Teddy bears were created in America in 1902, and are supposedly named "teddy" bears after Theodore Roosevelt. Traditionally bears were made from natural fibers such as wool, but modern bears are more likely to be made from synthetic materials to make them washable. Making your own teddy bear is satisfying and allows you to personalize it as wished. Many online manufacturers offer teddy bear templates and kits. As you become more experienced you can adapt the templates to change the look of the finished toy.
Items you will need
- Teddy bear parts template
- Fur fabric
- Contrasting fur or felt
- Sewing machine
- Needle and thread
- Glass eyes
Cut out the parts of the template. Lay the main fur fabric out fur-side down on a flat surface and pin the templates to it. If you need to cut out two pieces such as the front and back of an arm or leg, fold the fabric in half with the furry sides facing in and cut them both out together. When the pieces are cut out, you should have a torso, head, arms, legs and the back part of the ears. Pin both sides of the arms, legs, torso and head together.
Spread out the contrasting fur fabric, fur-side down, and cut out the fronts of the ears and the muzzle.
Machine sew down both long sides of one arm and across the paw end. Leave the end of the arm free of stitches. Turn the material fur-side out, and use a needle to pull through any fur which is trapped under the seam. Repeat for the other pieces.
Sew the ears together. Lay the ear backs out, fur-side uppermost, and pin the ear fronts on top. Machine round the edge, leaving the base free. Turn right-side out, and pull the trapped fur out around the seams. To make the ears stand out you can put a little stuffing in them if required. Turn the raw edges in and pin into place.
Take the circle of the muzzle and make a tiny slit in the center with scissors. Push the nose through from the front to the back and open the fasteners to secure it. Pin the muzzle to the head. When you are happy with the position, hand sew it into place. Lay the eyes out on the head to set their positions. Mark the places with a pin, make two slits in the head and push the eyes through.
Stuff all the limbs tightly until you can't fit any more stuffing in. Kapok stuffing is a safe, non-toxic, washable stuffing available from craft shops, or you could use wool or even old pantyhose. Fold in the raw edges then pin the seams closed. Stuff the body and sew the seam closed. Stuff the head and hand sew to the body. Position the ears on the body, pin them and sew into place.
Sew the arms to the body. Remove the pins holding the arm seams closed, and open the end of the arm up wide. Pin the top seam of the arm to the shoulder of the body and the bottom seam to the under arm. Hand sew into place. Repeat the process to attach the legs.
Tips & Warnings
- To make a jointed teddy bear, buy ready-made joints available in craft shops, and insert into the limbs before attaching the limbs to the body.
- Be careful when making holes in the fabric so as not to injure yourself or damage the bear with the tip of the scissors.
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