Not sure which bear to make?
Which teddy bear is easiest to sew?
Which FFF bear pattern is the BEST?
OK, let’s talk BEARS!
First up we have a detailed description of each specific bear pattern. After this I have answered the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) I get asked about comparing my teddy bear patterns.
Descriptions of Each Bear:
Here’s a rundown of differences between the Funky Friends Factory bear patterns:
- Honey Teddy
- Calico Signature Bear
- Panda Ning
- Preston Polar Bear
- Izzy Insomniac Bear
- Kawaii Teddy Bear
- Melody Memory Bear
- Keep Me Keepsake Bear
- Ben the Beginner Bear
1. Honey Teddy
Size: 13″/33cm (in length).
Here is a pic of me holding Honey Teddy so you can get an idea of her actual size.
This was the 1st Teddy Bear Pattern I designed back in 2005…. wow, that feels like another lifetime!
Honey Teddy is a good bear to start with because you can get the pattern for FREE – if you sign up for the Funky Friends Factory Newsletter and I will send you this pattern as a thank you gift! She also comes with a video to give you a quick overview of how she comes together. You’ll learn how to properly sew a snout with opposing curves, which you’ll want to know for (Keepsake Bear, Izzy, Panda Ning and Preston Polar Bear). I designed Honey Teddy to be lying on her tummy, with her ‘cute little bottom’ in the air, because I hadn’t seen a pattern like that before… so she does not sit up like other teddy bears! Her “floppy” arms and legs are sewn “in the seam,” which is the easiest attachment method for beginners and makes them BABY-SAFE. Honey is a small-ish bear which makes her a great toy for fitting into a shoe box for the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child. Some first-time toy sewers find her easier to sew if you scale the pattern up to 120%. Honey was designed as a toy for a baby, so she’s a smaller scale than the other bears and can be TOTALLY BABY-SAFE if you embroider the features or use felt for her eyes and nose.
2. Calico Signature Bear
Size: 12″/30cm (sitting) and 16″/40cm (standing).
Here is a pic of me holding Calico Bear so you can get an idea of her actual size.
Calico Signature Bear has been a popular “classic” bear for many years!
Calico Bear has large pattern pieces that most beginners find easy to manage BUT he is button-jointed, which some people find takes a bit of practice. I think it’s a bit of a balancing act to hold the arms and legs in place as you attach them. It’s important to get his limbs tight enough (this often depends on what type of thread or needles you use to do the jointing) but the jointing process itself is simple (there’s a blog post on jointing if you need more pictures HERE ). Due to the joints he is NOT baby-safe. He’s a big bear and popular for making memory bears, keepsakes, and signature toys.
3. Panda Bear Ning
Size: 10″/26cm (sitting).
Here is a pic of me holding Panda Ning so you can get an idea of her actual size.
Panda Ning is looking up at you and asking for hugs! There’s a removable baby bottle included in the pattern for nurturing play and Ning has BABY-SAFE (not jointed) arms and legs and her face is BABY-SAFE too because her face is done with felt. Ning is a sitting bear like Melody with legs “fixed” in place, but her arms are “floppy” and easily sewn in the neck seam like Keepsake Bear. If you want to try both techniques in one pattern, this bear will work for you. Ning‘s face has a defined circular “snout” like Izzy, Keepsake Bear and Honey Teddy (you can watch the free Honey Teddy video to learn how to sew a snout like this if it’s new to you). This funky panda doesn’t have to be confined to just black and white fabrics: pick two coordinating colors for contrast, two shades of the same color for a hip tone-on-tone look, or even substitute a tiny patterned print instead of the white.
4. Preston Polar Bear
Size: 10″/25cm (sitting) and 15″/38cm (standing).
Here is a pic of me holding Preston Polar Bear so you can get an idea of his actual size… he has “sewn in legs” that can swing down, so he can sit and stand.
