Stuffed animals become family members very quickly. For children they are companions, teachers, babies, and devoted friends. And for adults they are reminders of another time, perhaps another place, and even a first close relationship. Beloved stuffed animals get worn easily, but are sometimes loved even more in their decay.
When stuffed animals lose their stuffing through play and a lot of holding, they may begin to not look like themselves. But repairing this problem is simple as well as being a loving gesture.
The first thing to do is go to a fabric or craft store and get polyester fiberfill stuffing. Polyester fiberfill is the best thing for re-stuffing as it is both hand and machine washable. You can even put it in the dryer with the worry of it bunching up and distorting the shape of the animal. It is also easy to work with.
The next step is to locate the spot where the stuffing was first put into the animal. Look closely at all the seams on the toy, especially hidden ones, like down the back, between the legs, under the arms. Search carefully. You will find the spot somewhere on a seam where it gets a bit bumpy or it appears that some of the fur is tucked under there. It shouldn’t be too difficult to locate.
Use a good seam ripper and start undoing the threads. Work very gently and carefully so as not to disturb worn patches on the stuffed animal and make them worse. Worn patches may show signs of being well loved, but they are very fragile and need to be worked around with care. Never cut the seam with a scissors.
Once you have found the hole and opened it wide enough for your fingers to get in, pick a gumball-sized piece of fiberfill and put it into the empty spaces. With each piece of stuffing, take the time to rub and pat it into place. With newer stuffed animals you might be able to use a stuffing tool like a chopstick, but never use one with old and very worn toys as you might put a hole in the skin. So you stuff and pat, stuff and pat. Be sure to rub out any lumps and bumps.
Stuff the toy until you are satisfied with its firmness or softness. Now you are ready to re stitch the seam. Using a simple ladder stitch, and sewing with extra strong thread, close up the hole. Take care to not leave any threads hanging out when you finish up. Make sure they are well tucked.
You have your family member back and restored. It can be hugged and played with, sit at a tea party, or be a bed companion. A beloved friend is back in action!