dancing hares : sewing tutorial

4 stiched and stuffed cotton bunnies in a cancing pose on a wooden tablel

Recently I received a strong spiritual directive from the universe: There should be bunnies and they should be dancing. You can’t fight this sort of thing so I’ve made a sewing pattern. It’s very easy and the result is charming, especially in a group. Plus I’ve included a few tips on getting smooth curves and stuffing along the way.

bunny doll in dancing pose with lace collar held in hand - other bunnies in background

The thought appeared in my paintings first, I love the idea of a little troupe dancing through the forest. There’s room to play and embellish with details like buttons and ribbons and scraps of lace. You definitely have some tiny scrap of something that is destined for these bunnies.

embroidering a simple face with black thread

Before we make the body let’s talk about the details.  The features are super simple. You can trace the features on the right side of the fabric before you sew, marking with a pencil or disappearing marker. I used backstitch and 2 strands of embroidery thread.  You will find this tip for hiding your knots helpful. The paws just have three little stitches on each.

deawing black slippers on the stuffed bunny with a sharpie marker.

The slippers are sharpie marker. Why not… You could embroider them if you like too. Add scraps and buttons and patches.  A pink colored pencil is great for rosy cheeks or stitch on little pink patches. So many possibilities.

If you’d like to hang your bunnies make a large stitch on the back of the neck with embroidery thread. I hung my bunnies.

table with vintage sewing machine and stitch projects hung on wall behind in groups

making the body

*This post contains an affiliate link – meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the link.

download the pattern

you will also need:

  • light cotton fabric
  • basic sewing kit
  • chopstick or similar
  • stuffing (I like wool)
  • embroidery thread
  • scraps, buttons, lace etc.

1. Cut out the pattern and pin it on your doubled fabric -right sides together – and cut out. If you’d like to trace the face on do that now – on the right side of the fabric.

2.  Carefully mark the 1/4 inch seam line on one piece – on the wrong side of on fabric.

3. Pin with right sides together and sew the seam by hand or machine. Leave open as indicated on the pattern.

4. Clip the curves as shown, being careful not to clip the seams.  Also snip at each end of the opening. – indicated in red.

5.  You can turn the bunny right side out just using the chopstick or you can turn the skinny parts first with a turning tool  *buy one here  (affiliate link)  or try this method – cut a drinking straw in half  -and pro tip – wrap it in packing tape so it will last forever.  Dull one end of a bamboo skewer.

6. Inert the straw all the way into an ear or arm and push the fabric into the straw with the skewer while at the same time guiding the fabric towards the skewer. repeat for each ear, arm and leg.


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7. Turn the body right side out. Use the chopstick to push the tips of the limbs all the way out.

8.  Pro tip – Run the end of the chopstick all around the seams using very firm pressure – this helps smooth the curves and fill out the shape.

9. Massage the small curves with your fingers a little.

10. Start stuffing the ears first. Add tiny bits of stuffing at a time and be sure to push it all the way in before adding more. Next do the arms and legs before the body. Take your time.  I spend tons of time on the stuffing. There are a couple more tips below.

11. As you stuff close your eyes once in a while and feel. You’ll feel gaps and lumps you might not otherwise notice.

12. When the bunny is sufficiently stuffed turn in the edges of the opening and stitch about 2 thirds closed. Add a bit more stuffing if needed and then finish closing.

Pro tip –  Place the bunny under a few books – For flat things like this it helps make a smooth finished surface. Let it hang out under the books for 30-ish minutes.

Jump back up to the top of the post for finishing details.

stiched bunny in dancing pose haeld in hand. details - lace color and heart patch.

I hope you make your own little parade of dancers! If you do I’d love to see. You can use #annwoodpattern on instagram or email photos to info at ann wood handmade dot com.

28 Comments

  1. Carol McElroy

    Love these little guys! I’m going to make several for my grandsons pre school class. Thank you so much Anne!

  2. Rebecca Journey-Smith

    I think a little tutu would be perfect for your dancing bunnies, they are adorable!

    • That was my first thought, too!
      But then, I have been creating clothing patterns for Ann’s last creature, Frog (or Toad), so that is on my mind

  3. I see you are using Kristin Lavransdatter to flatten your bunny. I love that book! I’ve read it three times. I love your bunnies too.

  4. Thanks for sharing stuffing techniques…I always wondered how something was stuffed so professionally…when I’ve made stuffed items…you work so hard on the item only for the stuffing to make the object uneven with lumps…and it doesn’t look as nice as it should. thank you.

  5. Freba Karimzad

    May you continue to receive these
    Spiritual directives.
    Grateful for your share.
    Freba

  6. Loribeth Robare

    thank you for another fun and whimsical pattern. I love your vintage sewing machine. Those old machines are beasts!

  7. Anne, I’m grateful as ever, for all the generous ways you share your heart and mind! I’m smitten with how a few gentle redirections of seams turn these bunnies into dancers.

    Any inspirations about how to pull other creatures from the punch bowl onto the dance floor? Like a dancing cat? What changes to a paw or tail or turn of a head animate?

    What fun to think about!

  8. This would make an adorable spring/Easter decoration. Perhaps dancing around a wreath.

  9. Karen Rohrbeck

    Me Too. I had a dream about happy bunnies. No really. Just wanted to thank you for a great pattern and tutorial. Can’t wait to sew it. Sincerely Karen

  10. Happy New Year!
    I love every project that you do and thank you for sharing!..I have purchased your patterns and wool. Is there a website you can share to buy the fabric? I just adore
    the simple fabrics shown.

  11. I am going to get started on these for my twelve grandchildren in time for Easter

  12. Anne Turner

    How delightful…… can’t wait to have ago !
    Do you have the patterns for you other creatures too?
    I’d love to do a wall for when my twin grandchildren arrive.

  13. Sandra Geiman

    Ann, I love your creations . I made the cats both sizes for my sister in law for Christmas and put them in a small basket. She loved them ,she is a cat lover. Thank You Sandy Geiman.

  14. Maritha Steyn

    Hi Ann, How nice to see that you have the Book of Kristen Lafransdatter, by Sigret Undset. Loved this Norwegian Story all 924 pages of it and re-read some pages every now and then. What a life they had in the the 1300’s.

    Thank you for sharing you patterns. Have a lovely day

  15. Tuesday Moriarty

    OMGosh! They’re adorable! Thank you for another freebie. You’re patterns are always wonderful.

  16. What cute bunnies! I have 2 of the Morse sewing machines. I used to collect vintage machines. I think I have 60 machines! Yes, I had a problem

  17. Sakiko Bartley

    Hello from Japan.Next year will be the rabbit of year in Japan.Usagidoshi.

    So I’m making rabbit brouches, dolls, stitching rabbit .
    Thank you .

  18. Angela Maltese

    from Milan (Italy) many many thanks for your creativity! You are so inspiring … and I am happy to give my happy cats, dancing hares and little fishes to my friends who appreciate this kind of objects and I will give them also to the Tanzanian children I will meet next year during my yearly stay in the St Francis Village (for orphan and albine children) CIAOOO! and merry Christmas to you dear Ann

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