Preston Polar Bear has BABY-SAFE (not jointed) arms and legs and can sit in an upright position like Melody or Panda Ning, but all his limbs are “floppy” like Izzy or Keepsake Bear and easily sewn “in the seam.” This construction method makes his limbs easier than Melody for some people, and the unusual orientation of the limbs in this pattern give it lots of fun movement. Preston’s long snouty nose shape is unique among the bears and a great space (along with his ears) for adding a fun color contrast fabric. (You can use the free Honey Teddy video linked above to learn how to sew the circular end of Preston’s nose.) With his chubby body and upright stance, Preston is very huggable and works well as a “bedtime” toy for kids to sleep with at night. Don’t forget to tie on his fleece scarf so he’s warm. Preston can be TOTALLY BABY-SAFE if you embroider his eyes and remove his scarf.
5. Izzy Insomniac Bear
Size: 8½”/22cm (sitting) and 15″/38cm (standing).
Here is a pic of me holding Izzy Insomniac (AND Sleepy Sheepie) so you can get an idea of her actual size.
Izzy Insomniac Bear also has BABY-SAFE (not jointed) arms and legs. Her fun “floppy” limbs are sewn “in the seam” like Keepsake Bear. You can make Izzy TOTALLY BABY-SAFE if you embroider the features or use felt for her eyes and nose. Personally, I think she has a vintage bear look (from the 1940s maybe?) and is very huggable. Izzy has fewer pieces overall than Melody and Keepsake Bear and thinner limbs. She is a thinner bear overall and smaller than the bears listed above. Since she’s often up late, she comes equipped with patterns for a blankie and “sleepy sheep” friend (find an extra KNITTED version of the Sleepy Sheep pattern HERE) .
6. Kawaii Kuties Easy Teddy Bear
Size: 12″ / 31cm (standing).
I don’t have a pic of me holding the Kawaii Teddy Bear BUT here is a pic of my cat disrupting the Kawaii toys photoshoot so you can get an idea of their size! LOL
This cute little Kawaii Teddy Bear was inspired by a trip to Japan. I designed a whole range of Kawaii Animals with over-sized heads, tiny bodies and large eyes to create a typical “kawaii” face. This is an easy pattern because the toy is flat (2 dimensional, like a pillow). It is a perfect first toy sewing project for a beginner because it’s QUICK and FUN to make and a lot of sewing teachers tell me its a great pattern for kids learning to sew. The Kawaii Teddy Bear can be TOTALLY BABY-SAFE if you don’t use safety pin for the diaper/nappy!
7. Melody Memory Bear
Size: 12″ / 31cm (sitting).
Here is a pic of me holding Melody (x 2) so you can get an idea of her actual size.
Melody Memory Bear is VERY popular. Unlike the mobile, jointed limbs of Calico Bear, Melody has arms and legs “fixed” in place so she stays in a seated position. Some people find her arms a challenge on a first attempt, but others have no problem with her on a first sew. Melody has BABY-SAFE (not jointed) arms and legs and you can make her TOTALLY BABY-SAFE if you embroider the features or use felt for her eyes and nose. This pattern contains information about using interfacing, as Melody was designed to showcase multiple fabrics as a memory bear or keepsake bear. She’s a large bear!
8. Keep Me Keepsake Bear
Size: 12″/30cm(sitting) and 18″/45cm (standing).
Here is a pic of me holding the final prototype (No. 10!!!!) of the Keep Me Keepsake Bear so you can get an idea of her actual size.
