Thursday, March 3, 2011

Teddy Bear Time!

About 15 years ago while still living in New Zealand I got caught up in the teddy bear making frenzy that swept the craft world. I bought everything you need to make them and had a lot of fun in the teddy bear world. Then quilting became my main craft outlet and teddy bears were swept to the side.

Until a few weeks ago I hadn't thought about making teddy bears for many years. Then I had my cousin's wife contact me about commissioning me to make a bear for a project she's working on. I can't say too much yet because it's a professional project still in the works, but I was only too happy to dig deep and find those teddy bear making skills deep inside this crafty brain of mine!

Making teddy bears is a little different than making a regular stuffed animal because for one, you're working with faux fur or mohair, both of which make a huge mess, and also because there is a very involved jointing system used for the limbs.

Back when I was making bears in NZ, you could buy all the supplies in most craft stores and quilt shops. So I thought, oh this will be easy to find the supplies - I'm in America now and you can buy ANYTHING in America! But oh boy was I ever wrong! Apparently the bear making craze never made it to America in a big way and there are NO supplies to be found locally, and just a few mail order places online, and most of them are UK based. What the heck?!! Maybe it was just a Commonwealth country kind of thing??

So I decided to use some good old Kiwi ingenuity, and some creative thinking between my cousin and I has produced some supplies. Thank you big box orange hardware store ;)

The bear parts I'm showing you tonight are just for the prototype - the real bear will be a lighter fur. This one is to mainly figure out the right shape.

My cousin said they are going for a Northwoods theme (they are in Washington State) and wanted me to put my own creative touches on the bear, so I decided to sew some teeny tiny log cabin blocks into the paw pads.

I am in love with them!!

I have all the pieces sewn together, now I just need to stuff everything, assemble him together, fluff the seams out a bit and he will be done. Stay tuned for more progress!


By Hoki Quilts said...

That's right, we did have a bit of a craze didn't we. I still have my teddy stuffer and dainty pink pliers and here in the shop I have the safety eyes in every colour imaginable - so many of them. Hopefully the craze will return.
Enjoy your makings, by the way I love the paw pads.

Sheila said...

Yep, I used to make teddies way back then (but not clever, jointed ones!) there was a bit of an upsurge here due to "Kirstie's Homemade Show". Love your patch paws, could becoe a trademark???

Julie said...

He will be very cute!