T-shirt to teddy bear refashion

Upcycle a t-shirt into an adorable teddy bear with this free teddy bear sewing pattern designed by Jennie Jones

How to make a teddy bear

Cuddle up with Jennie Jones’ simple T-shirt teddy, which can be sewn by hand or machine. It’s the perfect quick-sew project if you’re looking for something to make in just one evening.


For this project, we’ve chosen a refashioning theme – take a comfy soft T-shirt and turn it into a toy! It’s perfect for a last minute Christmas present.

Designer Jennie says: “I’ve used a T-shirt to make this quick, simple, sleepy bear, but it would also be great to use old baby grows to make a little softie for your child to keep as a handmade family heirloom.

If you are going to give it to a little one, it would be safer to leave out the felt scraps and stitch on the detailing instead.”

Read on to find Jenny’s free tutorial for how to turn a t-shirt into a teddy toy.

How to sew a T-shirt teddy

You will need

  • T-shirt
  • Felt scraps
  • Toy stuffing or wadding
  • Basic sewing kit
  • Templates: Download our issue 11 sewing pattern sheet to find the template for this project

How to make your teddy toy

Step one: Turn the T-shirt inside out, then pin on your bear template. Cut 5mm (14in) outside the pattern for a seam allowance, through the front and back. Pin together.

Step two: Sew along the outside edge of your bear, using a zigzag stitch and leaving a 4cm (158in) gap on one leg for turning. Stitch around the bear again, using a straight stitch this time for added strength.

T-shirt teddy bear project step 1

Step three: Turn the bear right side out and stuff quite firmly. Turn the excess fabric at the turning gap to the inside and slip stitch the opening closed.

T-shirt teddy bear project step 2

Step four: Cut a 4x6cm (158x238in) scrap of felt. Pinch this in the middle and fold a T-shirt scrap around the centre to make a bow, and sew. Stitch the bow onto your bear.

T-shirt teddy bear project step 3

Step five: Following the template for positioning, sew on a felt nose. For the eyes and mouth, make one long stitch for each and work loops over to make them curved.

T-shirt teddy bear project step 4