Polar Bear Stacking Quilt

Polar bear stacking quilt

Polar bear stacking quilt

The Polar Bear Stacking quilt is a bit of a fun for the end of the year – it’s really a quilted wall hanging and you could make it with different appliqued animals for the central area.  The idea is that you have a pile of animals piled on top of each other.  The animals often decrease in size as they go up the stack.  Quilters more clever than I am can manage to change the expression on the animals so that they bottom one looks hard done by and the top one looks triumphant.  I’m afraid that I can’t manage that.

The wall hanging measures 22″ by 26″ and I have used 3/4 yard of black fabric with 1/2 yard of white.  Actually the colour is nearer indigo than black, but the main point is to have a strong contrast between the two colours.

Cutting requirements for the polar bear stacking quilt

White fabric:  one rectangle 8″ by 15″, four 1.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric

Black fabric:  four 4.1/2″ squares, one rectangle 12.1/2″ by 16.1/2″, seven 1.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric.

Cut the polar bear outlines

Cut the polar bear outlines

Making the polar bear stacking quilt

You can download the polar bear templates here: large polar bear, small polar bear.  Print them and cut the outlines of the bears.  Press a fusible interfacing to the back of the white fabric rectangle.  Draw the polar bears on to the right side of the fabric.  You could trace these, or just fill in the face and other lines by looking at the template.

Press the polar bears on to the black fabric

Press the polar bears on to the black fabric

Cut the polar bears out and place them on the black rectangle with the smaller one on top and a slight overlap so that the chin of the top bear rests on the back of the lower bear.  Press to fuse these in place.

Sew the bears in place with satin stitch

Sew the bears in place with satin stitch

Using a small satin stich (I used stitch width 2 on my machine), sew the outline of the bears, the markings for the backs and legs and the outline of the faces.  I chose to leave the details of the faces until last.

For the border of the polar bear stacking quilt I have used a piano keys border – quite striking but simple to make.

Sew together strips of black and white

Sew together strips of black and white

Sew together four 1.1/2″ strips of fabric – two black and two white alternating.  Press and then cut at 4.1/2″ intervals to make squares.

Add the piano keys border

Add the piano keys border

Sew together two pairs of these squares and sew them to the top and bottom of the wall hanging.

For the sides you will need a 4.1/2″ black square at either end of a strip of three of the piano keys squares.  Sew these together to make two columns and sew one to each side of the wall hanging.

Add the final border

Add the final border

For the final border I have used 1.1/2″ strips of black.  You’ll need two lengths of 20.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 26.1/2″ for the sides.

Use black shapes first

Use black shapes first

Applique the polar bear faces

For the faces of the polar bears, I used white and black fabric backed with fusible interfacing.

Cut two circles for the noses, four shapes that are roughly eye shaped and two roughly triangular shapes for the ears.

Add white shapes

Add white shapes

Now add smaller white shapes to the eyes and ears to complete the faces.  Press these in place.  They will need sewing in place at some stage (when time allows!).

That completes the polar bear stacking quilt.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.

Here’s the video:

It just remains to wish you and your family a wonderful and joyous Christmas.  I have closed the fabric shop temporarily but rest assured that it will be back soon after Christmas.


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  1. Merry Christmas to you & family & a happy New year. Thank you for all the nice quilts.

  2. karin wijaya says:

    Thank you Rose for sending me all your beautiful quilt patterns along this year.
    Hope to receive another quilt pattern from you next year.
    We wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year.

  3. Hi Rose,
    This little project made me smile. A sincere THANK YOU for your patterns
    your help when the dye ran in my quilt. Letting us have glimpse into your life.
    Which at times was quiet eventful.
    Rose, wishing you all the best for Christmas and may 2016 be
    a happy and peaceful time for you and yours and all of us.

  4. Sue Duquemin says:

    Thanks for such a fun wall hanging and many thanks for all the lovely patterns over the year. I wish you and your family a merry Christmas and a happy and heathy New Year.

  5. Sandra Barnett says:

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thank you for all your wonderful patterns over this past year. Soon I will get to make more than one pattern.
    love the polar bears Thought of others were jumping in my head Hope you have a happy quiet peaceful time through the holiday Relax

  6. Marilyn Larkin says:

    What a triumphal year you have had: “Hail Rose!” Through it all you have kept your faith with us quilting tragics and arrived in a happy space, both physically and emotionally. A lesson in resilience. Thank-you for your inspiration in travelling the journey that is life and the inspiration that grounding in something as wonderful as patchwork, can help us along that journey. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a fruitful and happy New Year. Take care Rose from Marilyn in Australia.

  7. Lola Howard says:

    Merry Christmas to you Rose may you be blessed. have you put Minnie in her new home yet ?

  8. Moira Ismay says:

    Merry Christmas Rose,and all best wishes for the New Year.
    I enjoy all your emails. Thank you .


  9. elizacross2003 says:

    Merry Christmas Rose. Like you I am looking forward to spending Christmas in my new home.
    I love the stacking Bears, So many options, I am thinking of my Paper piecing animals and reducing the pattern for the top animal. Happy Holidays and a Happy 2016.

    • Hi Eliza. Hope you have a great Christmas in your new home. That sounds like a good idea to use your paper pieced animal patterns.

  10. Olive Procyshyn says:

    Rose I hope you have a very special Christmas with your family and that 2016 brings you very good health. I really appreciate all that you send me every week.

  11. Merry Christmas, Rose, and may your new year be happy and healthy for you and those you love.

  12. Oh what a very cute wall hanging….those polar bears are so sweet looking..guess I maybe going through my stash to find some fabric suitable for making this…Thank you and have a lovely holiday…

  13. Merry Christmas and a happy new year.
    Thank you for all your tutorials over the year.
    I will need plenty of practice before I can sew that fast.

  14. Merry Christmas Rose and thanks for all the wonderful quilt ideas this year. All the best in the New Year from Ontario, Canada

  15. Sharon Lowe says:

    Merry Christmas Rose, have a wonderful holiday season and I wish you a very Happy New Year filled with prosperity and happiness. May 2016 be the best and bring you success!

  16. Trish Tarbuck says:

    Quite an eventful year Rose, wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas and a very healthy New Year.

  17. Merry Christmas to you and yours. I wish the best to you for the coming year.

  18. Merry Christmas Rose–It has been a good year !!!!!—Hope 2016 is as well—and I do hope Santa is good to you. Best of the New Year to you and yours——-Bea

  19. Jayne Wilson says:

    Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year Rose, in your new home. Many thanks for the superb inspiration over the past 12 months.

  20. Super cute quilt, could make a whole zoo. Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy, productive New Year!

  21. Christine Southgate says:

    Thank for another lovely & fun quilt Rose. All best wishes to you & your family for a wonderful Christmas & happy New Year. Christine

  22. Marian Clarkson says:

    Thank you for all the lovely patterns this year. I hope you and your family have a fun Christmas and that you have a rest away from sewing?

  23. Now how cute is this. Quilters more clever than you? I doubt it! I’ve learned so much from just watching your videos. I will miss next week’s video but I do hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

  24. Love it never seen one like it before, another on my to do list.Happy Christmas .I expect my old stomping ground is looking very festive.Sue

  25. Happy Christmas to you and your family Rose and thank you for all your hard work over the past year.
    Barbara x

  26. It looks cute as a wall hanging – the stacking sounds very complicated, admittedly.