Looking for a classic gift to make for mama and baby? Basil the Softie Bear is a simple design, and I think his best feature, by far, is the personalized patch on his backside that reads, “This Bear Belongs To: ________.” You fill in the blank with the new baby’s name and tada! — you have a one-of-a-kind gift made with love by you.
Download the Basil the Softie Bear templates here. Then, let’s begin…
1. Trace the bear pattern with a pencil in the center of a 9 1/2-by-11 1/2-inch piece of linen. Using three strands of floss — in the color of your choice — embroider a running stitch directly on your marked line.
2. Apply the face to the bear. I use wool felt for the eyes and nose, a cotton print for the mouth area, and stitch all these details on by hand with two strands of black thread.
Add a few stitches of white floss to each of Basil’s eyes to add dimension.
3. Sew together two pieces of backing fabric — each measuring 5-by-11 1/2 inches — leaving a 2-inch opening at the center. Press the seam open.
4. Before sewing together the back to front, attach the optional loop to hang Basil just about anywhere. Fold a 3 1/2-inch length of ribbon in half. Position the raw edges at the center of Basil’s head, a half inch above your embroidered stitches.
5. Turn the piece of linen over to the back side. Draw around the outline of the bear, approximately 1/4 inch outside the running stitch; this will be your sewing line. Now, pin the front piece to the backing, right sides facing. Sew along the line.
6. After sewing, trim away the excess fabric and clip all the curves before turning the bear right side out.
7. Turn the bear right side out. Ease out all the curves, and press it flat. Fill the shape with polyfill. I leave my softie bears quite soft and under stuffed on purpose, so they’re more like lovies than stuffed animals. Sew the opening closed using a slip stitch.
Now all that’s left is adding the personalized patch to the back.
8. Cut a rectangle of linen to 2 1/4-by-3 3/4 inches. Fold and press the edges by 1/4 inch on all sides. Embroider a running stitch around the patch. Using the template, stitch the words, “This Bear Belongs To:” with one strand of floss. Stitch the baby’s name using two strands — preferably in your own handwriting to make it more personal. I think the patch is most charming if it’s not too neat and tidy, and left perfectly imperfect.
Lastly, sew the patch to the back of Basil the Softie Bear using a whip stitch. Finished!
Photo credits: Amy Sinibaldi