“Be veeeerrrrrryyyyy quiet… we’re making wabbits.” Our apologies to Mr. Elmer Fudd, and you are actually welcome to be just as noisy as you’d like when creating these Sweet, Soft, Stuffable Bunnies. Our classic stuffable critters are some of the most popular patterns here at Sew4Home. So when we started brainstorming with our friends at Shannon Fabrics about what projects to create for the fall and winter season, a new stuffed animal was at the top of the list. Introducing Lolly, Chester, and Flora – our trio of bunny pals. The same pattern was used to create all three, but each one has his/her own personality based on the type of Shannon Cuddle fleece used, the coordinating cotton for the ears and paws, and the bunny’s custom accessories. We’re particularly enamored of Chester’s bowtie.
Our bunnies were designed to have a vintage look and feel. As an accent to the gorgeous Cuddle fur, we added quilting cotton as a lining for the ears as well as the bottom of their feet. You want a petite motif in a muted color for the best look. Vintage bunnies are subtle creatures – a bit shy and retiring, never bold or brash.
We chose three very different finishes to show you a range of possibilities. Lolly, our teal bunny, features a solid Cuddle. There are over 130 colors of Solid Cuddle from which to choose. Lolly’s Teal Cuddle is a true blend of blue and green, rich and a little fancy. Lolly likes to be fancy, as you can tell by her stylish bow.
Flora shows off one of the many Cuddle Prints. Her Parisian motif is almost tone-on-tone, making it a lovely choice as an allover fur. The gathered lace collar around her neck is a little something Flora picked up from French street fashion.
Modeling the Luxe Cuddle collection is the dapper Chester. Not only is he quite handsome, his job is to let you see the difference between the finer nap of classic Cuddle and the deep nap of the Luxe.
The instructions and free pattern download focus just on the bunnies themselves. The accessories are up to your imagination to fit the personalities of your bunnies as well as possibly the bunny’s owner-to-be. Add a simple ribbon around the neck or include an entire bunny wardrobe.
If you’re new to working with luxury fleece, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that it’s easier to handle than you might think. In fact, it’s particularly forgiving thanks to the deep pile that conceals any less-than-perfect stitching. The main thing to keep in mind is to always make sure your nap is running in the same direction as you sew together the pattern pieces. For more information, check out our full tutorial on Sewing with Plush Fabric.
The signature bunny tails are fluffy yarn pom poms. We made ours with a Clover Pom Maker, but you could also buy a pre-made pom or make your own. You’ll see below that we suggest a chunky weight yarn for the very best bun bun bottom.
Black button eyes and a blush pink yarn nose complete each bunny’s face. We show you below how the button eyes are securely hand sewn through the head, running the thread back and forth several times for a tight finish, but we do always like to remind you that buttons may not be the best choice for very young children. Consider using black yarn or a appliquéing small black circles of felt as alternatives.
As a filler, we recommend a combination of polyester fiber fill and weighted filler beads. Links are provided below for our choices. This light/heavy combination is a great blend that keeps the bunnies squeezable soft but also gives them enough stability to sit quietly and wait for their owners to pick them up.
Our thanks to our friends at Shannon for providing all the gorgeous Cuddle fabric. For even more softness, check out all the beautiful substrates from Shannon Fabrics that you can find (or ask for!) at your favorite in-store or online retailer. We’re big, big fans of their super soft Cuddle and Luxe Cuddle, the fabulous traditional faux furs, and the stunning colors and designs in their Embrace® Double Gauze collection.
A shout out as well to Fat Quarter Shop who provided the sweet coordinating cottons. Shopping links are provided below for both the Cuddle and the cotton.
Our bunnies finish at approximately 12” high when sitting, which is how they prefer to spend the day.
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Supplies shown below are for ONE Bunny, however, you know bunnies… they prefer to have lots of friends. Any accessories; such as aprons, neck ribbons, bow ties, ruffled collars, etc. are your choice and would be in addition to the list below.
