Unwieldy antlers and other sizing issues

Following my last post introducing my new Three Bears' Sleeping Bag pattern, this post has been written with the hope that it will help if you feel you want further advice as to the right size sleeping bag to make for your bear, doll or other creature. The Three Bears' Sleeping Bag pattern comes in three sizes: Baby Bear, Mummy Bear and Daddy Bear. Each of those sizes comes with a maximum height suggestion, but because bears and other toys are all such very different shapes it's more difficult to advise when it comes to establishing a maximum circumference, so these visuals may help.

So lets start with the basics, laying out once again the height recommendations for each size of sleeping bag:

Baby Bear - maximum height of bear 8"
Mummy Bear - max height of bear 10 1/2"
Daddy Bear - max height of bear 13 1/2"

The picture above shows how a bear may look on the pattern piece when the sizing is just right. You can see that each creature has a nice amount of space around it at the top and the bottom, and they don't look like they will strain the side seams either. These bears are all healthy, active bears who haven't overindulged in honey...so it may help to show the suggested sizing for a more rotund bear.

When it comes to making a bed for any size or shape of creature, the main thing to keep in mind is that the squashier and softer the bear, the more able he will be to fit into any bag, as long as the height recommendation is followed. Harder-bodied bears and animals should receive a bigger sleeping bag if you are unsure whether the size that suits their height will actually accommodate their width.

To demonstrate this I've taken our largest bear, who has an impressive girth.

You'll see that in every way he's bursting over the sides of the Daddy Bear sleeping bag size. However, because he is incredibly soft and squashy, he can actually fit in the finished bag, even though really he should have had a larger one made for him (at his height, he certainly should have done, but I'm just trying to demonstrate circumference issues here). A harder-bodied bear that is less malleable should always receive a sleeping bag that is a little bigger.

Please ignore the obvious height breach here: this is to demonostrate circumference.
While the bear below isn't overly tall, because of his full tummy and legs that don't lie flat, it's best to go up a size. He fits in the Daddy bear sleeping bag and it's a very comfortable fit with plenty of growth room.

As you can see here:

I thought it may also be helpful to cover four-legged animals too, because lots of children I know favour these over bears.

Four legged creatures generally have a bigger circumference than a bear might, so in every case it's worth sizing up, even if the length of the creature fits neatly into a smaller size (again, if the animal is squashy, you're fairly safe).  

Now let's make things a little more challenging. First we have this rather stout guinea pig - he's not enormous, but he's bulky. Again, choose the largest size:

But what if your animal is long, hard-bodied and four-legged, like this sausage dog? As you can see below, he's not the ideal candidate for such a bed, but that won't stop a child from enjoying tucking him up, so make the largest size for him.

The most peculiarly-shaped animal that we own is this reindeer that came home from Sweden with us. You'll see that he is very statuesque, has a hard, unyielding body and antlers that are a little wild. But with the largest bed size, even he can be accommodated.

It's worth remembering that while the pattern comes in three sizes, if your intended bear or creature has outgrown these, the pattern is very easily increased on a copy machine at the local library or print shop. If you're interested in buying the pattern, you can find it for sale for instant download here.

I hope that helps, 
Florence x 


  1. what an impressive menagerie of toys, they are gorgeous!

  2. Oddly though, I want them to love the crocheted dog the most...but they don't. They love the ones that have come from Build-a-bear! (although gratifyingly, the most loved are the ones that we chose for each of them before they were born...when BAB didn't exist).

  3. what a wonderful post!! I have been smiling through the whole thing!

  4. I think I have loved this blog post more than any other. I loved the "not yet in the bag, now in the bag" photos. I couldn't for the life of me see how that big ole sausage dog was going to fit in but he did! Yay! Em xx

  5. What an absolutely gorgeous and adorable thing to make! I'd love to make one for my son but that would mean trying to get him to put the bear down for five minutes... Never going to happen.

  6. I've still got a smile on my face from reading this. It's the bestest post ever.

  7. Wonderful work and very happy toys!....
    Susan x

  8. Wonderful! Thank you for making me feel cosy (like your soft toys) and happy throughout the entire post despite the apalling weather we too in France are having. This smacks of toy dedication and for that you have my entire respect ;-)

    I hope all the teddy bears and friends sleep soundly tonight.

  9. A reindeer in a sleeping bag? Now I have truly seen the cutest thing in the world.

  10. I'm intending to make some sleeping bags so the sizing ideas are great, but I would have thoroughly enjoyed this post on its own! My daughter doesn't love the toys she should as much as she loves the cheaper ones from unsavory places such as the supermarket. I love them now too, and I suppose I should be glad she's not swayed by a pricetag, but sometimes it's a bit hard!

  11. Hi Florence boughtthis pattern but was unable to get it i pushed the download button as instructed. I am dying to try this pattern. Can you help me. Thanks Jenny

    1. Hello Jenny, I emailed who I thought was you this morning following your comment yesterday. There was a buyer with the name Jenny in my PayPal receipts yesterday, so I'd assumed it was you, but it looks like it may not have been! Do check your spam bin just in case my message ended up there, but otherwise get in touch via email and I'll be very happy to sort things out for you. My email is flossieteacakes at gmail dot com. I'm so sorry you've had problems downloading the pattern - hopefully the sewing part will be much more plain-sailing! Best wishes, Florence x


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Florence x