The “Keep Me” Keepsake Bear was designed especially for personalization and in response to design requests from keepsake makers. Her “floppy” yet BABY-SAFE limbs make her a compromise between Calico and Melody. She has arms and legs sewn “in the seam” to make them easier to sew for those that find Melody’s arms a challenge – or if you just want a floppy limbs look! You can make her TOTALLY BABY-SAFE if you embroider the features or use felt for her eyes and nose. The single piece front tummy panel is great for embroidered details or showing off a special piece of fabric or part of a garment for a keepsake bear(memory bear) but it is rounded, so you’ll need to practice sewing curves if you’re used to straight piecing only… but most stuffed animal patterns will require curves 😊. I’ve not heard anyone say Keepsake Bear was a difficult sew. I designed certain parts of the bear especially for personalization via embroidery machine or heat transfer vinyl (HTV, as cut with a Cricut or similar machine): with large flat areas on the footpads, arms, and tummy inset panel. The pattern even shows you exactly where to place/center a standard 4 in/10 cm embroidery machine hoop on these pieces so there’s no guessing needed. The sides of the bear can also be embroidered. Like Melody, this pattern contains information about interfacing clothing fabrics. People are generally surprised at how large the Keepsake Bear is, standing at 45cm/18 inches (the height of an American Girls doll or similar doll).
9. Ben the Beginner Bear
Size: 30cm (12inches) from table to top of headl!
Here is a pic of me holding Ben the BEGINNER Bear so you can get an idea of his actual size.
Ben the BEGINNER Bear is the pattern I designed to be especially easy for people who have never sewn a bear before.
He includes the most popular features of Melody Memory Bear (chubby & huggable with a sitting posture that won’t fall over) with the benefits of the Keep Me Keepsake Bear (easy arms, a snout, and a large tummy space without a seam down the middle) and the large pattern pieces of Calico Bear. If you love Melody but struggle with her arms, Ben is the Bear for you!
This pattern features extra-detailed photo tutorial instructions for concepts that may be new to you, such as how to sew a dart, opposite curves, and an easy bear smile. Even if you’re an experienced sewer, Ben is a great option for keepsake makers because you can fit so many custom options on his pieces. Ben’s “no center seam” tummy is the largest tummy space on any of my bear designs (a 5in square embroidery machine hoop easily fits on the tummy). Because this space doesn’t have a seam down the middle, it’s perfect for featuring Monograms, baby clothes details, birth stats and logos/designs from the front of a T-shirt.
Make Ben with a T-shirt logo on his tummy for a FUN gift to go with a T-shirt quilt!
Ben the BEGINNER Bear has guide marks on the TUMMY PATTERN PIECE and the FOOT PADS for easy centering of fabric details! If you have a heat-transfer vinyl cutting machine (like a Cricut) or an embroidery machine, you can use the 4 inch square grid markings on the FOOT PADS and the 5 inch square guide on the TUMMY PATTERN PIECE to perfectly position your fabric. (The single piece TUMMY is the largest tummy space on any of my bear designs – a 5 inch square embroidery machine hoop easily fits on the TUMMY).
If you use eyes that are embroidered, felt, or heat transfer vinyl, Ben is BABY SAFE.
Have you picked a favorite?
NOT yet? Maybe the FAQ section will help?
Here are the answers to the 9 most frequently asked questions about the bears…
- What is the EASIEST Bear?
- What is the BEST Bear for Beginners?
- How BIG are the Bears?
- Which Bears are best for Cricut / Embroidery Machine designs?
- Which Bears are best for making keepsakes from clothing?
- Can I fit a T-shirt logo on the bear’s tummy?
- Melody’s arms are hard for me. Which bears have “Easy arms”/ limb attachments?
- Which bears are baby-safe?
- Best Bear for YOU?
1. What is the Easiest Bear?
This is the most common question I get, but the hardest to answer – because I don’t think there IS an answer!
WHY? Because everyone
has their OWN OPINION!
We all have different sewing backgrounds, different personal likes & dislikes – so this is just MY HUMBLE OPINION, and you decide…
I specifically designed Ben the Beginner Bear to be easiest, but it will ultimately be up to you to decide!
For example, some people find jointing limbs (Calico Signature Bear) easier than sewing on arms, while others are the total opposite and prefer “sewn in the seam” limbs (Ben the Beginner Bear, Keep Me Keepsake Bear, Polar Bear, Panda Baby Ning, Izzy Insomniac Bear, Honey Teddy).