- ⅝ yard of 58/60” wide Cuddle fleece from Shannon Fabrics; we used Cuddle Solid in Teal; Cuddle Premier J’Adore Paris in Sand, and Luxe Cuddle Fawn in Cappuccino
- ⅜ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton in a coordinating petite print; we used three fabrics from Robert Kaufman: Flower Toss in Aloe from the Naptime collection by Diane Zimmerman (Teal Bunny - Lolly -- our original selection was sold-out prior to the post; the linked fabric is our suggested alternative), Flowers in Buff from the Terrarium collection by Elizabeth Hartman (Paris Bunny-Flora), Gerbera Toss in Garden from the Cozy Cotton Flannel collection (Luxe Bunny-Chester)
- ⅜ yard of 20”+ wide lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Shape Flex
- ONE 12 oz bag of polyester fiber filler; we used Poly-Fil® 100% Premium Polyester FiberFill
- TWO cups of weighted stuffing material; we used Poly-Fil® Poly-Pellets
- Sport weight yarn for the nose; we suggest a blush pink
- Chunky weight yarn for the tail in a neutral color to coordinate with your Cuddle; we used ivory
- Pom Pom Maker to yield an approximate 2½” pom (optional; you could make your own poms); we used a Large Clover Pom Pom Maker
- TWO ½” black 4-hole buttons
- All purpose thread to match Cuddle and cotton
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Pressing cloth
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Yarn needle
Getting Started & Pattern Download
- Download and print out our NINE pattern sheets that make up the required TWELVE pattern parts. These NINE sheets have been bundled into ONE PDF to make the download easier.
- You will assemble these into the FOUR finished pattern pieces as shown below: Bunny Front, Bunny Back, Bunny Foot, and Bunny Ear.
IMPORTANT: Each page within the PDF is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line.
- Butt together and tape (do not overlap) each set of pieces to create the full patterns.
- Fold the Cuddle in half (wrong sides together). Place the completed Bunny Front, Bunny Back, and Bunny Ear patterns on the folded Cuddle. Check the direction of the nap. The Back and Front pieces should have the nap running top to bottom, while the Ear should have the nap running toward the tip of the ear. Pin in place and cut out the pieces (two Fronts, two Backs, and two Ears).
- Leave the paper pattern in place for the Bunny Front and Bunny Back. You’ll use it for marking purposes within the construction process.
- Fold the cotton in half (wrong sides together). Place the completed Bunny Ear and Bunny Foot patterns on the folded cotton. Pin in place and cut out the pieces (two Ears and two Feet).
- From the lightweight interfacing, use the pattern pieces to cut TWO ears and TWO feet.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Fusing ears and feet
- Find the cotton ears and matching interfacing. Place the interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric. All edges should be flush.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Find the cotton feet and matching interfacing. Place the interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric. All edges should be flush. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place. Set the feet aside.
Create the ears
- Find the Cuddle ears and the fused cotton ear linings. Place the Cuddle and cotton right sides together. Pin along both sides and around the tip. Leave the base of the ear open.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and around the tip.
- Trim back the seam allowance to ¼” along both sides. Trim it back to ⅛” at the tip of the ear.
- Turn right side out through the open base of the ear. Use a long, blunt tool to smooth out the curves. A knitting needle, chopstick or point turner works well for this.
- Lightly press from the cotton side. Remember, Cuddle does not like the heat of an iron. For extra protection, even when pressing from the cotton side, you can use a pressing cloth.
- Using the fold line marking from the pattern, fold the base of each ear. The fold is not exactly in half; it’s important to use the pattern guide line to get the proper curve to the ear.
Create the Bunny body
- Find the Bunny Front pieces, which should still have the paper pattern attached.
- Use a pin to mark the point of the dart, and snip into the pattern at the interior lines of the dart.
- Snip into the pattern at the markings for the ear placement.
- Remove the pattern from the body pieces. Separate the two pieces.
- Fold the darts, using the marking pin and snips to get the proper stitching line.
- Stitch from the edge toward the point of the dart on the first ear. Repeat for the second ear.
- Cut through the fold toward the tip of the dart and open the seam. This flattens the dart and reduces bulk.
- Place the Bunny Front pieces right sides together and pin along the center front seam only.
- Sew with a ½” seam allowance, pivoting at the neck. When the seam is complete, clip into the corner of the neck.
- Repeat the steps for the Bunny Back, using the same techniques for the darts and the center seam. The only difference is that you will leave a 3”- 4” opening in the center back seam.
- Turn the Bunny Front and Bunny Back right side out and finger press the seam allowances.
Add the ears and stitch front to back
- Find the sewn Bunny Front and place it right side up on your work surface. Remember, the Bunny Front is the one with the complete seam (ie. no opening in the center of the seam).
- Align the ears to the marked clips on the Bunny Front.
- Remember, the ear fold is slightly off center. The shorter side of the fold goes against the right side of the fabric, with the ear placed between the snips and the opening of the ear facing down. Pin in place. You could also machine baste in place for added security.
