Frank the Not Quite a Polar Bear

Ok, so I will admit that this pattern was for a Polar Bear…. and wasn’t actually quite so large either – but when has that ever stopped me?? I printed the pattern off at 200%, pieced the pages together and made myself a brown bear who is the perfect size to cuddle while watching tv.

I found the blue eyes at Hobbycraft and couldn’t resist making a blue-eyed bear for a change… hence the name Frank after Frank Sinatra (Ol’ Blue Eyes). This pattern is completely different in its style to the previous bears I’ve sewn, so this was an interesting challenge using quite sleek faux fur on a pattern I’d never tried before!

His nose is made from black plush (minky) fabric which made a nice change from needing to embroider a nose on a bear… although it was quite hard to get the stuffing to stay in his muzzle for some reason.

I deviated from the pattern to add in some paw pads made from some oddments of plush fabric I had lying around. I think this livens up his paws a little, and makes him look even cuter – what do you think?

Frank seems to have made himself at home already, and claimed the tv remote for his own!


Pattern: Polar Bear from issue 24 of Simply Sewing magazine
Fabric: Premier Faux Fur from Fabric Land
Blue Safety Eyes from Hobbycraft

Back to Minerva Crafts today….

….with a lightweight Eden Jacket, made from this awesome Memory Raincoat fabric! I’ve been able to put this jacket through its paces in rain, and as long as it’s not torrential rain I’ve kept dry – torrential rain is another matter entirely, but my walking companion was wearing a purchased waterproof coat and that let more water through than my Eden jacket did!


Pattern: Eden Jacket by Tilly and the Buttons
Fabric: Memory Raincoat supplied by Minerva

Magic Softshell Bag II

Remember the Magic Softshell Bag I shared last month? Well I’ve finally got it finished – and it turned out exactly as I’d hoped!

I haven’t added in poppers on the front pocket flap, but so far it looks like the combination of softshell, polycotton and a piece of clear pvc (for extra waterproofing) is doing a good job at holding that flap down.

I could have added in some extra pvc to the back of the front panel where the pockets are, just to make sure nothing can soak through. However, I’m hoping that the softshell will be waterproof enough without that.

Because most of my winter walks result in me walking back home in the dark, I added a couple of reflective strips to the strap. They aren’t so large that they stand out in daylight and look weird, but hopefully it’ll be an added ‘safety feature’ for those dark walks. I’ve never tried using this reflective tape before, and I was struggling to get it to sew evenly so I fused some Heat ‘n’ Bond (the non-sew variety) to the back, and just ironed it into place.

The pockets were originally going to be softshell with a polycotton lining, but I decided it looked better if I used the polycotton for the outer, and the softshell as the lining. The bit of red softshell that’s visible at the top of the pocket, makes the pocket easy to find (otherwise it’d just blend in with the lining a little too much).

Hopefully if I get caught out in torrential rain again, this bag will actually keep the contents dry, and not absorb any of the water!


Pattern: Messenger Bag by Crazy Little Projects
Fabric: Magic Softshell from Mibs Fabrics

Bella Bear

Remember Bella Bear from earlier in the year? Well she’s been patiently waiting for me to show her finished look, so here she is!

I stitched her arms and legs into place rather than using toy joints, as I prefer the softer feel. I was aiming for more of a Gund style feel to Bella – understuffed and cuddly. I think I might have gone a little too far in the understuffed line though, as she does feel rather lightweight!

I fussy cut a couple of the purple stars for her paw pads. I was originally going to make them as ‘tickle toes’ hence the trimmed fur at the top, but I didn’t have the confidence in my hand sewing ability to make a decent job of them.

I think maybe I could’ve made her neck a little shorter. That’s one disadvantage of not jointing the head, as it does tend to lead to a very long looking neck. Maybe next time I will add a joint on the head even if I omit them for the limbs.

Ok, I admit it – she’s only 98% finished in this photo. I ran out of black thread for her nose, so she was waiting for me to finish…. then the stitches just started looking worse and worse, so in the end I cut a piece of black acrylic felt and stitched that in place as a nose instead.


Pattern: Belladonna Bear by Emma’s Bears
Fabric: Starry faux fur from Fabric Land

The Three Bears at Minerva

I’m back at the Minerva blog today, with four makes from a metre of Christmas cotton!

This was a really fun project to make and as you can probably tell, we had lots of fun taking the photos too!


Patterns: Delight by Emma’s Bears | Sketchbook by Buzzing and Bumbling
Fabric: Christmas cotton supplied by Minerva

Bear Phone Case

I couldn’t decide on the fabric to make Mum’s phone case – so I made her two! This one is made from the same fat quarter design as her baseball cap, in case you’re wondering where you’ve seen it before!

Thankfully Mum’s phone is quite small, as when I tried testing the case for size with my phone, the strap wouldn’t meet the front section so there’d be no way to close it.


Pattern: Smartphone Case Tutorial by Dragon’s Flame Designs
Fabric: Fat Quarters from Hobbycraft

Woodland Phone Case

I never know what to make my Mum for her birthday, so it is always helpful when she puts in a request! This year one of the things she asked for was a new phone case… so of course I need to go one better and make her two.

This is made from my Phone Case Tutorial, although due to user error in marking out the pattern pieces, this is a little shorter than the original. As luck would have it, Mum’s phone is quite small, so it still fits perfectly!

Because it was a little shorter than it should be, I added in a popper and strap to close the case just to give a little ‘wiggle room’ in sizing. I do need to redo the popper though, as it has actually fallen off since then (oops).


Pattern: Smartphone Case Tutorial by Dragon’s Flame Designs
Fabric: Fat Quarters from Hobbycraft

Softshell Eden Jacket

Ok, I admit I’m not exactly sewing seasonal projects right now! But I have managed to get the Softshell Eden Jacket finished…. and my Mum has already claimed it for herself!

I wanted to make the topstitching quite noticeable, so I used some multicoloured Guttermann thread just to liven up the plain navy fabric. Unfortunately my sewing machine decided to skip stitches at times, so it’s not quite as evenly stitched as I’d hoped. I discovered on a later project that if I used a regular needle rather than a sharps needle, it actually sews an even stitch – just don’t ask me why!

I did purchase some poppers, but I haven’t yet tried adding them – Mum seemed quite happy with the jacket not having popped pocket flaps, and she never uses the poppers on her bought waterproof coat anyway.

The “alien” stage of turning the Eden jacket out – not the easiest of things to do with such thick fabric!

I’d never sewn a “proper” coat before, and certainly hadn’t even considered bagging out a lining… but it all went surprisingly smoothly, even down to the thread chain to finish it all off.

The finishing touch – a thread chain to hold the lining and outer fabric together under the arms (never done one of these before)

I couldn’t resist using a rainbow zip on the front of the jacket – the front placket does cover it, but it does give a flash of colour when you go to zip it up / unzip it.

And of course a colourful lining, to make up for the very understated plain dark blue outer.

All we need now, is some suitably cold weather so Mum can test it out!


Pattern: Eden Jacket by Tilly and the Buttons
Fabric: Navy softshell from Fashion Fabrics
Other supplies: Zip from Mibs

Nautical Product Testing

Hop over to the Minerva Crafts Blog to see what I made from this nautical polycotton – it’s never too late to think of summer sewing!


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Patterns: McCalls 7381 and Endless Summer Shorts* by WinterWear Designs
Fabric: Nautical Polycotton supplied by Minerva Crafts

Magic Softshell Bag – take two

I started a Magic Softshell messenger bag earlier in the year, almost finished it, then realised the dimensions I’d used for the pocket weren’t quite right. After some (unwise) unpicking, where I ended up making a small hole in the lining, I shelved the bag in the depths of my UFO pile.

Then I made the mistake of going for a 3 mile walk in torrential rain…. which came through the waterproof bag I had taken with me. So I realised I was going to have to make a replacement waterproof bag before the winter, as being England it’s likely to be quite wet!

Luckily I had enough of the Magic Softshell left over to cut a fresh bag, and armed with some patterned polycotton which I had left over from a previous project, I set to work cutting out a fresh bag, using current favourite bag pattern from Crazy Little Projects.

It’s not the easiest thing to get a photo of (the original softshell colour I was after, didn’t get enough interest to make the preorder, so this one was my second choice), but when the fabric is wet, the pattern of clouds and stars appears.

I’m sticking with my previous ‘hack’ of the pattern, to include a patch pocket with flap on the front flap, rather than messing with a zipped pocket. This actually makes it a lot easier to open, and there’s less things that can go wrong (like the zipper pull coming off when I try using the pocket!).

All the seams are sewn with a triple straight stretch stitch for strength, and I also zigzagged the curved corners just for ease of mind if I put anything heavy into the bag. The main seam stitches should be fine without that, but I like to be certain.

Just the lining to sew, then I can start putting it all together!


Pattern: Messenger Bag by Crazy Little Projects
Fabric: Magic Softshell from Mibs Fabrics