If you need a video in addition to the step-by-step photo tutorial, there’s one for Calico Signature Bear (it’s available for certain time periods during the year) in our Facebook group – the Funky Friends Factory Patterns Fan Club. Honey Teddy isn’t the easiest bear, but she is a free pattern and has a video HERE that is always available to the public.
If you’re new to sewing toys, you’ll benefit from the FREE toy-making course (with a fun free pattern) HERE .
2. Best BEAR For Beginners?
While beginners have had success with all of the patterns (see the collage below), these bears may be easiest for those new to sewing toys: Ben the Beginner Bear (designed for beginners, extra tips in the pattern, large pieces, no joints), Calico Signature Bear (large pieces, jointing process is much easier for some people than limb attachment seams, he has a video available in our Facebook group), Honey Teddy (not an “easy level pattern,” but he has a public video on the main page at). Note: if you’ve never sewn a toy, try the free toy-making course here for a great free pattern and all the tips you’ll need for success). The Kawaii Kuties Teddy is a two-sided toy sewn like a pillow, so he’s a great project for a child.
Here’s a collage of “first Funky Friends” posted in our Facebook group.
Some of these sewers had never used a pattern before!
3. How BIG are the bears?
Bear size/height and bear style (body type) are the two main things to consider in answering this question. (Note: I always include the size of the bear in the pattern listing in the SHOP section of the website).
I’ll paste the collage of ALL the bears for you to reference again!
12 inches seated
These bears are all 12 inches/30 cm from table to top of head when seated: Melody Memory Bear, Ben the Beginner Bear, Calico Signature Bear.
10 inches seated
Panda Ning is 10 inches/26 cm seated. Preston Polar Bear is 25cm/10inches (sitting), and 38cm/15 inches (standing).
These toys can also have legs that extend to standing position: Keep Me Keepsake Bear (18 inches/45 cm standing), Kelsey Keepsake Unicorn (16 in/40 cm standing, not including horn), Calico Signature Bear (16 in/40cm standing), Preston Polar Bear is 25cm/10inches (sitting), and 38cm/15 inches (standing). Izzy Insomniac Bear 22cm/8½”(sitting) 38cm/15” (standing).
Izzy Insomniac bear is very small at 22cm/8½”(sitting) 38cm/15” (standing). Kawaii Kuties Teddy is a flat toy, 12 inches/31 cm long. Honey Teddy lays on her tummy and is 13 in/33cm long.
Smallest? Medium and Biggest?
Honey Teddy is the smallest bear and Keep Me Keepsake Bear is the biggest, approximately the standing height of an American Girls 18 inch doll or similar doll. Ben and Melody, both seated, are similar in size, though Melody seems bigger simply due to the toy construction. Kawaii Kuties Teddy, Polar Bear, Izzy Insomniac Bear and Panda Ning are hard to compare in shape, but smaller than Melody.
You can always easily RE-SIZE a pattern by changing your print percentage on your printer.
Here’s a blog post I have showing you how to enlarge or reduce a toy pattern.
Style / Body Type of bear:
Calico Bear is the only posable bear (he can sit AND stand up on his own, because he is jointed).
Melody Memory Bear and Ben the Beginner Bear are in a fixed in a sitting position (people say they like this because the bear won’t topple over on a shelf).
Panda Ning is also fixed in a seated position, but has “floppy” arms that are sewn in the seams for easy sewing.
For a cuddly bear with all four “floppy” limbs, use the Keep Me Keepsake Bear, Izzy Insomniac Bear, Polar Bear or Honey Teddy.
The only bear in a lying down position is Honey Teddy, who is on her tummy (she needs a nap and doesn’t want to sit up, please).
The Kawaii Kuties Teddy is flat like a pillow.
Ben the BEGINNER Bear (left) is fixed in a seated position. Izzy Insomniac Bear (right) has floppy arms and legs.
These bears were sewn by Paula Blevins.