- Match the Bunny Back to the Bunny Front, sandwiching the ears between the layers. Pin the pieces together from the bottom of the leg, up and around the paw, over head, down and around the second paw, and ending at the bottom of the opposite leg. Pin across the bottom of the legs, taking care to align the center seams of both layers. Both feet are open across their base. Don’t be afraid to use plenty of pins to keep the Cuddle secure.
- Using a ½” seam, stitch front to back, pivoting at each corner. Clip the corners and trim back seam allowances at the curves.
Insert the feet
- Find the cotton Bunny Feet, which should have their interfacing fused in place.
- Around the open bottom of both of the foot openings, clip into the raw edge of the fabric every ½”, taking care to keep the clips within the seam allowance.
- Fold the interfaced foot in half in one direction and then in half in the opposite direction, creasing lightly each time to mark the center point of each side of the foot. It’s a little like the four points of a clock face: 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00.
- Match two of the center creases on the foot insert to the seams of the open base of the foot. Pin at these center points first and then fill in around the entire foot insert. The clips in the open base allow you to ease the fabric around the foot insert as you pin it in place.
- Using a ½” seam, stitch around the foot insert. In the photo below, you can see how the clips in the Cuddle spread to allow for the proper seating.
- Repeat for the second foot.
- Remove all the pins, trim the foot seams to approximately ¼", and turn the Bunny right side out.
NOTE: This is similar to how you set any flat circle into a tube. It’s just a very small circle (really an oval) with the base of the foot being the tube. Check out our full tutorial for more information: Learn How to Insert a Flat Circle Into a Tube.
Stuffing the Bunny
- Our Bunnies are stuffed with a combination of polyester fiber fill and weighted stuffing. This gives them a nice weight so they sit easily but are still huggable soft.
- Start with the feet. First place an approximate baseball-sized handful of the polyester fiber filling into the foot, compacting it to fluff out the seams. You are inserting through the opening in the center back seam.
- Add ¼ cup of weighted stuffing beads. Place a second handful of the fiber fill over the beads to keep them in place. Repeat for the second foot, adding fiber to each foot until both are firmly stuffed.
- Next, stuff the paws, using about two tablespoons of weighted beads in each paw. Continue adding fiber fill until the paws are nicely filled out but not too firm.
- The head is stuffed after the paws, using only the polyester fiber fill. Stuff firmly, shaping and filling the nose and keeping the seams smooth. Continue stuffing the shoulders and arms, keeping the upper arms just lightly filled so they are flexible.
- Finally, fill the Bunny’s bottom. Start again with a large handful of fiber, working it into the legs and the bottom. Add one cup of weighted beads.
- Add additional fiber filler, which works to hold the beads at the bottom of the bunny. Keep adding fiber until the bottom of the bunny is firmly stuffed and smooth. The entire Bunny should take about 12 ounces of the polyester fiber fill.
- When the bunny is stuffed, hand sew the opening closed using a ladder stitch (also known as a slip stitch). Keep your stitches very small to insure no stuffing pokes out.
Completing the Bunny’s face
- Find the two black buttons. Hand stitch these button eyes in place, working from one side of the face toward the other side of the face, i.e. from one button through the Bunny’s head to the opposite button. Refer to the original pattern for best eye placement.
- Pull up on the thread slightly as you stitch to help shape the face. Work back and forth several times and then hand knot the thread under one of the eyes. Insert the needle through the back of the Bunny’s head, pull and clip the thread ends; they’ll recede back into the inside of the Bunny’s head.
- Thread a yarn needle with a single or doubled strand of the thin pink yarn (which you use will depend on the thickness of your yarn). Hand stitch, using long looped stitches, to form and fill in the shape of the Bunny’s nose. Refer to the original pattern for best nose placement.
- The Bunny’s tail is a yarn pom pom. We used the Clover Pom Pom Maker to form our approximate 2½” - 3” pom from a chunky acrylic yarn. You could, of course, make your own pom by hand or use a pre-made pom. If using this same type of yarn, bear in mind that it tends to be very “springy,” which can make it more of a challenge to tie when you pull it off the pom maker. We used a length of embroidery floss to securely tie the center of our poms.
- With the Bunny seated, position the pom at the base of the Bunny’s bottom and use the yarn needle to thread the tie ends through the bunny, taking a couple ½” stitches. Tie tightly and trim the ends, hiding them within the pom itself.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler