Introduction: Baby Care Bear Costume

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What do you do with a baby-sized Care Bear?

You skin it and make a baby-sized Care Bear Skin Coat, obviously!

Whether you use this as a costume or as instant toy store camoflauge, you're going to get more than a couple looks for this upcycled toy!

Step 1: Get a Bear and Gut It

Find a bear that is approximately the size of your baby.

Gut it.

I decided that I wanted to put the zipper around the belly instead of straight down through it.  So I opened the bear under the chin and unstuffed it from there.

Step 2: Fix the Legs

The legs in this bear were sewn shut and flat into the seam.
This will never do.

Remove the legs. 
Open the tops of the legs where they are sewn shut.
Remove stuffing from the legs.

At this point, it will help to open up the belly where you intend to put the zipper.  I popped the seam that ran from the chin of the bear down to its leg along one side.

Re-sew legs into leg openings, allowing them to remain open.

Open up the feet and the arms along the seams so that the baby's appendages can stick out.

Step 3: Fix the Head

I unstuffed the head because it was too heavy for the baby to hold up her head.  I mean, I assumed that.  I didn't try it on her and watch her neck collapse.  I was trying to avoid that.

But now the head was collapsey and sad.  So, how to make it look perky without adding weight?

Oh you already know the answer:  zip ties!

Yup.  I taped zip ties in place to act as boning in a corset would.  Then, once I was pleased with the general layout of them, I sewed over them with a whipstitch and secured them at both ends.

It totally worked! 

Then I added a bit more stuffing loosely just to give it a more cuddly look.

Step 4: Add Lining

Now to add a lining so the stuffing will stay in the head and the baby won't get scratched by all of the open seams.

My head lining was a fail, so I need to offer better advice.
It seems obvious to me now that you need to but a hood shape into it.  At the moment of execution, though, I was baffled.  Consequently, there wasn't enough room for baby's head and we had to make an emergency field operation.

Cut a hood shape out of some fleece (or knit, something soft), and seam along the center back.

To line the body, I turned the bear inside out and pinned fabric all along it.  I cut off the excess and created one large dart along the heiney area.

To finish, use a smallish whipstitch.  You could get this under your machine, but I thought it might be more hassle than it was worth.

I also sewed a circle of felt behind the belly. 

Step 5: Apply Zipper

You'll want a heavy duty plastic zipper that is at least the length of the opening.

Mine was a separating zipper, but that turned out to be unnecessary, and even inconvenient.

Pin the zipper along one side of the opening and hand sew it in with a backstitch.

Carefully align the other side of the zipper with the other side of the opening and sew.

Tack down the raw edges of the zipper.

Step 6: Insert Baby

Find a really chill baby, and convince them of how fun it would be to dress up like a bear. Rawr!

Surround with other toys, a la that scene from ET.  As if you needed to add cuteness.