Unseasonal, but finally finished!

When you think of polar bears, you probably think of snow, ice, and generally cold weather. But this particular polar bear wanted to enjoy a hot summer – or at least as hot as the weather gets here in England! So here is Martin the Polar Bear, who has taken a liking to watching cookery shows on tv.

Usually when sewing with faux fur, it’s recommended to trim the fur in the seam allowance. This makes the seams easier to sew as the fur isn’t sliding about all over the place, but also it means it’s easier to stop the fur getting caught in the seams.

I didn’t bother with trimming the fur, as I didn’t feel the pile on this faux fur was long enough to need that. I got on fine, apart from one point on Martin’s neck where I’d not actually caught the backing fabric in the seam. If I make another polar bear from this fabric, I think I would just trim down the fur in the seam allowance on both sides of the neck seam, and leave the other seams untrimmed.

As you can tell, Martin made himself at home quite quickly – I hadn’t realised he could reach the computer keyboard from the chair… think he was trying to find some recipes he could cook.


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

A (not-quite-so) Seasonal Bear UFO

I will admit I started making the Polar Bear last year, with the aim of him featuring on my blog before Christmas. Unfortunately ‘real life’ got in the way, as it has a tendency to do, and although I finished the bear, I never got as far as the blog post! So here we have the not-quite-so-seasonal Polar Bear UFO.


Having made Frank the Not Quite a Polar Bear, I couldn’t resist making a seasonal looking bear to go with him! I used the same applique idea for the Polar Bear’s paws, but picked out some silvery plush fabric instead of the brown. I also trimmed down the white faux fur underneath the applique sections just to try and get my zigzag stitches to lie a little neater. I could’ve brought the applique in a little more from the edges though, as once I finished sewing the Polar Bear there’s not a particularly noticeable gap between the paw pad and the side seam in places!

Rather than the blue eyes I used for Frank, I thought it was better to stick with a more traditional brown for the Polar Bear. I can’t say the bear looked overly pleased at having to wait for me to take his photo while he was still inside-out though! I get the idea he’d rather I hurried up so he could be stuffed!


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

2019 Nine to Try – recap

And we’re back! That was a longer hiatus than I’d anticipated, so I do have a few blog posts I’d planned for December, which will obviously now be pretty unseasonal… but they’re heading onto the blog over the next few weeks anyway!

So let’s start with the recap of my 2019 Nine to Try


How can it be the end of 2019 already?! The biggest question though, is have I managed to make any of my 2019 Nine to Try, or have I just been making other items instead?

  • Fashionista Jacket* by WinterWear Designs
    I’ve actually made two Fashionista Jackets – one from softshell, and the other from denim…. and I have a linen-like fabric set aside to make a third Fashionista too!
  • Bryce Cargo Trousers* by Hey June Handmade*  
    I haven’t even got as far as printing off the pattern for these. I do like the idea of them, but the shape looks like it could be quite complicated to get the fit just right.
  • Brunswick Sweater* by Hey June Handmade*
    Again, I love the shape of the sweater, but I haven’t got close to getting this one printed off even… maybe 2020 will be the year for that pattern?

Middle Row:

Bottom Row:

  • Neck Tie Top* by WinterWear Designs*
    Despite my best intentions, I didn’t even take another look at this pattern in 2019!
  • Kelly Anorak by Closet Case Patterns
    I was all set to make this pattern, when the Eden jacket was released by Tilly & the Buttons. The Eden jacket is less fitted in its shape (there’s no waist drawstring either), so I decided to swap the Kelly over to the Eden instead!
  • Belladonna Bear by Emma’s Bears
    I have made several bears this year, but not from this particular pattern! If I can find some cotter-pin teddy bear joints, then I might give this pattern a go in the future though.


Overall, I made a grand total of three of my nine to try (or 4 if you count the Kelly anaorak swapping over to the Eden jacket) *laughs*
But really, it doesn’t matter how many I made – it’s fun to pick out some patterns at the beginning of the year, and have a rough idea of “I’d like to make that”, but those ideas are allowed to evolve and change through the year. Nothing is set in stone!


* affiliate link
WinterWear Designs*
Hey June Handmade*

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