edges of each foot and slip stitch closed. There is no stuffing in his feet.
- Find the two 3″ x 5″ rectangles of cotton you cut for the legs.
- Fold each leg in half to make a 1½” x 5″ long tube. Pin in place.
- Stitch along the 5″ side, leaving both ends open.
- Turn the leg tubes right side out and stuff LIGHTLY with the polyester fill.
NOTE: Funny Bunny’s legs are designed to dangle below him as he sits, so we DID want these to have some dimension (unlike his arms as mentioned above).
- Turn in the raw edges of ONE open end of each leg. Finger press in place.
- Pair one foot to each leg. Make SURE the leg seam is positioned along the center of the tube (like a pair of fancy silk stockings). This seam should be matched to the middle of the back of the foot piece. The back of the leg ‘tube’ should be flush with the back of the foot. The front of the leg ‘tube’ should curve over the top of foot just a bit. You want the front of the legs to have some rounded dimension. Check again to make sure all your raw edges are turned in. Pin in place.
NOTE: Stop and test. Set the legs down on the table to BE SURE that when the back seams of the legs are flat on the table and Funny Bunny’s toes are pointing up. It would make him very sad to have his feet sewn on backwards.
- Slip stitch Funny Bunny’s feet securely in place all the way around.
- Flatten the other raw-edged end of each leg and, making SURE that leg seam is still positioned down the back, like that pair of fancy silk stockings, stitch the end closed on each leg. We stitched across both legs at once.
- Find the two back/side head pieces in the chenille. Place the pieces right sides together and pin in place, matching the notches and taking note (based on your pattern piece markings) of which side is the center back, which is the neck and which is the chin.
- Stitch together along ONLY the center back and the chin sides. Press both seams open. Here are all the pieces you need to collect for Funny Bunny’s head. The head pieces are shown stitched together, but yet to be pressed. We also un-pinned the ears from the face (shown above) to make things easier to work with.
- Using your original placement dots as your guide, match the chin seam to the point of the nose on the face. Pin the curved edge of the sides to the face piece.
- Stitch from the point of the nose up one side of the curve of the face. Sew slowly and carefully in a smooth curve. Stop and back tack.
- Reposition to stitch from the point of the nose up the other side of the curve of the face. Stop and back tack.
NOTE: We’ve used a dark thread so you can see our seams; you should use matching thread.
- Using your original placement dots as your guide, re-pin the ears to the back of the face piece.
- Tuck the ears inside the head and back out the neck opening. This will allow you to line up the back of the face piece with the top of the head piece.
- Stitch across the top of the head, capturing the ears in the seam and keeping the back seam centered.
- Turn the head right side out and stuff firmly with the polyester fill.
- Using your hand sewing needle, stitch a line of basting stitches around the open neck edge of the head and pull gently to encourage the fabric to fold inward.
- Find your three body pieces: one in cotton and three in chenille.
- Fold each panel in half and snip a notch at the center of each bottom edge. The bottom edge is the wider of the two flat sides.
- You need to stitch all four panels together along the long sides to create a kind of tube. This will become the body.
- Place two chenille pieces right sides together and stitch one long seam.
- Take the third chenille piece and stitch it, right sides together, to one long side of the two-piece unit you just created.
- Take the cotton piece and stitch it, right sides together, to one side of the three-piece chenille unit. You now have four pieces stitched in a row: chenille, chenille, chenille, cotton.
- To create the final tube, match up the remaining long sides of the cotton and chenille, right sides together, and stitch. The cotton panel, now in the center, will be the tummy.
- Place the legs onto the body, matching up the raw bottom edge of the body tube with the flattened edges of the legs. The legs are hanging down inside the body. One leg should be centered over each cotton/chenille body seam. Machine baste the legs in position.
- Pin the body to the base piece, right sides together, matching the notches you just made to the pre-snipped notches on the base. Once pinned in place, you may need to make additional small notches in the body layer in order to more easily allow the fabric to curve into a neat oval to match the base piece.
- Stitch all around through all the layers.
- Turn right sides out and stuff firmly. We started with a layer of dried beans and then put the polyester filler over that. The beans help weight Funny Bunny so he can sit up more securely, but they are optional.
- Find Funny Bunny’s arms, and pin them to the neck edge of the body. Position each arm just slightly forward of the chenille side seams.
- Test the position of the arms by setting Funny Bunny’s head in position. Take a look and make sure the arms look realistic (well … realistic if you’re a stuffed bunny) and equal.
- Baste the arms in place by hand.
- Set the head back into position on the body, tucking in the raw edges. Pin in position. You can pin to a certain extent, but you’ll have to hold the head with one hand as you stitch.
- Double-thread your hand sewing needle with the best thread match possible (to both the cotton and the chenille). Attach the head to the body using a double-length of thread and EVEN slip stitches. Stitch around the neck twice to secure tightly.
NOTE: We used a common slip stitch to secure the head in position. The only difference from what you’re probably used to as a slip stitch is instead of working within two pre-folded pieces of fabric, we’re stitching to either side of two raw edges. The stitch itself works the same, but you need to be very diligent about keeping your stitches even. If you’re doing it correctly, it will look like a little ladder. When cinched tight, the ladder ‘rungs’ pull together. This will cause the raw edges to fold in, securing the two pieces together and hiding all but some tiny vertical stitches. If you choose a thread that best matches your fabric, you’ll barely notice the stitching.
- Hand stitch the large cotton pom pom in place for the tail.
- Hand stitch the buttons for eyes. We used contrasting thread as an accent to create a center eye highlight, like a pupil.
- For the nose and mouth, hand embroider a large ‘X’ as shown below and fill in the upper part of the X to form a nose triangle.
Project Concept: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation, Pattern Design and Instructional Editing: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever