Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Velveteen Rabbit Sew Along Day 1: Fabric and Supplies

Welcome to Day 1 of the Velveteen Rabbit Sew Along. Today we'll be talking about one of my favorite things: fabric! We'll also talk about the other supplies you'll need to make your rabbit.

The Velveteen Rabbit Pattern is made for a medium-weight woven fabric. This is mostly for durability and to help hold the stuffing firmly in place. However, you can still make your bunny out of a stretchy or lighter weight fabric-- you just need to underline it or add a layer of interfacing to your fabric, and we'll talk about that on Day 2.

You'll need 1/2 yard of fabric for the body, then another fat quarter or 1/2 yard of fabric for the belly and inner ears. These could be the same fabric or contrasting fabrics. 

Velveteen is technically an imitation velvet that is a short pile woven fabric. I have yet to find a reliable source of true velveteen fabric-- many of the "velveteen" fabrics being sold seem to be knits of varying composition and quality. 

Far more common are cotton velour fabrics, and this is what I've made many of my samples from. Cotton velour is comfortable against the skin, relatively durable, and comes in a wide variety of colors. It is a knit fabric so you'll need to underline or interface to stabilize the fabric.

plum velour - forest velour - purple velour - pink velour

I'm very partial to natural and organic fabrics for children's toys. Here are some lovely options in sherpa, fleece, and organic velour. 

cotton sherpa - natural french terry - cotton fleece - organic cotton velour

It is very fun to make bunnies in patterned fabrics! The top right is a cotton flannel, and I think it would make a wonderfully cuddly bunny. A medium weight flannel or twill fabric would also be perfect since there would be no stretch and it would be nice and durable. If you choose a lighter quilting weight cotton, you would want to underline or interface for strength.

plaidfloral - dots - stripes

Furry or fluffy fabric would also be a wonderful choice. You would want to choose something with a short pile so that it wouldn't overwhelm the bunny or be too difficult to work with. 

beige sherpa - faux sheepskin - spots - silver fur

You'll also need some other supplies...


Hair Canvas | Fashion Sewing Supply's Pro-Sheer Elegance Medium Interfacing

The ears of the Velveteen Rabbit are stiffened with interfacing. While some vintage models are wired, I choose to design the pattern with safety in mind. If you are making a bunny for display, feel free to experiment with wire!

You'll want a relatively stiff interfacing to help keep the ears up. I use sew in hair canvas, which can be found here or here or might be available at your local fabric store. You could also use Peltex Ultra Firm or a similar heavy interfacing, either sew in or fusible. You only need 1/4 of a yard. 

If your fabric is light weight or stretchy, you will want 1 yard of either a light weight fabric to use as an underlining or a light-mid weight fusible interfacing. 

Cotton muslin works nicely as underlining-- it is cheap, natural, and durable. You could also use any light woven fabric-- repurposed shirting fabric would also be a great option. 

If you want to use a fusible interfacing to support your fabric, choose a mid-light weight fusible. My favorite all-round interfacing is this one from Fashion Sewing Supply, but you could also use something such as this Pellon interfacing that should be available at your local fabric store. 


You'll need 12mm safety eyes, I usually use brown ones. If you haven't used these before, they are very easy to install and are very secure. They also look convincingly like the eyes on antique stuffed animals. I usually buy mine locally, but you can also get them on Amazon.


You'll need some stuffing for your bunny. The most readily available and easy to use stuffing is Polyfil, which should be available at your local craft or fabric store.

I strongly prefer to stuff my toys with wool. It does cost more than polyfill. But wool is a natural, re- newable resource. It is hypoallergenic and is often a bedding choice for allergy sufferers since it resists bacteria and dust mites and has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. It creates a toy that warms to a child’s body and has a satisfying firmness.

If you need more convincing, read this article about wool stuffing by one of my favorite doll makers. 

Where to get wool? The best source on the east coast of the US is West Earl Woolen Mills. No website, you have to call them. Other places: Reggies Dolls and Weir Crafts. You will need 1 lb. 

Other natural fill choices include cotton, bamboo, and kapok. I haven’t tested these options, but if you have these fills available, feel free to experiment. 


The rabbit is weighted to provide a natural feel and to help it stand upright. 

To sew the weight bags, you'll need 1/4 yard of a woven fabric, cotton muslin or similar.

For the weight, I use ground walnut shells. You can buy them at your local pet store (they are used as bedding for reptiles) or here. You can even get them scented. You will only need about 1 cup of ground walnut shells. 

If nut allergies or washability are a concern, you can use poly pellets, find them here or here. You only need about 1 cup of pellets. 

Preparing your fabrics

Make sure to prewash all of your fabrics, including the fabrics you will use as underlining and weight bags. I generally wash all of my fabrics on cold and tumble dry on hot. For delicate fabrics or wool, I usually hand wash or machine wash on gentle and air dry. 

You might want to pre-wash your interfacing, if it is not already pre-shrunk. For most interfacings, you can soak them in warm water and air dry. 

That's it for today! Tomorrow we'll assemble the PDF and start cutting. 

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