Before you start
- Print out the pattern onto thin card or onto paper and stick onto card (cereal boxes are good for this) and cut out
- Find the pile direction of the fabric you are using if it is furry. Do this by stroking the fur, the smoothest way is the way the pile is lying and is the direction any of the arrows on the pattern need to follow
- Place all the templates on the back of the fabric and trace their shapes, then cut out the required amount. Make sure you reverse any pieces that are designated as such in the pattern. (Always double and triple check you have all the needed pieces BEFORE cutting out them out, trust me 🙂 )
- If it makes it easier for you, pin the pieces together before sewing
- I have included seam allowance on all pieces, so don’t worry about adding extra
- All pieces are sewn fur sides together
- If you have chosen to use safety eyes, these will need to be placed BEFORE you stuff the head (again, trust me)
- Make sure you have marked any joint positions or openings on all pieces
How To Sew Up Your Bear
Place the two head side pieces together and stitch the “under chin” seam from neck to nose. Fold the head gusset in half to get the middle and then place the centre of it where the chin seam stops at the nose. Sew down either side. Turn right way round and carefully free any fur that may have got caught in the seams. If you are using safety eyes, inset them now! To stuff, take small pieces of your chosen filling and start at the nose, slowly adding more until the head is firm, ensuring there are no lumps or hollows. If you are using a cotter-pin joint, take a pin, wooden disc and washer (called a half joint from now on) and place it in the neck hole with the pin pointing out. (If you have chosen to string joint, there are instructions at the end 🙂 ) Using strong thread, do a running stitch around the neck edge and pull to gather the fabric.
Place two ear pieces together and stitch around the curved edges only. Turn right side out and sew the bottom edges together neatly. Repeat with the other ear pieces. Pin your ears onto the head, try different positions, yours do not have to be an exact match of where I put them on my bear, everyone has different tastes. When you are happy with their placement (make sure they are symmetrical) sew them to the head using a ladder stitch.
Take a doubled length of strong thread and attach to the loop of the glass eye and thread onto an extra long needle. Decide on the position of the eyes using pins and make a small hole using an awl if you have one (I’ve used the tip of embroidery scissors before if you don’t, but be VERY careful) so that the loop can pass through, then insert the needle at this point to emerge at the centre back of the head, as near to the joint as possible. Repeat with the other eye. Pull the threads tightly, ensuring not to snap the thread, so that the eyes sink into the head and then knot them together tightly three or four times.
Cut out a nose shape of your choice from a scrap of felt if possible the same colour of your nose thread. Trim away (carefully, you can cut more but you can’t put back) directly underneath where the template will be positioned and pin into place. Thread a needle with a long thread of your chosen nose colour and secure by taking small stitches on the template. Make a long stitch down the middle of the template, extending below the bottom edge and work parallel stitches from the centre to one edge and back again, repeating to the other edge and back. When the nose is complete you can choose whether to give your bear a mouth or not and then finish your thread by either passing it though the head or under the nose stitches. If you choose, you can do the stitches sideways rather than downwards, that is a personal choice.
Place the two body pieces together and stitch all around, leaving the marked area on the pattern open. Turn right side out
Place two arm pieces together and stitch all around, leaving the marked area on the pattern open. Turn right side out. Repeat with the other arm.
Place two leg pieces together and stitch leaving the bottom straight foot edge and the opening marked on the pattern clear. Repeat for other leg. Take a footpad and fold in half length ways to find the centre line. Match the crease to the seams at the front and back of the leg and pin to hold. Continue to pin until held securely and then stitch into place. If you have been using a machine to sew, this bit will probably be easier by hand. Repeat with the other footpad and then turn both legs right side out.
INSERTING JOINTS AND STUFFING
Before the limbs can be stuffed, the joints have to be placed inside. (Unless you are string jointing, then the limbs must be stuffed and have their seams closed first). Find the mark inside that indicates the joint position and make a small hole with a sharp object. Place a ‘half joint’ inside the limb and push the pin through the hole to emerge on the outside. Insert joints into all limbs before stuffing so that you can make sure you have a left and a right arm and leg instead of two lefts or rights (it’s easy done). Push the stuffing into the limbs using a chopstick/pencil etc (I use the flat end of a crotchet hook) to firm it right down. Fill the hardest to reach places first and if lumps or hollows appear, take it all out and start again. Its worth it I promise J how hard or stuff your bear is entirely up to you. I like to hard stuff mine, but some prefer a squidgier feel.
