Wednesday, August 10, 2011


For the past several months I've been having problems with my right hand. I mentioned it awhile back on one of my posts so those of you who visit regularly know I have a bit of a problem. I won't bore you with the details but will admit it's been a struggle to work on my paper mache pieces.

I need to be making something or I feel like there's something wrong with the world so I've been trying to come up with something that's less difficult for me to handle at this time.  Something that doesn't require me to spend hours using files and sandpaper. I've thought about making dolls out of cloth but my sewing machine which is about 40 years old has been less than reliable in resent times so that idea was shelved.

A couple of days ago I played around with the machine and got it to where it isn't clunking and gobbling thread and breaking needles. I don't know if it's really fixed but I went ahead with an idea I had.

As some of you may know, I have a thing for teddy bears. I like dogs, kittens and rabbits too but teddy bears are the critters that I love the most. I follow several bear blogs and am so amazed at the talent that is displayed. I fall in love with a new bear on an average of at least one a day.

So...I sat down the day before yesterday and worked out 3 patterns for bears. Now you need to understand that although I've been sewing for most of my life and have made several dolls and animals in the past, I've never made a pattern for a bear and don't remember ever making one out of fur. I made a few many years ago out of calico.

Yesterday morning I cut out my first bear. I had fuzz everywhere. I never thought that I'd find another art form that's as messy as paper mache clay, but alas this too makes a huge mess.

I thought I had everything on hand that I would need to make a bear. Everything that is except for something to join the front and hind legs to the body and eyes. Off to the craft store and home again and then I was all set. I sewed like a little old lady behind the steering wheel of a car she can't see over. Slow. That's not my usual speed but what could I do? I had no real idea of what I was doing. So...I plodded along and by dinner time yesterday evening I had a bear of sorts. He still didn't have a nose and I wasn't sure what to do with the fur on his snout. I'd had enough for one day, so the bear and I watched a movie together while I thought about how I was going to finish his face.

Early this morning I sat back to work and this is what I ended up with.

I haven't named him yet. I'm open for suggestions. I used some suede cloth that I had left over from another  project that I worked on years ago for his foot and paw pads and the inside of ears.

I have no idea of how you bear makers get rid of unwanted fur on the snout. I used scissors and spent a great deal of time trying to get it to look right. It wasn't easy so if there's a better way I'm all ears. I stitched his nose with embroidery floss and then painted it. I may try waxing it but am not sure.

I may make the snout on my next bear a bit longer. I attempted to give him the shoulder hump but am not sure it looks right. I also think I may have made his ears a trifle bit larger than they need to be.

He isn't a total disaster and I'm thinking he turned out alright for a first try but there are things I'll do differently if I make another. I guess it's like everything else, you have to figure out what you're doing by doing and you learn from your mistakes. I also discovered that although making this little fellow was easier on the hand for the most part, hand stitching wasn't all that much fun.

I'm going to vacuum fuzz up for the rest of the day, but who knows, I might take another stab at bear making. I did make two more patterns that I haven't tried yet.

I hoped you weren't dissappointed that this wasn't another ghoul or a new Santa.

As always, thanks for stopping by


Dawn in the Forest said...

So sorry to hear of your hand issues:( But on a bright note....that is the sweetest little bear! He's so adorable:)

Maggie said...

Your little teddy bear is quite adorable, but I think she is a girl! Is that the suede cloth we bought back in 1993 for the pigs and cats? I wish I still had mine!
The hump looks just right.

The Bear's Blog said...

HE IS PRECIOUS. Are you sure he is your first handmade teddy bear?

He is wonderful and I can't wait to hear what you name him.


The Bear's Blog said...

Hi Miss Maddyrose,

It's us - LuLu & Flora. We think your teddy bear is wonderful. You keep calling him "he" so we think he is a boy. What's his name?

Peanut butter & honey hugs,
LuLu & Flora

yoborobo said...

