Have you seen those teddy bears with jointed arms and legs that can be moved back and forth and wondered how to do that? Then keep reading, in this post I will show a few different ways to attach the limbs to make them movable.
Plastic doll joints
Plastic doll joints are my favorite - they are easy to install, durable and washable. If you can't get your hands on joints, safety eyes will work great as well, although the stems on the eyes might be a tad too short when using bulkier yarns.
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Joints come in three pieces - disc with a stem, a washer and a lock washer.
Put the disc with a stem inside the arm or leg, pushing the stem through the fabric, placing it so the stem is facing straight towards the body.
Finish the arms and legs, stuff them firmly and close the opening.
To attach the limbs, push the stem through the body fabric, put the washer on the stem and then push the lock washer into place.
Tip! Don't push the lock washer all the way to the bottom at first, adjust it so the arm or leg is tightly against the body, but not so tight you can't move it.
Buttons and thread
If you can't find joints or safety eyes or you just don't want to use them, buttons and thread will work great as well. Make sure you use a very strong thread to attach the limbs – it will have to endure quite a bit of tension and can be difficult to mend, should it break. I have found cotton embroidery floss, nylon sewing thread (doubled or tripled) or fishing line work really well.
Cut a length of yarn and draw it through the holes in the button.
Put the button inside the limb, drawing the yarn tails through the fabric, placing it so the yarn ends are facing straight towards the body.
Place the other button inside the body, draw the yarn tails through the holes and knot them together.
You can also just use yarn to attach the arms and legs to the body. Unlike with the first two methods where you need to attach the joints as you go, you need to finish the body, arms and legs first.
Cut a length of yarn and thread it onto a needle. Insert the needle where you want to attach the arm or leg. Go straight through the body and draw the yarn through, leaving a short tail.
Now you have a few options.
You can make a little stitch through the inner side of the limb, so it will be invisible once it's attached to the body.
Or you can make a little stitch through the limb.
Or you can make a stitch through the limb and add a button to the outside for extra support.
Then insert the needle into the same hole where you brought the yarn up last time ...
... and go straight through the body, bringing the needle back up where you inserted the needle last time. Draw the yarn tight.
Then attach the second limb the same way.
Draw the yarn tight so the limbs are tightly against the body. Knot the yarn ends together.
Thread both yarn tails onto a needle. Go back into the same hole where you brought the yarn up last time, going up and through the body.
Tug gently until the knot disappears into the fabric. Cut off the yarn tails close to the fabric.
If you're someone who prefers learning from videos, here's a little one for you, showing all three methods. If you do not see the video properly, head over to YouTube.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to email me or leave a comment below, I am always happy to help.
Hi ANITA WOO,
Smaller buttons will work just fine, but it will look the best if you use the largest buttons you can fit inside the arms and legs, this will help them stay nice and tightly against the body.
This is very helpful. Thank you. Does it matter if the buttons that I have are smaller than what is specified in the pattern?
Loved the tutorial…can you please recommend best company to buy the plastic doll joints. Thank you very much!
Thanks for this clear explanation of the three types of joints. I’ve been looking for exactly this.
Thank you so much for the tips and clear explanations.