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.
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!
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?
Provence Pea Coat* by WinterWear Designs* I did make a faux-wool Provence Pea Coat in 2019, although I think that one hasn’t actually reached the blog yet (I’ll have to get some photos and change that!)
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!
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!
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.
My original plan was to make a cuddly dog from this spotty faux fur fabric, but I didn’t have a suitable pattern, so I decided to make this a furry Atilla the Bun instead!
I tried to fussy cut the paw pads, as the spots looked more like hearts in places, and I thought it would be a neat idea to have a heart on each pad.
I wanted to practise making non-jointed toys, so Atilla’s arms and legs are stitched into place. I still haven’t quite got the hang of angling them correctly, as one leg faces down and the other is kicked out in front of him…. but he can still sit down properly.
Since I took these photos, I have added in a small piece of black felt for his nose – after all, you can’t have a bunny with no nose, can you?
There’s always something odd about the look of a plush bear when it’s still in the UFO stage….
….especially when you’re modifying the pattern to make it an unjointed bear! I cut circles where the joints would normally go, then stitched the inner limb to the body right sides together. The limb then gets turned through the hole, and the other side of the limb is stitched to it as usual.
You then end up with the arms and legs attached and can stuff them through the gap in the back of the body. Also, this only gives that seam at the back of the body to hand sew at the end!
One inside-out bear just waiting for me to sew the head into place, before turning. They do look strange this way round! I thought the unusual blue would make a change from traditional teddy bear brown, and the purple stars stand out well too.
I’ve made lots of teddy bears, but I’ve never made any kind of plush bird before. When I spotted the Pudgy Plumes pattern, I decided it was worth trying out for my first plush bird. The pattern includes instructions for a Flamingo, Vulture and Ostrich; I decided on the vulture simply because the shape looked easier to try out, given that I’d also never made any of that designer’s patterns before.
I didn’t want to have to purchase more fabric to make the vulture, so I used the same faux fur for every part. Although this doesn’t make him overly realistic in his colouring, it saved a lot of hassle in needing to try and find multiple shorter pile fabrics!
The pattern comes with a choice of small or large wings, so naturally I went with the large – Vernon needs decently sized wings to be able to fly! I did make a mistake in attaching the feet, accidentally skipping past part of the instructions, however I was able to resolve that by hand sewing the feet in place. Because Vernon wasn’t made with the view to giving him to a young child, I’m not worried about the strength of my hand sewing, but if I was making him for a child, I’d make sure to follow the instructions properly.
Some of the fur is still trapped in the seams, but I struggled to tease it out. I think that’s a combination of the pile length and the short stitches. A lot of patience and a decent comb (or even a long pin) would probably work, although I’m running short on the patience right now!
I enjoyed making Vernon so much, that I have already planned to make another bird to keep him company. The only question is, should it be an Ostrich, or a Flamingo? What do you think?
Ok, I admit it – I like making plush bears! I ordered some faux fur from Fabric Land a couple of months ago, and couldn’t resist trying out the Belarius Bear pattern from Emma’s Bears. But I also added in a couple of variations – I didn’t have any toy joints to hand, so I made him unjointed, and I also added in a ‘giggler’ mouth!
There’s probably a “proper” way of making a giggler style mouth for a plush bear, but I just cut a piece of faux fur that was marginally smaller than the ear pattern piece, cut the same out of a red plush fabric for the inner mouth, stitched them around the outer edge (right sides together), then turned it right side out and added a very small amount of stuffing. I then hand stitched down the middle (from the front to back of the mouth), to create a tongue-like effect. The mouth piece was then hand stitched in place, and the fur under the muzzle was trimmed a little, to stop him having a hairy inner mouth.
While the ‘giggler’ style went well, I did make a mistake in attaching his limbs – I was certain I had the legs lined up, but once I’d turned him right sides out and added the stuffing, it was clear that Belarius is a rather active bear….
In fact, he seems to be permanently walking! He doesn’t stand unaided, and his uneven legs do make it more challenging for him to sit down comfortably, but I think he would make a great toy for a child who doesn’t mind him always wanting to go for walks!