I loved the look of the bear’s paws in the Emma’s Bears Jumbo pattern, but unfortunately, Happy didn’t come with those “pulled toe” instructions. Jumbo lives up to his name, using an entire metre of fabric, and potentially multiple bags of stuffing!
I was going to machine sew the seams for strength, but the weight and bulk of the fake fur was pulling it away from the needle as I stitched, so the majority of the seams ended up being hand sewn. For added strength, I used 4 strands of thread twisted together, and backstitched the seams.
I did use slightly smaller eyes than the pattern suggested, as I only had 11mm eyes to hand at the time, but I don’t think that’ll be too noticeable once his ears are added, and he’s fully stuffed. There’s a couple of seams that I need to finish and I want to redo his neck seam to make his neck slightly shorter…. but there’s no major rush, as at the moment I’ve run out of stuffing anyway!
A month or so ago, I was browsing for sewing inspiration when I came across this glow in the dark fabric. I wasn’t too sure how well it would actually glow, but I thought it would look great paired with some blue “minky” to make a bat.
Using the bat pattern from BeeZee Art again, I marked out the pieces on the fabric using a white pen, as I felt that would be easier than using chalk. This is the first time I’ve tried sewing a bat from this pattern with “minky”, and although it has a tendency to slip and slide while I’m sewing, I think this bat is much better than my first attempt, which used regular fleece.
There are a couple of elements that could have been sewn slightly more accurately – my bat does look like he’s got one foot standing on the other, but that just gives him character. And to make him really special, those stars actually glow in the dark!
It’s amazing how different a bear looks once it has ears! Instead of looking like some strange furry alien, you suddenly realise it’s actually a cute and cuddly bear.
The long purple fur made the nose and mouth embroidery a little more challenging than I’d anticipated, but it did help to hide any mistakes.
I trimmed Happy bear’s paw pads on the arms, just to make them look a little tidier, although I left the foot paw pads long, just for a bit of variety. This is the first bear that I’ve added eye whites to (that was just a small piece of white felt positioned underneath the eye before I added the safety backing), but I think it gives him some extra character.
Happy Bear (who will be getting a new name soon), was made from an Emma’s Bears pattern, using fake fur from my local fabric shop.
I was struggling to find any free “real” teddy bear patterns – there are lots of free patterns out there, but none that look like a true collector’s style teddy bear, so I decided to buy a pattern from Emma’s Bears. I picked Happy Bear, as I liked the idea of being able to make a two-tone bear.
I already had the rusty red and purple fake fur left over from previous projects, and knowing how the fake fur tends to slide around while machine sewing, I decided to be reckless and hand sew all the seams!
My hand sewing skills are somewhat limited – they tend to be a source of humour in the family, as I seem to have inherited my Great Gran’s skills…. the stitches don’t tend to be overly neat, and I always use a contrasting colour so they’re more visible against the fabric.
I used two strands of sewing thread to hopefully give enough strength, and backstitched every seam. I will admit I used a contrasting coloured thread, simply so I could see the stitches if I needed to unpick any! But with the stitches being on the inside, nobody would be any the wiser for which colour thread I actually used.
“Happy” is jointed to allow him to pose better, but I think he will look even cuter once he has ears, nose and a mouth.
After a couple of recent attempts at making bears from other people’s patterns, I decided it was time I tried making a pattern of my own. I wanted to use furry fabric, as that gives the muzzle a better shape, and can also help conceal any lumps in the seams, but fake fur can be expensive and I didn’t want to spend too much on something that might not even work.
Luckily, Abakhan had a sale which included some brown fake fur for just £3.99 a metre, so that made the perfect fabric choice.
The fur is shorter than the purple I used before, and is also trimmed at certain points, so it isn’t all the same length. The small size of this bear doesn’t really show off this multi-length fur to its best, as it does look like I’d just trimmed it myself and made a pretty bad job of it….
But considering this is a first draft of a self-made pattern, I’m pleased with how it came out. I think I would lengthen the arms on the next one, and possibly shorten the body, as he does seem quite thin and lanky.
The inner ears are made from scraps of minky left over from the previous bears, and so far I’m undecided if I should embroider a nose, or if he looks ok with a brown furry nose.
The round muzzle is a particular favourite feature, as most of the patterns I’ve seen have a pointy muzzle with the head gusset reaching all the way to the nose. This bear doesn’t actually have a head gusset at all!
