Add the Eyes
The pattern suggests using 12mm safety eyes. A young child shouldn't be able to easily pull them out and swallow them, and they won't break like traditional glass eyes. I usually use brown eyes, but pink eyes could also work, especially if you are making a white bunny!
Here is a video showing you how to attach safety eyes to your rabbit. Or, scroll down for a description and pictures.
Decide where you want to place your eyes. Transfer the eye markings from the pattern, then lightly stuff the head and place pins with colored heads at the placement points. Adjust the location of the eyes as necessary.
When you are happy with placement, remove the stuffing and make a tiny hole where you want to place the eye. You can use your seam ripper to poke a hole or you can cut a very small X with small scissors.
Push the rounded portion of the eye into the hole, then turn the bunny inside out.
Place the washer portion of the eyes onto the post. Press it down firmly, and the eye should be secured.
Make the Weight Bags
Sew around the edges of the muslin bags, leaving an opening for stuffing. You don't need to turn them right side out.
Use a funnel to fill the weight bag with your weighting material (I'm using ground walnut shells, but you could also use poly pellets). Leave some space... they should feel sort of squishy like a bean bag, not hard and dense.
Close the weight bags by folding the edge over and machine stitching over the fold to secure it.
Stuff the Head
Now it's time to stuff your bunny! We'll start with the head. Watch the video or follow along below...
If you are working with poly fill, there really isn't much of a trick... just stuff the head until you achieve a firm, but still huggable density.
If you are working with wool, then I have a few tips. If you just stuff wool in without any method, it can get sort of lumpy and have an inconsistent feel.
To get the wool to make a nice smooth, dense head, you want to make a tight ball from your wool. I usually start with a core, which can be either a dense ball of wool or a ball of cotton scrap fabric.
Then, tear your wool into strips and wrap them tightly around this core. Keep wrapping in multiple directions until you have a round or oblong ball about the size of the rabbit's head. Stuff the ball into the head of the rabbit. Use a little extra stuffing to pad out the nose.
Stuff the Body
Before you stuff the body, place the small weight bags into the rabbit's paws. You can add a little stuffing behind the weight bags, but leave the joint unstuffed so that the paws hang down a little at a natural angle.
Then, stuff the body. If you are using poly fill or something similar, just stuff it right in there. If you are using wool, make a fabric scrap core of about 4 inches by 2 inches, then wrap 6 inch strips of wool tightly around your core to make a cylinder. Keep wrapping until your wool cylinder is about 6-8 inches in diameter... or just small enough to compress down and fit into the hole you have left for stuffing. Use extra stuffing to fill in the belly and back and any soft spots. You want the rabbit to feel relatively firm because wool will compress over time.
Stuff the weight bag base into the very bottom of the rabbit. Fill out the feet and any gaps with more wool.
Hand stitch the opening closed with a ladder stitch.
Embroider the Nose
Use 2 or 4 strands of thread or embroidery floss to embroider the nose.
A simple suggestion of a nose works best.
I usually do the embroidery after the bunny is stuffed. To knot the tails, leave a tail when you make your first stitch, then finish close to this tail and tie the two strands together with a square knot. Take all of the ends and pull them back through the bunny and cut them. This will hide the ends inside the stuffing.
And... we're done!
Pat yourself on the back and enjoy your creation, or revel in the joy of giving a handmade toy to some very special young person.
Share your creations in Instagram with #unlikelyvelveteenrabbit. I always love seeing what you make!