Fixing Stuffed Friends
Shoddy Toys Drive Me Batty!
Sometimes the poor quality of today's toys drives me crazy. I don't know why, but I have Cabbage Patch Kids that are 24 years old, and they've worn well for years. One of my Cabbage Patch Kids needed to have her shoulder repaired a year ago, but come on... she was 24 years old! In the meantime, my son's stuffed toy is around 2 years old, and the head was ready to pop off already. This isn't the first toy that my children have owned where the seams were coming undone. I don't know how many holes I've had to repair from stuffed animals that have come apart at the seams. When I worked at Kindercare, I had to repair stuffed animals there as well. My friend has stuffed friends that I've promised to repair. In case you don't know me well enough to repair your own stuffed friends, here are instructions on how to fix stuffed friends.
This is my son with "Lambearduck", who almost had a date with the guillotine, as the seam that sewed on its head was about to fall off.
What You Need to Fix Stuffed Friends
In order to fix your stuffed friends, you're going to need a few things. You will need a needle, and thread. If you are unable to thread a needle on your own, you might find it handy to purchase a needle threader. I don't really need one.
Get thread that's made for sewing. I have used embroidery floss in a pinch, but it's not as strong, and you might end up having to fix your child's stuffed animal all over again if you don't do it right the first time around. If at all possible, get a color that matches your child's friend. If you use white thread to sew up your child's black panther, the thread might show.
Sewing Supplies on Sale
You can find sewing supplies at Michael's or Joann's, but you can also find them at Amazon.com if you don't have a sewing shop in your area.
The first thing that you will need to do is cut the thread. Try not to make it longer than your arm, or it will be hard to work with. If you have a small hole (and hopefully you fix it sooner rather than later), you will not need that much, but make sure you have enough to work with comfortably.
Next, you have to thread your needle. If you're not used to it, it can be a bit tricky, but make sure that your thread is not frayed at the end, and that will help a lot.
Once you have threaded your needle, you can make your first stitch. You want to anchor your thread so that your seam will not come apart. I usually do this by leaving a little bit of thread at the end after I have made my first stitch, and then tying the two sides together, like tying your shoe without the bow. I do this twice so it holds better.
Stitch Your Friend Together
Now that you have anchored the thread, it's time to stitch your child's friend together. There are many stitches that you can use, but I use a simple stitch, where I take one small part from one side, one stitch from the other side, and sew them together. The drawing here looks a lot better than I can describe it. The main point is to make sure that both sides of the broken seam are being attached. The smaller the stitch you make, the better your stuffed animal will be when it is done. I was able to finish my son's friend in only a few minutes.
Once you have sewn the stuffed animal's seam together, you have one final problem to tackle. If you stopped now, the (hopefully) nice seam that you have put together will start to rip out, just like the one that you tried to fix. So you need to anchor the other end of your seam. I like to do this by beginning to make a stitch, and before I pull it tight, I bring my needle and thread through the loop that has been created. Then when I pull it tight, it acts as a knot. I do this two or three times.
Once you have anchored your thread, you have to deal with the end of your thread. It probably looks ugly, just sitting out there loose. No problem. I make one final stitch into the animal (you want to make a big stitch), and on the other side of the stitch, I cut the thread close. The end of the thread pulls back into your stuffed animal, and there are no loose threads. You're done!
Lambearduck is Done!
Stuffed animals aren't the only Chinese made products that I've had problems with (yes, 99% of the time, I'm repairing toys made in China). I've also had problems with seams in my clothing. I've had buttons come off on the day I bought them. I've never had problems with clothing that I have made myself.
I guess what bothers me most about poorly made toys is that to kids, these are more important than a shirt. They really are friends to many children. When a seam pops open on one of these toys and the parent ends up throwing it away because they don't know how to fix it, it is almost like losing a friend. My son was upset that I had to take Lambearduck away to fix it.
What Do You Do With Broken Stuffed Friends?
Well Made Toys
I've always had good luck with Build-A-Bear toys. I've never had a seam come apart with them.