Meet Ping the Panda! Although he doesn’t really look like a panda, because I used the same fabric throughout. Ping the Panda’s pattern came from a back copy of Sew Magazine. It was designed for mohair fabric, so like the long neck bear, Ping does look a little different to the picture in the pattern.
Ping’s neck doesn’t seem to be elongated which is a bonus, although his paws look like they aren’t quite attached at the right angle. I think his arms are positioned a little too far back, which makes them splay out at the front, rather than being held straight down by his side.
Taking out my never ending quest for perfectionism, Ping is perfectly cuddly and would make a great bed time buddy for someone.
It’s taken a while to get this bear finished, but here’s my first “minky” bear! I can’t remember where I got the pattern from, but I think it’s the same one I used for my purple furry bear a while ago.
The lack of fur length gives this bear a totally different look – his muzzle seems much longer than the purple bear’s. The only real difference other than the fabric is this bear is unjointed, whereas the purple bear has movable joints.
I think I need to improve my sewing skills when it comes to the neck of unjointed bears though, they always seem to have an elongated neck, which does give them a rather unusual appearance. Maybe this one just needs a scarf to hide that a little….
Lots of patterns for plushies use what they describe as Minky fabric. I found several American companies that sell it, but nowhere in the UK. I even asked in my local fabric shop, and had a confused look from the salesperson who had obviously never heard of it.
Browsing through one shop online, I discovered that UK stores actually call minky fabric “Cuddle Fleece” or “plush” fabric – no wonder I couldn’t find it anywhere!
I placed an order for a small amount of Soft Cuddle in Cappuccino, which is quite a neat shade of brown, and also some “Rabbit Cuddle” which has more of a random texture to the fabric rather than being totally soft and sleek.
I’ve not yet finished making anything from these, but I have got as far as marking out the pattern on the reverse. I wasn’t too sure what would be the best way of marking the pattern – chalk wouldn’t be that easy to use on the fabric, so in the end I used a biro.
I was lucky enough to be one of the pattern testers for the Sweet Briar Sisters Spooky Spiders pattern, and thought it was about time I shared my spider creations with you.
I started with the Baby Spider, which is about 4 inches tall. Not only because I was short on stuffing, but I wasn’t too sure how much polycotton I had left in this colour, and didn’t want to run out before I finished sewing all those legs!
Meet Nigel the spider – Mum decided that he looked like he was wearing a suit, with the business-wear-colour polycotton I’d used, and thought he needed a traditional sounding name.
Apart from getting two legs facing the wrong way (he has a slightly knock-kneed look on one side), he came out really well. I deviated from the pattern and used a stiff cotton instead of felt for his eyes, adding some interfacing to the back of the polycotton so the zigzag stitch didn’t catch up too much.
Rummaging in my “I started making this but abandoned it” bag, I found a dress I’d started making from this orange leaf patterned polycotton. Realising that the dress wouldn’t suit or fit me, I decided to unpick it and turn it into a Mama Spider!
Turning the legs on Norma the Spider was so much easier than with Nigel! This time I had some white wool felt, so the eyes are stitched properly – I added another layer of fabric behind the eyes and mouth again to assist with the zigzag stitches.
Nigel’s mouth was hand sewn, but Norma’s was just zigzagged on the machine, which leads to a clearer line. I do need to hand sew some detail on her eyes, but so far the outer line is machine stitched, with a little pencil mark in the centre so I know where to sew!
I was browsing the Primark website the other day, when I came across a pack of 4 pairs of Harry Potter themed socks. “Nothing special about that”, I hear you say, but I had plans for these socks….
Wouldn’t it be a neat idea to make these into sock owls? I’d already made one out of a grey sock, but while it looks cute, it’s not really all that startling. My first challenge was the orientation of the sock – the pattern uses the toe part of the sock as the head, but then the writing and crest would be upside-down. Gathering the heel part of the sock, I realised I would need to add something to the head in order to cover the stitches and make it look more finished.
Cue the Witch Hat free pattern from BeeZee Art on Craftsy – what better way to shout “Harry Potter” than an owl wearing a wizarding hat?
I stitched the hat by hand, but I think it would look better on the machine, as then the brim could be totally flat on the edges. However, for a first Gryffindor Owl, I think it looks pretty cute, and I’m already planning the next 7 owls from the remaining socks! 🙂