I know this may sound random, but I was thinking the other day that I wanted to make a teddy bear. I made a stuffed pig out of fleece for a friend’s baby for christmas, and thought, hey? How hard could this be? I googled “Teddy Bear Template” to find a pattern. Here’s the best one that I found online:
The search gave me a pretty big looking pattern, and without a useable printer, I held up pieces of paper to the computer screen and just drew the pieces, then cut them out. I cut a set of the pieces into a very soft fabric (almost like the softest, shaggiest towel you’ve ever felt) and cut the pieces as directed. After cutting ALL of them, I realized that I wanted a bigger teddy bear, and then tediously started to cut new ones. Yes, all new ones, about a half inch bigger then the pattern pieces that I had previously cut.
I took all the pieces to the sewing machine, and, with NO direction, just stared. I felt like a kid with a new bike. A bike that was all in pieces, and the directions were gone, and I had to figure out how to assemble this bike on sheer luck.
- I sewed the head first, sewing the two side pieces and the gusset together. I then sewed the ears into place based on where the template marked the ears to go, sewing them into the sides of the head from the wrong side of the fabric. I added some button eyes, and a little embroidery floss as a nose. It looked… rather crooked, but I just went with it. I knew the pieces were all the same size, so how off could it be?
- Then I sewed the body, I started by sewing the two front pieces together, then the two butt pieces together. I sewed the arms in between the butt and the body pieces while I was attaching them, enclosing them in while sewing the body almost shut. I left the bottom of the torso open to add the legs. The fabric and fuzzies kept getting stuck in the thread, but I didn’t let it bother me… too much.
- I didn’t know how to do the legs… I had pieces, but it looked like the legs should be sewn, stuffed, and attached to the outside of the body. I wanted the legs to come out of the body, and so I just sewed them into the body, and sewed it all together, while inside out. I added the tail at this step too.
- While still inside out, the body kind of all folded into itself like a Poppel, I attached the head, sewing almost all of the way shut, but leaving a space to turn it right side in, and stuff it.
My end result looks like a lamb that got ran over a few times.
This is the bear from the back. Yikes. Crooked, and mis-proportioned.
Now, you can laugh. I did. I presented this bear to my boyfriend as a failed attempt at a bear. He laughed, but he loves it. This morning, I saw the precut bear pieces from my first cutting, and decided that I couldn’t leave that bear un assembled, and decided to sit down in front of the classic movie channel and hand sew another little bear. Yes, you read the words “hand sew”. About 2 hours in, I declared myself a crafting masochist… WHY did I do this? This was taking forever! But, never the less, I knew what I had done wrong with the first bear and decided to make a better one.
- After sewing the head, and looking at it, It was very… crooked. Like the first one. And one ear was taller than the other, like the first one, even though I knew they were the same size when I cut them, and they were attached in the same place on both sides of the head. I realized that the reason that the bears were crooked wasn’t me, it was the stretchy fabric! It was tugging as it was being sewn in the machine, the feeder was stretching the bottom piece, and the top piece was laying flat, creating crooked pieces with everything I had sewn. Even though it looked even, when it was flipped inside out, it was crooked. I made the proper adjustments, sewing some pieces in farther and taking out fabric, and the bear started to look normal.
- I made the head like before, and the body, without attaching the arms and legs to the insides, and sewed them together and stuffed them. It looked like a peanut!
- I then sewed and filled the arms and legs separately, and attached them to the outside of the body, like I thought they should be. Here’s the end result of the 2nd bear:
I’m a fan of bear #2. It looks like a real bear, with little arms and legs on the outside of the body, and button eyes, a little stitched nose, and a ribbon on his neck. And it only took… 2 tries, 3 hours, 2 movies on TCM, a DVD, and a whole lot of fuzz on my carpet and couch. But, hey, it’s all about the end result, right?
So, as fun as this was, I say next time, I use a pattern with directions. I would advise using fabric without too much stretch to it, and I think that with this pattern, the butt and belly pieces can be adjusted to be larger, if you choose to make a jollier bear, since otherwise the head and the torso are about the same size, if not, the head is almost bigger. I will make another bear, and adjust the pattern, with photos and step by step instructions, so you can make one properly. Happy sewing!