How to Sew Stuffed Animals

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Things You'll Need

  • Template
  • Photo editing software (optional)
  • Felt or other fabric
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Cotton batting

A hand-sewn stuffed animal is a soft, cuddly gift that is reasonably easy to make and one the recipient will cherish for being one of a kind. Hand-sewing stuffed animals is straight forward, requiring only two basic stitches. First, the back stitch is a secure stitch used for most of the animal that won't come apart even with rough play. Second the slip stitch allows you to stuff and close the stuffed animal without an unsightly seam. These stuffed animals make such an easy project, you may end up with a small plush zoo before too long.

Before You Sew

Download a template of the stuffed animal of your choice. Hundreds can be found online.

Scale the templates to the size you'd like your stuffed animal to be either with photo editing software or with the scale box on your print window. Print out the templates and cut them out.

Cut the basic shapes of the stuffed animal from the fabric, following the scaled paper templates.

The Back Stitch

Begin the back stitch with your needle and thread behind the fabric. Pull the needle through both pieces of fabric toward you, about 1/8 inch from the edge.

Make a small stitch backward on the stitching line, only pushing the needle through about halfway.

Press the tip of the needle through the fabric a little in front of the first stitch, continuing the line. To keep the stitches consistent, pull the needle through at a point about equal length of the back stitch.

Moving backward, push the needle through the original stitch and pull the needle through the fabric again a little further down the line. Repeat the stitch until you've closed off about 3/4 of the stuffed animal, leaving a hole for the stuffing.

Pull the figure inside out, hiding the back stitching. Fill the figure with the cotton batting until the figure is full and can stand on its own.

The Slip Stitch

Fold the edge of the fabric at the open seam. It should fold easily at the line formed by the back stitching, about 1/8 inch from the fabric's edge. Crease the fold.

Begin the stitch by inserting your needle under the crease on one side of the seam. Pull the needle through the fabric on the crease.

Insert the needle through the crease on the opposite side of the seam. Pull the thread through.

Pull the needle out through the crease about 1/8 inch down the seam, and push it through the crease on the opposite side. Repeat about every 1/8 inch.

Tie off the thread and cut the excess.


  • You can double back on the slip stitch to make a sturdier seam.