was my very first attempt at a teddy bear and I have to say (smugly!)
that after the last stitch was sewn in his back and I turned him
round to face me I was absolutely delighted with the result. This
may demonstrate several things: what a good book Julia Jones has
produced, teddies are easier to make then porcelain dolls, stuffed
toys are cute, I am complacent.... and so on. In fact to encourage
you I think it means that if you embark on a Teddy then your chances
of producing an acceptably good result are quite high; I suppose
I am quite experienced (as distinct perhaps from skilled) in needlework
and working with different fabrics, but other than that I knew nothing
about Teddy making. There are many things wrong with the Teddy (see
further down) but he is still nice.
certain why I started on the bear; it was summer and I was in the
library and I saw the book. I already had a piece of black astrakhan
which I had bought in John Lewis with a view to doing a bear craft
project with my step-daughter; I knew that bear raw materials are
important and can be expensive. As I imagined that we would not
do more than one bear, I wanted it to be nice quality and this was
an opportunity for a short pile (easy to work with?) good quality
remnant. Time passed; she grew up; I still had the fur. When I saw
the Early Black Bear in bouclé fabric with velvet paws, he
seemed perfect. I went to the web to look for the rest of the supplies
(joints, eyes, straw) and found all I needed at Christie
Bears. After that the project took only a weekend to complete
from tracing the pattern to viewing the completed bear.
the following paragraphs you can see what his problems are and learn
from my mistakes, and successes.
- As instructed
I spent a lot of time on laying out pattern pieces and ensuring
the piles ran "down" and as I wanted.
- He is not
hand sewn. I used a "walking foot" on my sewing machine
which avoided too many issues with the pile on the fur and the
velvet (but despite this he still has a wrinkle on his nose).
- I thought
I knew what a crown joint was but I made his joints as "snail"
joints; in addition to this I misinterpreted the text in the book
and stuffed his joints in slightly the wrong way. The result is
that although the joints seemed tight enough, once he was completed
it became clear that the joints are too loose. I don't mind but
the next bear turned out to have better tighter crown joints (some
- I was not
sure how to attach this bear's head to his body properly; I gathered
the neck opening in the body until it was a small hole, and then
put him together. The result is that his arms are too high up
his body compared with the head and he has a hunched look. The
arm and head hardboard discs interfere with each other; I now
believe there should be about half and inch between them.
- I stuffed
him very hard with straw, as I believe this to be correct and
spent a lot of time squeezing and shaping - it has made him very
hard - but his soft fur makes up for that.
- I used matt
boot button eyes in the size suggested but the red eye rims in
felt are my own idea (from the text in the book - to make him
fierce...); this has made his eyes rather big, and for greater
realism you go for smaller eyes apparently. Also his eyes are
wide apart and his mouth and nose are quite small. Overall this
has made him look innocent and not too bright - but - "cute"
in fact, I think.