This was a really fun project to make and as you can probably tell, we had lots of fun taking the photos too!
Jumbo lives up to his name – he’s so big, he takes up the entire chair! So at the moment, he’s sitting on the floor, looking out of the window.
I didn’t have the right size eyes, so his eyes are a little smaller than intended, and I think I was a bit stingy on stuffing as his head really could do with a bit more padding in places. But for my first time sewing such a large bear (and having to hand stitch some seams because my sewing machine struggled), he’s come out really well!
Pattern: Jumbo by Emma’s Bears
Yes that’s right, the pear-shaped project is finally finished! Yay!
I machine stitched the arms and legs, but hand stitched the paw pads – they were just too small and fiddly to even attempt to sew by machine.
The main problem came when I realised I’d sewn the limbs ready to attach for a non-jointed bear, but had forgotten to add in holes in the body to sew them in (oops). I had to be creative with a way around that, which results in carefully trimmed the fur on the body where the limbs would be sewn on (the only way it’s possible to see the back of the fabric) and sew the limbs directly to the body.
Ok, I’m calling Willa “finished” but he still doesn’t have a nose…. he’ll get one (eventually), but for now he’s finished.
Think back to last year, and the fake fur I purchased ready for Christmas…. yes that’s right the green is the same as the bat I made earlier this year, and this is the project I mentioned that had gone pear shaped!
Willa is a smaller plushie than I’ve tried making before, and it’s proving more fiddly on the smaller pieces. The head was reasonably successful though, and I even attempted some fur trimming around the muzzle to try and get a better shape.
As usual, I’m leaving the nose and mouth embroidery until the very last minute…. that can make or break a plushie, which means it’s the most nerve-wracking part!
Whenever I’ve tried making a bear out of a non-pile fabric, they haven’t come out looking quite ‘right’. Usually it’s the head or muzzle that just seems to be the wrong shape compared to the faux fur example picture. Delight, however is specifically designed for faux for or calico, so the head shape should look perfect regardless of the fabric I use.
I decided to test it out with some remnants of a fleece blanket (the same one I used for the reindeer a couple of years ago) and made Delight entirely unjointed.
The head was a struggle to align, so I think Delight would benefit from a scarf or ribbon just to cover up the shoddy stitching! I used a combination of plastic pellets and toy stuffing to make Delight as cuddly as he looks. You may notice that he’s missing a nose and mouth – that was done on purpose, as I felt that the stitching would detract from the spotty details of the fleece ….that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!
I do love the overall look – it’s a much better head shape than the other patterns I’ve tried before. I think the next Delight I make will be in faux fur, but as Delight is designed as a signature bear maybe it would also work to have a calico version which has an embroidered design on it (or if that fails, just a hand drawn design instead!).
And yes I admit I used a darker thread than was advisable with such a light coloured fleece!
I was originally going to use the pink and yellow for this bear, but the yellow looked a little harsh so I plumped for cream instead. It gives the bear a raspberry ripple look, and that was the fastest I’ve ever named a bear!
So far I have his head stitched (although he still needs ears), and his legs finished. The paw pads are faux suede just to add a different texture to the sleek dotty fabric.
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!
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!