Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Five random teddy bear making tips

No, I haven't made it through a day this week yet without falling asleep.  But when I woke up this morning I thought it's a good day for designing a panda.  This is not really digressing from my intentions to work on Angus and the Polymer Clay Noses tutorial.  I'm at a point with the noses tutorial where I need a live sample to take pictures of, and I don't have a work in progress that will work as a model. 
By lunchtime I had a workable set of templates, and found mohair that I like.  While I was working on the head, I thought of teddy bear making techniques, and the small things that make life easier.   Here are five that came to mind.
1.  Make your templates from sturdy material.  I use old x-ray sheets that have been cleaned with bleach and hot water.  You can also buy template plastic at a quilting shop.  Sturdy templates give a much more accurate result when tracing on to fabric, and you can use them many times over without wearing them out.
2.  When tracing pattern templates on to dark coloured fabric, a metallic gel pen works really well.
3.  Darts and small parts.  My panda has many darts.  With small bears I often don't cut out the darts, I just pinch and sew them.  Cutting out darts can weaken the structure of the fabric.  On the other hand, this bear is not so small and has dense fur.  Not cutting out the darts might make the seams chunky.   Sewing in those eye patches is going to be a challenge.  Another option would be not to cut the white part, and to ladder stitch the black patches on to the right side of the fabric.  
4.  Phew I made it.  The eye patches fit in, and the darts are sewn!  When sewing together different colours of fabric, always choose a thread that matches the darkest colour.
5.  Pandas are chubby creatures.  When selecting a pattern for a panda, choose one that has many darts, this gives roundness in all the right places.  Now that the darts on the side head and gusset are sewn, one can already see that the cheeks will be nice and fat, and the top of the head domed.

This was a good spurt of activity.  Maybe tomorrow I have a finished head to show you.


  1. Thank you - you are never too old to learn something new. I remember my first bear I made. It was from light fabric and I used a purple koki pen to draw the outline. Made it in the heat of December and the fur had purple marks it., due to my hands perspiring and causing the ink to run.

    1. Ha ha Carol. My first tracing pen was the blue office ballpoint variety. The ink is oily and slowly insinuates itself into your skin and the fabric. After a while everything looks grubby. I don't think gel pens had been invented back then...

  2. fantastic work Megan. Cant wait to see more x

    1. First gusset sailed into the dustbin. Head now has the shape I had in mind. Stuffing already.