Collectable bears, patterns and kits by Angela



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Creating Eyes, glass, safety and embroidered

Eyes are the window to the soul and as soon as you add these to your bear, you will instantly see them come alive : )

The following are basic instructions if you haven't fitting glass, or safety eyes before.  I've also added a simple tut on embroidering eyes.  


Fitting safety and glass eyes


These are plastic with a strong locking nut that makes them impossible to pull out.   These (along with embroidered version) should always be used for younger children's soft toys.       

You will find two versions available, with either plastic or metal locking washers.  It is a matter of preference which you choose.  Some metal washers extend beyond the width of the eye and you may need to take this into consideration if you want to needle sculpt the face for example as the metal may get in the way of your stitching

Metal washers    Plastic safety eyes with metal washer Plastic safety eye with plastic washer  Plastic washer

1    Both types of safety eyes are fitted in exactly the same way, and before stuffing the head.

2    As the stems on safety eyes are thicker than glass eyes, you will need to make a small hole at each eye position.    This does not need to be large.   Use the very tip of a small pair of scissors (very carefully) or a small awl, or very tip of a seam ripper.   If the fabric is likely to fray, dab a small amount of fabric glue on the hole.

3   Gently push and wriggle the stem into the head.    Check that your bear is looking out at the world correctly before fitting the locking washer (once in place, these cannot be removed !)

Incorrect    plastic safety eye with washer being fittedplastic washer correctly in place  Correct

4   Push the washer down firmly over the stem (I recommend placing the eye down on soft fabric to avoid scratching the surface as the washer can take some strength to get in place).  Make sure you have the grip facing thlue e correct way (the applies to both plastic and metal washers)  The pink pic above is wrong, blue is correct : )

5  Keep pushing down until the washer will move no further.   It should sit really tightly against the eye (fur or fabric between, of course : )    The eye itself should have no wobble at all once correctly in place.



Do remember these are not suitable for younger children's soft toys.

Glass eyes will have a small wire loop at the back.  You will need a good strong thread to attach these, able to take a large amount of strain without breaking.  Specialist thread for bear making is available with a waxed surface for extra grip but you can also use upholstery thread, nylon (non-elastic) jewellery thread or even fishing line.

Glass eyes

1   Fit glass eyes AFTER stuffing the head.    First we need to attach our thread to the glass eye.   Loop the thread in half and push the thread loop through the eye's wire loop.     

attaching glass eyesLooping thread through wire at back

2    Take both ends of the thread through the THREAD loop.

attaching thread to glass eyeSecuring glass eye onto thread

3    Pull both ends and the eye should be centered securely on your thread.   Use a pair of tweezers or small pliers (those used for jewellery making work well) and gently pinch the wire loop to make this easier to thread through your bear's head.

4   Use a needle long eno  ugh to go through the bear's head.   Take the thread all the way through the head.   You should be able to push and wriggle the wire at the back of the eyes into the head, between the fur's backing threads, without making a hole.   Push the eye gently into position if it needs a little encouragement.    You can achieve a different look to your bear, depending upon where you exit.   This can either be at the back of the head, under the chin (as close to the joint as you can get) or come out at an ear.  

5   The threads from each eye should come out just 2 or 3mm from each other.  Leave them both hanging, ready for knotting.

6   When both eyes are in place, tie a half knot using both sets of thread and gently pull until both eyes are sitting snugly against the head.  Check that your bear is looking fine, then complete the knot (keeping the tension, so neither eye can move or loose).   Add two or three more knots for good measure but do not cut the threads yet.

7   Re-thread the ends of each thread onto your needle and take them back through the head.  Exit away from the knotting, pull and snip the threads close to the head.   they should spring back inside, neatly and safely hidden 



These are fine for children's toys and work well  if you are using cotton fabric to make a soft toy.

Use a satin stitch on larger characters, varying the length as you work away from the center to create a circle.  You would keep the stitches closer together than my diagram below, of course  : )    

embroidered eye


You can also create beautiful eyes with "mixed media", that's felt shapes, a little embroidery and optional pencil shading - see below : )

mixed media eyes

Begin with a white felt oval for the "eye white", then use satin stitch to embroider a round pupil.    

Stitch a half moon felt shape overlapping the top 1/3rd or 1/2 of the eye.  Then embroider a long satin stitch following the bottom edge of the eye-lid (this can extend a little beyond to suggest eye lashes : )

Use a soft artist quality colouring pencil to shade over the top of the lid (optional)