4. Which bears are best for using designs from my Cricut and/or Embroidery Machines?
Makers wanting to add custom text and designs will appreciate having large, dedicated spaces for this purpose on the patterns. Ben the BEGINNER Bear has the largest tummy piece of all the bears, and it includes a 5 inch grid for perfectly placing an embroidery hoop or Cricut design. Ben’s paw pads have a 4 inch grid. Keep Me Keepsake Bear also has a “no seam down the middle” tummy piece with a grid on the pattern piece. His hands accommodate a 4 inch grid. You can place embroidery machine or Cricut designs on his sides, hands, foot paw pads, and tummy. Calico Signature Bear and Melody Memory Bear both have large torso pattern pieces and large foot pads that are popular for embroidery or Cricut designs. All the bears can accommodate embroidery and Cricut designs of all types if you Re-size the pattern (see info here).
Keep Me Keepsake Bear also has a solid tummy panel for displaying embroidery and t-shirt designs. You can add designs on the feet of any of the bears, and Keepsake Bear has grids on his paws to help you, too!
This Keepsake Bear was sewn and embroidered by Melissa Bryden.
5. Which Bears are best for making keepsakes from clothing?
While all the patterns work for this, these bears were designed for a “mix and match” approach to using clothing: Melody Memory Bear, Calico Signature Bear, Keep Me Keepsake Bear, and Ben the BEGINNER Bear.
This Ben the BEGINNER Bear sewn by Lorna Moore was perfect for preserving this little boy’s clothes, and was gifted along with a t-shirt quilt.
This Melody Memory Bear was made from a coat by Emma Boulton.
This is a pic of a collar added to Melody Memory Bear by Gail McKnight Anderson of Gail’s Little Sewing Room.
To learn how to add a collar to a Bear, see the Blog Post here.
Calico Signature Bear remains a popular toy for clothing keepsakes. This beauty was sewn by Ange Angela.
6. Can I fit a t-shirt logo on the bear’s tummy?
If you want to use a t-shirt logo or baby Onesie design, Ben the BEGINNER Bear or Keep Me Keepsake Bear are best because they both have “no seam down the middle” tummy pieces. Ben the BEGINNER Bear has the largest tummy space (pattern piece has a 5 inch grid for centering designs) and was specifically designed to feature t-shirt designs. Keep Me Keepsake Bear‘s single-piece/no seam tummy panel holds a 4 inch grid and is great for smaller logos, like those on baby clothes.
7. Melody’s arms are hard for me. Which bears have “Easy arms”/ limb attachments?
If you find Melody Memory Bear‘s inset arms difficult and want easier arms that are sewn “in the seam,” use these bears: Honey Teddy, Izzy Insomniac Bear, Keep Me Keepsake Bear, Ben the BEGINNER Bear, Izzy Insomniac Bear, Preston Polar Bear, and Panda Ning.
8. Which bears are baby-safe?
All of the bears EXCEPT Calico Signature Bear are baby-safe for kids under 3 if you don’t use plastic facial features* (Calico has button joints which can present a choking hazard).
* Please note: that “safety eyes” and “craft eyes” and plastic noses are NOT safe for kids under 3 years old. Please use felt, fabric paint, or embroidery for facial features for this age group. I have a blog post with more toy safety tips HERE. Honey Teddy is small with arms and legs a perfect size for babies to hang on to!
Honey Teddy sewn by Shirley Smith!
9. Which is the BEST bear for YOU?
Ultimately, you’ll be the judge of this! Pick the one you think is cutest and you’re on the right path.
Hopefully this helped you to decide which Bear is BEST for YOU!
Whichever bear you choose, remember to sew a “test” bear before using expensive fabrics or precious pieces of clothing! You can’t go wrong if you transfer ALL the pattern markings and letters to the fabric before you begin sewing…. take it slow and ENJOY the process!
If you’ve never sewn a toy before – I have a FREE course – Toy-making Made Easy. You’ll get a free pattern to make Plattie Platypus (my favorite easy pattern for teaching people how to sew toys) and learn all you need to know to get started sewing toys!
Which FFF bear do YOU like best?
Till next time, Happy sewing!