One of the Christmas presents I received last year from Anna was a bear she made for me. I promised to write how it was done, so you can make your very own teddy bear if you only want. Anna took pictures all the way through the process and she explained everything to me, so hopefully I will be able to provide you with an accurate information. If you have any problems or questions just let me know.
I guess the first thing will be to tell you what is needed for the bear. You will need a pattern (I will put a pdf with the pattern at the end for you to download), a piece of fluffy fur-type material, a small piece of dark brown fabric (felt) for the paw pads, stuffing, threads, leg joints and some sort of eyes and nose for the bear. All these items can be purchased from any craft shop selling fabrics and dressmaker’s materials. They are not expensive; you can also use old blanket or furry clothing. When you ask you Mum she will surly help and advise you. If you want just write an email to me at email@example.com and I will send you everything you need for the bear to the address you give me. Ask your Mum. She will also make sure of your safety while making your teddy bear and also could help you if you get stock with something. You will need to use scissors, needles, pins and thread.
Now you can begin making your very own bear.
First cut out all of the paper pattern pieces. Before the templates are positioned on the back of the fabric it is important to notice which way the pile is lying. Stroke the fur to feel which way feels smoothest; the direction you would stroke a cat. This is the direction the pile is lying and all the templates need to be placed on the back of the fabric with the arrows following this direction. So you can now place all the templates that need to be cut out from the fur onto the back of the fabric as close together as possible so that the minimum amount of fur is wasted. When you are sure they all fit draw around each piece with permanent marker (I forgot to tell you that you will need one). Make sure you transfer all the important information, all the letters, joint and eye positions, openings for turning and stuffing the bear. Once this is finished you can do exactly the same with the felt and foot and paw pad templates. The next job will be to carefully cut out all the pieces from the fabric. Take great care when cutting out the pieces, ensure your safety and also try to be as accurate as possible and follow the templates you have drawn. It is worth taking your time as effort now will help you make a far better bear.
When all the pieces are cut out and ready, they can be pinned together as per template e.g. front and back of the ear pinned together, front and back of the paw together, etc. The pieces should be always placed right sides together, making sure that the outer edges line up without stretching the fabric.
Insert pins carefully from the top with the points facing inwards. Take great care or ask your Mum for help to ensure the pins don’t pierce your fingers. Even when two pieces of fabric are pinned together they have a tendency to move as one piece slides and pushes against the other, so it is a good idea to oversaw the edges together to hold them in place.
To oversew the edges thread your needle and knot the thread at one end. From the back of the fabric, pass the needle through both layers to the front and pull the thread through. Take the needle to the back of the fabric and pass through both layers again to emerge at the front. This will leave a loop of thread holding the edges of the fabric together. Continue in this way, inserting the needle at the back of the fabric so that the pieces are securely held together. Remember to leave openings as marked on the pattern. When the oversewing is finished there is seam stitching to do.
The seam stitches you make will actually gave your bear shape and hold it together. The pattern has 6mm seam allowance, which means that you should make your stitches no more than 6mm away from the edge of the fabric. For seam stiches is best to use a double length of thread with knot on the end. Pass the needle through the fabric from the back to the front and pull the thread through. Then re-insert the needle from the front to the back about 3mm away. From the back make another 3mm stitch and continue this way until you have completed the seam.
Now you can insert the head gusset. This is probably the trickiest part of making any teddy bear but it is not really that difficult. Take the head gusset and pin it to the head with the right sides together at the tip of the nose (point A). Tuck the fur to the inside with your pins as you work, then insert the next pins at points C, which are on both sides of the head gusset near the eye positions. Finally place the next to pins at the points marked as D. Once the head gusset is held securely at these key points you can oversew the head gusset to the head to hold it in place ready for stitching. Remember that the bottom straight edge must be left open so that the head can be attached to the body a little later. Carefully follow the 6mm allowance and stitch the head gusset in place, taking particular care around tip of the nose. When the sewing is finished attached the eyes . There are marks on your pattern when the eyes should be positioned. If you buy the eyes from the craft shop, as Anna did, you need to insert them from the right side (which at the moment is inside the head) and close with the supplied washers. You can just use two nice buttons for the eyes instead if you prefer. Once the eyes are in place you need to insert a nose. Again, you can buy one from the craft shop or just use a nice button. Then you can turn the head right side out and make ears. Ears are very easy to do. Each ear is made from two pieces of fabric sewn together. Oversew around the curve edge of each only, leaving the bottom straight edge open to allow the ear to be turned right side out when ready. When you turn the ear right side out tuck the raw edges of the straight edge to the inside and ladder stitch the opening to close. So now you have a head and ears. Time for legs and arms!
So what is left now is bear’s body. it is very simple body with just one dart at the base to give extra shape. Before joining the pieces of the body together you need to first make the darts at the bottom of each piece. This is simply a matter of folding each body piece, right sides together, to bring the straight edges of the dart together. Pin to hold in place, then oversew and stitch. Place the body pieces right sides together, making sure that the straight edges at the top of the body are level and the seams of the darts are matching. Pin everything in place, then oversew the edges of the pieces together leaving the opening clear as marked on the pattern. Also keep the top straight edge open so that you can attach the head later.
Remove the pins and stitch from point E right around the front of the body to point F, then leave the gap for the opening and stitch from point G to H.
Now that all of the pieces are complete it is time to join them all together. Start by stitching the head to the body. Place the head upside down inside the body so that the bottom straight edge of the head matches the top straight edge of the body, point B on the head matches point E on the body and point D on the head matches point H on the body. This is quite tricky part, so may ask your Mum for help. After pinning and oversewing stitch the head to the body. turn the head and the body right side out ready to attach arms and legs. Inside the body find the first arm position and make a small hole there. Take one of the arms and push the shank of the joint through the hole in the body. Check that the arm is facing forwards, with the paw pads closest to the body. Then from inside the body place the joint disc on the shank and secure the arm in place with the washer. Push the washer onto the shank then check the arm to make sure it can be moved. The same way fix in place other arm and both legs.
Now your own bear is ready!
If you decide to make one surely it will be some work to do, but it will be very rewarding as this will be the only teddy bear in the world like that, your own, hand made! Anna gave the one she made to me and it is one of the best presents I have received as i know how much work, patience and love went into making it. You can consider making a bear for your Mum or your best friend? Let me know if you decide to make your own bear and ask any questions and if you want me to I will send you all the materials. Enjoy my dear Atria.