CLOSING THE SEAMS
Ladder stitch is used to close all of the final seams. Thread a needle with thread that matches as close to your fabric as possible or if you have it, use invisible thread and tie a big knot in the end. From the inside of the opening at the top, pass the needle through the fabric so that the knot is anchored on the inside. On the other side of the opening directly opposite where the thread is anchored, take a small stitch, the thread will cross over the opening. The next stitches are now made on alternating sides of the opening so that the thread forms ‘rungs’ across the opening. Pull the stitches as you go to close the opening and finish off.
Start by attaching the head. Inside the body find the position for the head and make a small hole. Pass the pin from the head joint into the hole and from the inside thread on a wooden disc followed by a washer. Using long nose pliers turn one leg of the pin into a coil so that it rests on the metal washer followed by the other leg. Check that the head is nice and tight and re-adjust if necessary. Attach the arms and legs in exactly the same way, making sure that they face forwards before you tighten the joint!
STUFFING THE BODY
This is like stuffing the limbs only on a bigger scale. Use larger lumps of the stuffing and keep checking for hollows and lumps. Make sure you stuff around the joints so that they cannot be felt. When you have placed enough stuffing in the body so that you are happy with it, close up the final seam with ladder stitch.
Thread a long needle with a long piece of strong thread. Start at the underside (side closest to the body) of one of the limbs or the head, leave a couple of inches ‘tail’ of thread and make a small stitch, then pass the needle into the body where the limb or head needs to be placed and make a small stitch there. Repeat this five or six times, through the limb and then the body, pulling the thread tight without creating too much of an indent. When you are happy the limb is secure, finish off by tying the thread to the tail you left at the start.
THE COMPLETED BEAR
MAKING YOUR BEAR GEEKY
I did a poll and I was going to choose the top three fandom’s, but there was a joint third place so I chose the top four! If your favourite fandom isn’t represented and you want me to come up with something that you can geek up your bear with, feel free to get in touch!! Or if you’re crafty, come up with something yourself 🙂 either way, please send us in all your pictures of your bears!
MASS EFFECT – N7 BADGE
Print out, cut and place templates on relevant coloured felt. Draw around them and cut those out too. Stitch the letters and symbol as shown onto the black rectangle. Once completed, sew onto your bear either on their arm, chest, back or where ever you feel looks good.
DR WHO – FEZ
Print out, cut and place the templates on red felt. Draw around them carefully and then cut those out too. Place the two long ends of the rectangle together and sew neatly with a straight stitch. Place the circle piece in one of the openings and sew around the edge to the tube. Turn the felt right side out so you can’t see your stitches. To finish off get some black thread and tie a knot in the end, make stitches through the top middle of the fez from inside out, leaving lengths of thread on the outside. When you feel there is enough, finish off with another knot on the inside and trim the threads to an equal length.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER – POM POMS
If you want to make the same size pom poms that I have, cut out two of the circle templates with a hole in the middle. Sandwich the two pieces of card together and start winding your wool around it, through the centre hole. I doubled my wool and used red and yellow to recreate the same pom poms as used in the TV show. Keep winding until you can’t fit any more through the centre, or until you’re happy with how fluffy you think it’ll be. Cut an extra length of wool about 20cm long and put to one side. Slip your scissors between the cardboard pieces and snip the wool the whole way round. Put the piece of wool you had put to one side between the discs all the way round and tie very tightly. I then left the tails to be able to tie the pom poms to my bear’s hands. Repeat for the second pom pom.
GAME OF THRONES – DRAGON EGGS
Print out, cut and place the templates on felt. Draw around them and cut those out too. I made mine to match the colours of the eggs in the book, but not the design obviously. The colours are black with red markings, green with bronze markings and cream with gold markings. For the black and red egg, I decided to make scales out of felt and alternate them in colour. I have included the template that I used if you wish to do the same and how many it took. For the green and bronze egg, I used green felt and sewed on bronze sequins. And finally for the cram and gold egg, I used cream felt with gold beads sewn on. These are just examples of what you could do to decorate your eggs. To make them, I just sewed two pieces of the felt together neatly with a straight stitch and just before finishing I place some stuffing inside to give the eggs shape and then closed up the rest of the hole.
I really hope you enjoy making your IGGPPCamp bear, any questions please contact me @NerdishMum on Twitter using the #IGGPPCamp and #IGGPPCampBear or if you prefer using email: nerdishmumatgmaildotcom
I’m aware that this may take you longer than just the camp, so don’t worry if it’s after the time, I will happily answer questions at any time.
Make sure you upload your pics to Twitter and the forums so we can all see what you’ve made and I’d love to do a blog highlighting how awesome you all are once they are done. 🙂