How to fix a stuffed animal

How to fix a stuffed animal

I grew up with this brown teddy bear and now my youngest daughter sleeps with it every night.  She even takes it on trips & sleepovers.  So it’s been handled a bunch over many, many years.  With all that luvin’, even the most durable stuffed animals will need TLC once & awhile.  If you want that stuffy back in your little one’s arms, you need to fix those little tears & rips that happen.  Luckily, it’s super easy to fix your stuffed toy.  


First I’ll walk you through the steps to fix a tear or hole in your stuffed animal in this tutorial.  If your stuffy needs more than just sewing up a hole, scroll below for more ways to fix your plush toy.  




Here’s what you need to fix your favorite stuffed animal:

supplies needed to fixed your stuffed animal
Supplies include needle, thread, scissors & seam ripper

Supplies to fix your stuffed animal

    1. Needle
    2. Thread (try to use a color that matches your toy)
    3. Scissors
    4. Optional: Seam ripper

Step 1: Thread the needle

    1. You want to work with a double strand of thread on your needle.  To get that, thread the needle, pull thread through, and fold it over so that you have 2 strands of thread.  Cut it so that the length of the folded over thread is about 12” or so.  If you cut the thread much longer than that, it’ll be tricky to work with.
      image of needle threaded
      Pull the thread through & fold it in half so you have a double strand of thread that’s about 12″ in length.
    2. To tie a knot, take the two ends of thread and wrap them around your fingers to create a little loop.  Then push the end through the loop and tighten down your knot.  You might know this as an overhand knot.  You may want to repeat this a few times to make a large enough knot so that the knot stays put on the inside of your stuffed animal. 
      image of knot in thread
      You may need an extra large knot to keep it from pulling through the fabric.

Step 2: Sew the opening closed with a ladder stitch (aka invisible stitch).

    1. Start with the needle on the inside of the opening of the stuffed animal and push the needle through to the outside.  Do this right along the folded edge of fabric where the old seam used to be.
      photo of needle pushing through the stuffed animal
      Needle starts on the inside of the tear & moves out to the outside.


    2. Next, insert the needle into the other side of the opening/tear directly opposite of where it came out – right into the folded area of fabric.  This is how you end up with an invisible stitch – you’re pulling the thread in & out straight across the tear/rip.  Pull the thread tight to close up the seam.  See the little drawing I did below to help understand the ladder stitch.
    3. Push the needle through the inside of the fold on the same side about 1/8” and then back out of the fold again.  Once the needle is out of the fold, again insert it directly into the opposite side of the opening.  Push the needle about ⅛” through the folded area (same side that you’re currently on) and back out again.
      Photo of the needle threading through the seam of the rip.
      Push the needle through the seam on the same side of the tear for about 1/8″.
    4. Repeat until you get to the end of your tear/rip.

Step 3: Tie a knot & cut the thread

    1. To make a knot at the end of your stitches, find one of the last stitches that you made and push your needle under that stitch.  This will create a loop of thread.
      photo of small loop with needle inserted inside
      Create a small loop with the last stitch and thread the needle back through it to create a knot.
    2. Put the needle back inside the loop of thread.  Gently tug on the end of the loop to make it small while also pulling the needle through to make a knot. 
    3. Go over this stitch a second time to create a second knot in the same place, using the same approach.
    4. Finally, push the needle into your stuffed animal and out a different side of the animal – maybe all the way through a limb, or maybe out a side of the animal a couple of inches away from the tear.  Tug tightly on the thread and trim it very close to the body/limb of the stuffie.  This way, the thread gets hidden inside the animal.
      photo of needle coming out the back of the stuffed animal.
      Push the needle through the back of the stuffed animal and pull the thread tightly.
phot of scissors cutting the thread
Pull the thread as tight as you can and cut it as close to the stuffed animal as you can.

You’re hole is fixed!

If you want to get creative with the hole repair, you could sew a little scrap of fabric over it for a patched look after you’ve closed up the hole.


If your stuffy needs more help than this, like more stuffing or new eyes or a new nose, keep reading.


What to do if your stuffy needs more filling: 


The filling used in stuffed animals is usually a polyester material that’s used for pillows & more (you may have seen Poly-fil at your craft store).  However, you can also use cotton batting or cotton stuffing instead if you’d rather avoid buying synthetics.  If you have cotton batting for quilts that’s flat, not fluffy, simply pull it apart into smaller pieces to make it fluffy & like stuffing and use that to fill your stuffed animal.


You might want to use a chopstick or the eraser end of a pencil to push the stuffing into the animal’s narrow spaces like ears or hands.


Once the stuffy is as fluffy as you like, just sew up the hole as described above.


What to do if your stuffed animal needs a new eye or nose:


If your plushy needs a new eye or nose, you can usually find replacements at your local craft store. also has lots of options.  You could also get creative and use an old button. 


First, make sure to measure the spot you’re replacing to get the right size nose or eye.  If the nose or eyes are completely gone, look at the area that should be under the nose/eye and use that as your measurement (e.g., if the fabric that was under the nose measures about ½”, you’ll want to purchase a nose that’s about ½”).


If the stuffed animal material is a little stretchy, you can probably install the new eye or nose through the opening of the old eye or nose.  Just follow the instructions that come with the eye to secure the eye piese into the backing.  


If you can’t fit the new backing that came with the new eye or nose through the original opening, you could try enlarging the hole slightly by cutting it just a little larger.  Or you could work through a nearby seam by carefully opening that seam & then placing the backing in place & connect the eye or nose. Then close up the opening in the seam as described above. 


I hope this helps get your stuffie back in action.  If you do fix your stuffed animal with this tutorial, I’d love to see a photo! Tag me on Instagram @no_trace_shop.  


And if you’re looking for more mending tutorials, I’ve got a whole playlist on my YouTube channel, including how to fix a hole in your shoes, how to fix your hammock, and how to fix a broken zipper on a backpack. 


And we have a crafty community on Facebook for folks who like to DIY & fix things!  It’s the zero waste sewing & crafting community so join us here. 


Thanks for reading & for all that you do for the planet!


6 thoughts on “How to fix a stuffed animal”

  1. Our Gund Muttsy dog needs more filling . I searched for a seam line all over to cut a small but I can’t find any visible lines. Any advise? Thanks

    1. Liz @ No Trace

      Hi Wesley – sometimes they can be hard to find in between the fur. You could try to create a new opening somewhere not visible but near the area that needs stuffing and then just stitch it up the same way as in my tutorial :). Good luck.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top