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Easy doll armature for Bess Bear Plushie

bess bear with doll armature in yoga pose

Movable joints, check. Bendy Limbs, check. Super soft, super kawaii, check.

Skip to how I made the easy doll armature

Why a poseable doll, all of a sudden?

dolls
My first doll armature experiment was done onto a mini human doll.

Actually, I wanted to do a free plushie plush tutorial for this post. However, as you can tell from the harsh lighting & deep shadows, I was doing it rather late, and yes, I messed up.

As a result, I’m not sure if it is still a good tutorial. So I’ve decided to change the blog post title to my first easy doll armature instead. Because that part I think I have enough photos of.

Anyway, I’m still gonna walk you through with whatever photos I have in the plush making process.

Make the bear

So, here is the quick run through, without going into much detail as the focus is really on making the wire easy doll armature.

If you’re a complete beginner, or if I lost you anywhere, please drop me a note. I will try to update the instructions for your better understanding.

  1. Cut the fabric according to the sewing pattern. I used an old cotton cami.

Layout paper pattern on chosen fabric (recycle old tee shirt here)

  1. Sew around the ears, leaving the flat bottom opened for stuffing

First, sew along the circular side of the pattern piece, leavig the straight side opened for stuffing later.

  1. Sew arms & legs, leaving a gap for stuffing

  1. Sew head gusset to the 2 main left and right (head + body) pieces

 

  1. Clip & notch all seam allowance on all pieces

Sewing Bess bear’s plushie features

Ears

Stuff the seam allowance of the flat side into the ears, like a pita, a tiny, tiny, pita.

Sew into position on the doll head.

bear plushie ears and eyes completed. They are now ready to be stitched to the bear head.

Eyes

The bear’s skin fabric is a spandex cotton mix I chose for its softness.

I imagined in a gushy tone:

” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a soooper soft and very huggable bear I can rub my big human face against and feel loved?”

Yes, wonderful indeed. Until I realise I can’t do my favourite free hand embroidery on it.

I mean you can put in a button eye or even a big knot, but the way I hand-stitch eyes with too many stabs of my needle, this soooper soft bear is gonna suffer numerous holes on its face.

No buttons. Baby, it’s not you, it’s me.

I have small pieces of felt lying around, I could compromise by hand-stitching the doll eyes to the felt, before attaching the felt to the face.

So, that I did.

To the felt circle, I added a row of loops. They were meant to be cut, to make eyelashes. Later, I though the circle lash looks really cute, so I left them as is.

Next.

 

Nose

Another piece of black felt cut into a small rectangle. I wanted the nose to follow the shape of the bear softie snout better. So, I shaped the rectangle nose with 2 tiny darts at the base.

sew a black rectangular felt piece to the face for a nose

Mouth

My favourite simple back stitch to form a shy smile, to complement the feminity of the fancy eyelashes.

Making the armature

As always, I use what I can forage from the mountain of materials I’ve decided will-be-useful-one-day.

What I used

  • Floral wires
  • Floral tape
  • Wire cutter

Found some floral wires lying around in the store room, left over from a party some years ago. As a hoarder, a creative, practical hoarder. I decided to use the wires for doll making.

The last time I found work gloves in the store room, I’ve also decided—strangely— to use them for doll making, but as a different creature, tutorial for download here.

What I did

  1. I made figure 8s in a size that fits into the limbs. The two 8s for the legs are bigger than that for the arms.

  1. Then I wrapped them with floral tape.

There are 2 reasons why I wrapped the wires.

First, I fear that with repeated twisting, the open ends of the wires may protrude from the plushie limbs. Second, the sticky tacky tape provides a good surface for the ply filling to cling to, so the wires do not slide around as much.

  1. Fill the 2 ends of each limb with a little filling material.

  2. Insert the wire figure 8. Bend it a little if you must. I did. Reshape after fully inserted.

  3. Fill the remaining space with more stuffing material.

  4. Sew the arms and legs to the main body using the movable joint method. I inserted the needle (with 4 threads)from inside the limb, coming out from the inside wall, facing the body, push the needle into the body, exiting on the opposite side, into the other limb in a mirror action. Repeat twice, that is a total of 3 times.

Sew the arm to the marked spot on the bear doll body

Pull the thread through the body to the opposite side. Repeat in the reverse order.

  1. Close all the opened seams with ladder stitch.
  2. And… DONE.

Most difficult step

As usual, I left the most head wrecking decision to the last.

Where do I place the eyes?

Anyway, I couldn’t decide. So I turned to one of my craft friends.

My friend’s name is fabric glue. I had about 10 seconds to move the eye around before the glue dries to a white film.

Using fabric glue to test position of the eye.

When the glue is somewhat dry, I then whip stitch the eyes to the head for a more secure bond.

Conclusion

The bear didn’t turn out anything like I expected it to. Well, actually I can’t even remember what I as expecting anymore because I made this bear plushie pattern quite a while ago.

bess bear plush doll cute face with big kawaii eyes bess bear softie with curled eyelashes

I had, and still am, having a lot of fun making him do

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