Friday, June 28, 2013

Tutorial--Eyes For A Stuffed Animal & The Ladder Stitch

Before I attach Penelope's head to her
body, I want to sew on her eyes.
I use glass eyes that have an attached loop,
just like the antique bears & animals.
I use a very long needle with a large eye and
 a long length of heavy waxed cord that's doubled.
 Any type of strong thread doubled will work.
Waxing your thread adds strength.

Mark where you want to place the eyes.
 My marks are down in the fur.
Insert the needle at the bottom on the head,
just to the edge of the joint disc.  Come out
where the mark is.

I enlarge this hole a bit with my sharp knitting
needle or wooden skewer, just enough
to allow the entire loop of the eye to go inside the head.
DON'T cut the fabric, gently spread the fibers.
If you want to change the placement of the eye, it's
easy to push the fibers back together and make
 a different hole.
Place the eye on the end of the needle and go
 back into the hole.
Come out next to the entry point.
One eye in place.

For the other eye.
Insert the same needle into the bottom of the
 head on the other side of the disc joint &
come out where the second eye is marked.
 Enlarge the hole.  Put the eye on the end of the
 needle and go back through the hole.
Come out next to the entry point.
Both eyes in place.

 Pull both threads, until you like the look of the eyes.
The eye on the left needs to be pulled in tighter.
Make a couple of secure knots.

 Cut the long threads.

 To hide your thread ends, re thread one double-thread,
 insert into the bottom of the head.  Come out
 any place on the head.
Pull tightly and snip the thread close to the fabric.
Do this with the other doubled thread end.
I use my needle nose pliers to help pull the thick thread.
 Attach the head to the body by finishing the joint
inside the body. (previous post)
If I am satisfied with the placement of the joints
I sew up the remaining seams of the body parts
with a ladder stitch.
Here is the ladder stitch done on a pretend
arm made out of flannel and bright blue
thread doubled , so you can easily
see how it's done.
  I have marked the seam line in the photo below,
just for reference.
 Start at one end.  Insert the needle underneath the
 fabric, along the seam line, close to where the prior
 seam stitching ends.
 Pull it through.
 Cross over to the other side.  Insert the needle
through the top of the fabric, on the seam line.
 Move the needle down the inside fold of the seam.
Come out about 1/4 inch away, on the seam line.
 Pull the thread through, leaving a very loose stitch.
 Cross over to the other side.  Insert the needle on
 the seam line, move the needle down the inside fold
of the seam.  Come out about 1/4 inch away on the
seam line.
 Leave a loose stitch.
Cross over and repeat.
See how it looks like a ladder?
Continue this crossing over & moving down the
 inside of the seam,

until you get to the end.
 I use the eye end of a large needle to push the
stuffing and seam edges down and pull the fur
up, as I tighten each stitch.  Start at the beginning.
To tie off the thread, insert the needle
Wrap a couple loops around the needle.
Pull the needle through.
Stick the needle back into the fabric next to the
 knot, come out anywhere.
Pull tightly
& cut the thread.
Finished seam.
 You can also tighten your stitches as you go.
When working with bulky fur, it seems to go
smoother for me if I do that last.
On Penelope's arm, the seam is virtually
invisible after I pick out the remaining fur that
was stuck in the seam.

Thank you ladies for your comments,
I'm glad you enjoy these lengthy silly
 tutorials of mine, but hopefully they help your
doll or animal making a bit easier.


  1. This WAS sew much fun! I have always used a "baseball" stitch I taught to AF trainees for survival equipment...this ladder stitch shows less, though. Have to give it a try. :~)

  2. Not silly at all!
    I have jointed necks but not arms and legs.
    I needed the review on how to do it.
    Thank you so much for the tutorials.

  3. Great instructions. I did learn how to put on the glass eyes with loops. All this information is so helpful when you are trying to do these things. It is very much appreciated.

  4. beautiful work i love your elephants hugs cathy


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