Hello Sewists,

You may (… or may not…) remember that a couple of years ago I made a waistcoat for my friend MrPeacock to wear to his wedding…? Well, now, you’ll be pleased to hear that Mr & Mrs Peacock have just had a little baby boy! To celebrate, MrA decided he’d like to make a teddy bear. Admittedly , I did perform the lions-share of the work in the end, but it was still very much a joint effort!

How Joyful Bear from HowJoyful.com

First off, I had to find a pattern. There are plenty of free downloadable patterns online, and this one didn’t take me long to find. On the website Joy says to add seam allowance or if you don’t, your bear will just be a little bit smaller. This one turned out pretty huge in the end, so take my advice, print and cut it straight out!

All the instructions, pattern & measurements are clear on the website, head over to HowJoyful.com to get all the details to make your own! For the main body, I was lucky enough to have a bit of this faux shearling left over from my Camil Cardigan – it was suggested it looked like teddy bear material at the time… how right that was! And some off-white felt for the face & paws.

Building a bear – head, front and back.

So long as you keep all your pieces labelled really clearly and remember their orientation, you’ll get quite far quite quickly. Unnervingly so! I think I sewed a wrist onto a shoulder at some point, but no matter.

‘Not another morsel – I’m stuffed!’

Although the foot pieces are the same, somehow it’s ended up looking like it’s got two left feet! Still, I can see this one’s going to be more of a hugger than a dancer!

As soon as the body was made, MrA couldn’t wait to get it stuffed. This was a very satisfying moment for both of us, I’ll tell you why – Ages ago I made some stuffed fish to hang from a friends seaside cottage, I had to buy wadding, and I bought it online. Now, I am notorious for being terrible with numbers and am always getting them confused (… or worse, ignoring them altogether!) so when I ordered stuffing, I ordered by the price I thought I should pay rather than the amount I thought I would need… it seems that stuffing isn’t as expensive as I believed or I found a real bargain of a website: but the upshot of it is, I’ve got a lot of stuffing… and a very small apartment!

It would have been easier to have sewn on at least half the head before stuffing the body, but there was no stopping him. I managed to get the eyes on before the head was stuffed though. I used a button with a small circle of white felt behind it for each eye.

Not winning any beauty contests yet…

Once the head was stuffed, I embroidered on a nose and started the grizzly task of sewing his head and body together. This was a pretty gnarly job and I’m massively thankful for the forgiving qualities of faux shearling! If you’re going to do this with a non-piled fabric, I highly recommend you sew a bow around it’s neck at the end! Anyone with a squeamish disposition, skip the next photo…

A curved upholstery needle really helped

And then, about two hours later, you have a bear! I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. The face was touch and go for a while, but ended up quite cute in the end. And it’s got a great big booty to sit down firmly on! I blame some of that on MrA and his frantic desire to try to get all our stuffing in it! For extra interest, we put a bell into its tail so there’ll be a cute jangle every time it’s thrown down the stairs or out of a window!

‘Give us a hug!’

Now, I’m not really much of a one for soft toys, But this big-booty-bear has stolen my heart! Well, it’s stolen a bag and a half of surplus wadding, and to be honest, I’ll be glad to see the back of that! – It may look like a cute bear now, but It’s still taking up the same amount of space as the sack of wadding that’s inside it. So it won’t break my heart to give it away! Bring on the slideshow…!

Jingle-bell tail
‘Is this my best side…?’
Making ‘friends’ with Freddie

So there it is! It wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be. And the fact that it was all over relatively quickly really added to the gratification factor – as well as using up some sizeable leftovers! Hopefully there will be a happy baby thrown into the equation too – we’ll see next weekend…

Until then,

Happy Sewing!

Notes to self

  • Machine sew the head on around the front before stuffing it.
  • Mark all the pieces clearly so you don’t get feet where hands should be!
  • (Using 1cm seams) Start & stop sewing 1cm from the ends of the seams to help lay them open when joining chunky seams.
  • Stop being such a grinch – make some more toys for the kids, there’s plenty of fabric scraps!