This is your first? Holy cow. He is so cute! You did an amazing job. As for a name. Hmmm...Walter. Henry. I have no idea -lol! Well done! xo Pam

Katy Cameron said...

Aww, he came out great.

As for the fur a few tips:

When cutting out, slide your scissors under the fur and only cut through the backing, then you'll get seamless seams (and far less fluff flying!)

Trim your seams back to the seam allowance. Yep, whack that fur off all round the edges for 1/4" or whatever your chosen seam allowance is

Before turning pieces the right way out, go round each seam with a seam ripper (NOT through the stitches!) and ease up any bits of fur trapped in the seams (so you'll have slightly furry inner seams)

I do muzzles two ways - for the Thistles (the funky coloured ones) I literally pull each bit of string mohair in the 'bare' area out, one strand at a time. That is not good for sore hands, trust me! For the Woods, I scissor sculpt, which is a posh way of saying I take small, very sharp scissors and kind of hack away at the fur. In an orderly manner of course ;o)

Happy bear making

Linda in New Mexico said...

This little guy is so sweet. His paws remind me of a story I used to read my daughter when she was was about a puppy whose name was PeanutButter Paws. His paws were suede as well. You did an excellent job on the whole bear. So sweet.
I have a tail, er tale for you. I got a package in the mail I sent to you ages ago. It was crumpled and torn and missing what used to be inside. I was shocked that the PO would even bother to deliver it back to me, but better than to you that way. So I guess, I'm off to do another Not Quite Right heart for my winner of the long ago. I wondered why you hadn't said anything about it and now......dun dun duh....I know why, you never got it. Unless of course you opened it and sent it back for a refill (just joking). I'll get a deliver confirmation on the new one. So sorry, I should have done that the first time.
Happy bear doing and I'll get on the heart thingie. Oma Linda

orchid said...

Firstly, I hope the trouble with your right hand isn't serious one. Yes, your wonderful creations are made from your precious hands!!!
Oh, your bear is SO lovely and adorable♡♡♡ I loved the soft color and all.
Haha, you may know by now, I'm so clumsy with any of hand-works. Always pleasure to see your skillful works♬♬♬
Hugs xoxo, Orchid.

Country Creations By Denise said...

Thanks so much for posting my giveaway on your blog. Love your little bear. Beautiful work!!!

art2cee2 said...

Oh my goodness! He is just adorable! And that was your first, amazing! :-)

Wateringen said...

Dear MaddyRose,

What is this bear a cute boy!
This is your first bear, wauw this is amazing!

And I now a name for this cute boy..his name is Little Charlie..
with his cute face.

Groetjes...Grandma Marijke

Dessa Rae said...

Hi, I absolutely love your little bear!! He is so cute! I can't believe he is your first. My first looked like a furry

I think you should name him Lucky...
He is lucky you worked so hard to bring him to life...and such a cute personality!!

Heather said...

what a sweet teddy bear....i think he's just about Washington??? not sure, why? LOL - anyway, I love the story here...and I can picture fur flying everywhere! great post! yes, i would love to see more!

Yael Assia said...

Your teddy bear is lovely !!! I know what you feel... used to play the piano years ago and intended to graduate, and had an accident with my left hand : flesh minced, hand swollen... and later a second (yeah...) accident. Same hand. Nerve cut. Two fingers "insensitive", like dead. Could not feel anything anymore with them : hot, cold, anything. I still cannot really "feel" with those two fingers, but my hand is almost "normal", i live with it, model clay with it, tap on the pc keyboard with it... and i intend to play then piano one day again :) So get your hopes up :) Have a sweet week end ;)

Mina said...

I would never guess in a million years that you have never made your own bear pattern or one out of fur because this little love appears to be made from a pro! He is so sweet and well proportioned. I love his little face.

I am beginning to think that somewhere in your genealogy there is a Christmas elf; a master creator of whimsical treasures. Your work is always a bright place in my day, Miss Maddyrose. Have a beautiful weekend!