little things to sew: bear carrier

Ok, I admit it. This is my favorite project in Oliver + S Little Things to Sew.

Inspired, as usual, by S who wanted to take Bear to a museum but didn’t want to carry him. She improvised a rubber-band-around-the-neck carrier for him, and it occurred to me that she might like a proper carrier for Bear and her other dolls.

This carrier is easy to make and very adjustable. It fits a wide variety of kids and their bears, animals, or dolls. I’ve even worn it, although I don’t usually don’t usually carry a doll when I go out.

It’s also got a cute little pocket at the front, for spare change, lip balm, or whatever other important item needs to come along. It’s really there because it looks cute, but who says cute can’t be useful, too?




  1. Oh cute! S looks adorable and that is a great idea!

    I’m hoping my book arrives today so I can get started on some little things. 🙂

  2. I was hoping my book would be here yesterday, but no.
    My poor UPS man is being stalked, hopefully today! This project will be one my daughter will be eager for!

  3. S looks so darn cute! I really wish I had known about this before I had cut out an Ottobre version, which I’m about ready to sew up this week! I’d rather have Liesl’s instructions than Ottobre’s!!!
    Either way, my copy is coming this week and I’m so excited!! It gives me Christmas and birthday ideas for my nieces. With Liesl’s version I’ll be able to whip up one or two in no time! It will be and O & S handmade Christmas again this year!

  4. Very cute!

  5. Robin

    Just got my book yesterday and I agree, the bear carrier is a favorite! I can see this getting a ton of use by my daughter. The book is gorgeous, I’m so excited about it. I really love the apron, smock, and quilt patterns, too. Can’t wait to start sewing up some of the patterns. Thanks so much for writing such a beautiful book!

  6. Debbie

    The bear carrier is adorable.

  7. Oh, that pocket will be used here! Always need to bring some lip balm or at least a rock!

  8. I just traced and cut out my pattern! Hope to post it in the flickr group soon!

  9. I just love this 😉

  10. Elizabeth

    This is just what I was thinking about and looking for as a gift to my son. I want to sew one up the Eddie doll from Hillary Lang’s Wee Wonderfuls book and I thought it would be cool to make him a carrier for it. I had no idea your book was ready to order. I need to go to amazon right now and purchase it from my wishlist.

  11. ali

    holy cow– my daughter is going to LOVE this!

  12. Karen

    I’m so excited about this pattern! Baby Girl is getting a Bitty Baby for her birthday but I didn’t want to buy the whole started kit just for the dolly carrier. Yay!

  13. How nice and lovely! The bear carrier sure looks handy!

  14. The bear holder is such a wonderful idea! Love it!

  15. Jen

    Squee. . . .I got my copy last night and I’m in love with this project (except for us, it will likely be an elephant carrier. Which sounds like a punchline. Ahem!). Ohhh. . .and the hats!Even better, I’m trekking into the city on Friday so I’ll be able to shop for all the supplies I need and not rely on mail-order.

    Congrats, Liesl, the book is gorgeous!

  16. Okay, this may be my favorite creation of your’s EVER! And that’s really saying something because I love every O+S thing I’ve sewn.

  17. colette

    My daughter will love this (it will probably be a giraffe carrier for her!).

  18. Hi,
    I really love the bear carrier and have to say I bought the book just because of it. But it doesn’t work. Does the pattern in the book suggest that the straps come out on the top, over the pocket, or is it me???? If so, I don’t know how to proceed. I could cry from frustration. I’m super-disappointed. I think for someone with few sewing skills, there should be more detailed instructions.

    1. Hi Sabine,

      I’m sorry this is so frustrating. Let’s see if I can help.

      1. If you look at the illustration at the bottom of page 108 (left column) you can see the bear carrier laying face down with the straps sticking up. From here, you would position the bear or doll so the legs straddle the spot where the straps join the carrier. The doll’s head will be lying on the straps.

      2. Then flip the carrier over the front of the doll and button the doll into position–buttons are at the doll’s shoulders and straps are continuing over the doll’s shoulders

      3. Now position the doll on the front of the child so the strap go over the child’s shoulders. Cross the straps over the child’s back and wrap them to the child’s front at the waist.

      4. Use the velcro to attach the ends of the straps to the little velcro tabs at the bear’s/doll’s waist.

      There are very thorough instructions and another illustration on page 108, instruction #3 and the illustration following. I hope this helps!

      P.S. If you’re familiar with the Baby Bjorn, this carrier somewhat similar in style to that carrier.

  19. Rachael

    Hi! I’m so excited to make this for my daughter! I’m fairly new to sewing but have followed patterns an thought I knew what I was doing…but, right off the bat I’m stumped. The pocket lining is same width but shorter than the pocket, right? It looks like they are exactly the same size in the illustration on page 106.

  20. Hi Rachel, welcome! We like to make the pocket lining shorter than the pocket itself so that the outside fabric forms a hem at the top edge. What you’re seeing in the first illustration is the outside fabric wrapping around to the lining side of the pocket. Even though the lining is shorter than the outside fabric, you’ll fold the piece in half to finish the pocket. Does that make sense? If you need additional help, I encourage you to visit our discussion forums, where there’s lots of extra information and a whole bunch of friendly sewists to chime in if you get stuck. Cheers!

  21. Sophea

    I was wondering if there was a tutorial for the bear carrier? I am new to sewing

  22. Kylie Wilson-Palmer

    I would love to purchase your book so that I can sew this bear carrier for my little girl however I can’t find it anywhere in Australia and the cost of post from America seems crazy. Like it’s going to cost Me $80 to get a copy. Do you sell it in PDF at all?

    1. Sorry Kylie. Copyright and licensing agreements prohibit us from offering that as a PDF while the book is still in print.

  23. Elaine

    Can you please help me? I purchased a 2nd hand copy of the book “oliver + s little things to sew” in order to make this bear carrier. When I received the book, the patterns had been removed and were not included. Is there anywhere I can get a copy of this pattern?

    1. Elaine, I’m sorry to say, but the pattern sheets only come with the book. They are not available separately. I suggest you contact the seller to inquire about the missing sheet.

  24. Liz Schumann

    This is the best doll carrier pattern. it is so sweet, just the right size and comes together in a flash. I bought the book JUST for this pattern, have made two and and delighted with my purchase and the finished carriers. Thank you!

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