Sunday, 15 April 2012

Welcome to the Body Farm/Teddy Bears' Picnic

More for the Icknield Quilters Sales Table in May (19th, Baldock High Street - please come and see out stall and making the raffle quilts)
This was a pattern I'd cut out years ago, probably from Woman's Weekly.  Ah yes, well on my way to blue rinses and twin sets, even then.  I lost the actual instructions and only had the pattern pieces cut out in card.  Unfortunately, I also lost the tummy gusset, so these bears are rather anorexic.  They are about 3 1/2" tall and are sort-of jointed (if you move the limbs only once!).  There are a lot of instructions (listen up now!), but they are easy, although time-consuming.
Copy and paste image to resize, if necessary (just how mad are you to make it this small?)
Print out the pattern on a sheet of card, draw round the shapes and back-stitch  an 1/8th  of an inch in from the edge of the fabric.  You could just as easily draw around the shapes and cut out leaving a seam allowance and sew on the lines of the pattern.  Alternatively, you could sew this on a sewing machine, but as the pieces are so small and fiddly that might be more trouble than it's worth.  You could also resize the pattern and make the bear whatever size you wish - it doesn't have to be this strait-jacketed small.  

I used to press small seams like these, or seams in quilt blocks, by finger-pressing or using a finger nail, but this can stretch the fabric (especially if it's on the bias).  I've been looking around for a wallpaper seam roller that is barrel shaped.  This could just be rolled along the seam on a hard surface without any stretching of the fabric and the barrel shape would stop lines/creases forming at the edge of the roller onto the fabric.  The cheapest I could find was a tenner, so I'm looking into making a home-made one of these.  For these bears, I pressed with the rounded end of a broken wooden cloths peg (wood seems gentler than plastic?)

Even better, had I thought of it at the time, would be to print the pieces directly onto fabric with Bubble Jet Set.  I am experimenting with making a home-made Bubble Jet Set type solution and will post it as soon as I can - this allows you to cover fabric with solution, let it dry and then the fabric itself can be put directly through your printer and then the printer ink is permanent and won't smear or bleed.  With such a solution, you would also be able to design your own fabrics or print  your pieces onto the fabric ready to cut out and sew, without the need for any templates.

 Instructions (shhh, I'm talking to you!)
ARMS      Join paws to arms, right sides together. Press.
                 Join backs and fronts of each arm (leaving openings to turn out), right sides together.            
                 Turn out and stuff firmly and close opening.  
I whip-stitched all the openings closed for the whole bear
LEGS      Join legs, right sides together, leaving the openings unsewn.
FEET      Join foot to leg with widest part of foot at the toe end.  You could pin this, but I just started at the toes and aligned the centre of the fat end of the foot to the seam in the leg and back-stitched all round.  Make sure wrong sides of the foot and leg are facing you.     
                Turn out, stuff firmly, sew closed.
BODY    Join body pieces, leaving opening open.  
               Turn right sides out and stuff firmly (I do this regularly next to the fridge).  Sew up opening 
 HEAD   Join head gusset to one of the sides of the head.  Make sure right sides are together.  Start at tip of nose and sew a few stitches to the top of nose and fasten off.  Sew the same pieces together from the neck end, easing in excess fabric of head.  Sew other side of head to the joined piece.  
                Turn right sides out and stuff firmly    
                Take tiny running stitches around base of neck and pull up tightly.
                Using embroidery thread, make eyes with french knots and sew a triangle for a nose.
EARS     Sew a running stitch around the outside of the circle.  Pull up over a smaller circle cut from card (I used my washers, from the Make Your Own Fabric Covered Button Tut).  Iron or press with your peg(!).  
                Cut thread and take out coin, washer, card........
JOIN EARS TO HEAD  Place flat on head, a little forward from the top and back-stitch through centre of circle.  Fold up both sides of circle and whip-stitch closed.

We now enter The Body Farm.........

JOIN ARMS TO BODY  Knot a doubled length of thread (as if your life depended on it - a big knot!).  Sew through one arm from the inside (side with paw pad) to the outside.  Sew back through this arm, the body and then the other arm.  Sew backwards and forwards a couple of times.  Sew back towards the body but bringing the needle out on a seam, knot and then run the end of the thread though the body and cut.

JOIN HEAD TO THE BODY  Run the (heavily knotted!) thread from where the leg will join, up through neck, through base of head (catching as much stuffing as possible), back down through the neck of the body and out from where the other leg will be attached. Pull tight.  Knot and run thread through bear and cut off.

Then you have your bear!  The arms, legs and head move, but are quite delicate.

 Now, go and have a cup of tea/coffee(whiskey?) and put your feet up.  I insist.


  1. Well, thank you! How kind! You have given me the kick I need to start posting's been a while.....thanks again for leaving a comment (and a nice one, at that!)