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How to Replace a Teddy Bear’s Eye

Teddy bear with a missing eye

Sometimes our furry little teddy bear and stuffie friends suffer from a bit too much love and can lose an eye in the process. You can always sew up the hole and add a button or an eye patch, but it’s also possible to replace a safety eye if you take the right steps.

Teddy bear's missing eye showing where the seam was coming undone.

Our teddy’s eye fell out when the seam it was in came loose. The stitching stretched out, the hole became bigger and the eye fell out.

Safety eye for toys in two parts

Firstly, I searched through my eyeball stash for a matching eye. Yes, I have an eyeball stash!

You can buy safety eyes from many craft shops. If local shops don’t have them, try eBay¬†and search for safety eyes, Etsy, or search online for a shop that stocks them.

How to place the locking washer on a safety eye.

Safety eyes have an eye with a post and a washer that has to be firmly pushed onto the post to hold the eye in place. Never put the washer on the eye before you have it in place on your toy. It will be extremely difficult to get it off, and you may have to buy another washer.

Cutting open the seam on a teddy bear

My teddy’s eye is at the end of a seam, but this process will work even if it isn’t. Firstly you will need to cut open a seam nearest to the eye. Make sure you cut the stitching and not the fabric.

Teddy bear with a seam cut open on the head.

You’ll need to open the seam two and a half to three inches.

Teddy bear with an arrow showing where the new eye will be replaced.

You can see where teddy’s eye goes at the end of the seam in this photo. Teddy will look a bit trashed at this point but don’t be scared!

Make sure to leave enough room for your finger when sewing the seam

First of all, stitch part of the seam closed using the technique in my YouTube video, “Sewing Soft Toys Closed Using the Ladder Stitch“. You can get special threads for sewing teddy bears, but a double strand of quilting thread or 4 strands of sewing thread will also be nice and strong. I used 4 strands of sewing thread.

Leave a hole just large enough for the post on your safety eye at one end (shown by the arrow in the photo), and large enough to put your index finger in the other end. If your eye doesn’t go in the seam, just stitch the hole left by the eye closed enough so that the post just fits.

Teddy bear with a new eye and partially sewn seam.

Put the post of the eye in the hole, and attach the washer on the back. You’ll have to use two hands to press down quite hard. You can squish and pinch teddy while doing it. If he gets a bit lumpy you can always squish it back into shape afterwards. Sew the rest of the seam closed and fasten off the thread.

You’ll notice that the seam is still pretty visible, and teddy’s eye is a bit bulgy.

Using a pin to pull fur that's stuck in the newly sewn seam.

Take a pin and gently pluck any fur that is stuck in the seam out of the stitching and give it a little brush to fluff it up. This will help hide the seam as much as possible.

Do the same around the edges of the eye to make it look less bulgy.

Teddy bear with a brand new eye.

Here is teddy with is brand new eye in place. Ready for many more picnics and games of hide and seek.