Ok, so it’s not the fabric I was originally intending on using to make a bat, but the pattern is one of my ‘Nine to Try‘ for this year and after my original idea for the fabric proved a flop, I couldn’t resist trying to make a furry bat instead.
First things first, fake fur is a thick fabric. My machine can happily sew two layers together, but once you get to four layers…. yeah, there’s a lot of hand-cranking to get that sewn. In the end, I resorted to hand stitching a lot of the seams, which I do try to avoid with fake fur, as it’s quite challenging to see the fabric backing through the fur pile.
I chose to not make the feet – there was no way the fur would turn out easily for such an intricate shape, and sewing them into the seam would have ended up as a total nightmare. But other than that, so far the bat follows the pattern!
Batty is now stuffed, with some plastic pellets in his body to help him stand on the shelf (as a lack of feet mean he’d be prone to falling over otherwise), and just needs the final bit of hand sewing to get his body and head permanently attached!
Bat Pattern: BeeZeeArt
Faux Fur: Fashion Fabrics
Having struggled with the smaller faux fur bear I’d tried making before Christmas (that one is currently in my “semi-abandoned” bag), I wanted to give the Delight pattern a go. This pattern is designed for faux fur or a non-pile fabric, so I thought it might work in fleece as a trial run. Given that the fleece Delight was a success, I cut the pattern pieces from some very tactile purple faux fur.
This fur is considerably thicker than the fleece, so I trimmed the fur in the seam allowance to make it a bit easier for my sewing machine to handle. The bear’s limbs are sewn into the body rather than being jointed, which means they’re firmly attached! I did use a toy joint for the head, as I found it quite challenging to line up the seam accurate in order to sew it directly onto the body.
Normally I’d use toy stuffing with some plastic pellets to give the bear weight, but I had some bean bag filling in the cupboard, and thought it could be interesting to try that out instead. It was a nightmare to stuff into the bear, as the filling not only has a has a static cling but also doesn’t compress when you try pushing down on it, so it ended up everywhere (including all over the floor at one point)! But it has given Delight a lovely crinkly sound when you squeeze his paws, and he is actually quite ‘squishable’ which is a bonus too.
As you can see, Delight isn’t quite finished yet – he still needs his ears, and a nose & mouth; those are the features which really give the bear character…. and are also the parts which I find the most challenging, as if the ears or mouth are slightly lopsided it really looks odd!
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics
Eyes and toy joint: Sew N Sew
There’s nothing better for inspiration than a rummage through a fabric shop. On this occasion, I found two soft long-pile fake fur fabrics. They were more like 1/3 to 1/2 of the standard width, but at £8 a metre, I knew that 50cm of each would be enough to make a few small bears.
The red is quite a bright intense shade, which looks plain until it catches the light at a certain angle, when you can see an almost silvery shade to some of the fur strands.
The forest green is a more muted shade compared to the red, but the two tone look with the silvery tips caught my eye in the shop.
I will admit I normally wouldn’t pick green fabric, but this was too sleek and soft to pass up! It should definitely make a bear that you can’t resist running your hands through its fur.
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!