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Flakey PDF Print E-mail
Written by By Laura Matthews   
Friday, 01 February 2008 00:00

Create an adorable 8½-inch snow bear.


Flakey

Materials

Pattern (click on link)

Fat 1/8 of white short-pile mohair; Intercal’s 325 S/CM–100 (a 5/8-inch semi-sparse, curly matted white mohair) was used for the prototype

4-inch-by-4-inch piece of light gray Ultrasuede

• Two 1-inch discs (for the neck)

2 washers

1 cotter pin (1 inch or 1½ inches)

1 pair of 9mm glass eyes on wire loops

3 strands of waxed floss (two for the eyes and one for closing the head)

Black pearl cotton for nose and mouth

Fiberfill

Plastic pellets, glass pellets or stainless steel BBs (optional, for weight)

All-purpose sewing thread to match mohair

Upholstery thread to match mohair for closing seams

Bells or buttons for the snow bear’s front

2 artificial branches

Tools

Fine-tip permanent marker

Pastel gel pen

Scissors

Ball-headed straight pins

Needle-nose pliers

Awl (or sharp chopstick) for making holes for the joints and eyes

Stuffing tool (the end of wooden spoon will work)

#16 milliners’ needle (for closing seams)

5-inch long doll needle (for the eyes and hiding threads)

3-inch soft-sculpture doll needle (for the nose)

White craft glue

Teddy bear brush or clean pet brush

Note: This is not intended to be a child’s toy due to the glass eyes and pellets.


Read through the instructions before beginning. Prepare the pattern by copying it onto cardstock or tracing the pattern onto clear plastic. Although the four body pieces look identical, they each have different markings, so cut out all four pieces.

 

Lay the fabric with the fur side down and draw a small arrow on an edge to remind you which direction the fur is going. Place the body and head pattern pieces on the mohair backing, making sure the arrows on the pattern are going the same direction as the arrow you marked on the fabric backing. This way you can be sure all the fur goes “down” on your snow bear. Draw the base and the two ears onto the light gray Ultrasuede.

 

Using a fine-tip permanent marker, trace around the pattern pieces. Using a pastel-colored gel pen (so the markings do not show through on the finished bear), mark all the markings, including the dotted lines. A 3/8-inch seam allowance has been included in the pattern. Make sure to cut out on the black lines only. The dotted lines in gel pen are not cutting lines; they are sewing lines.


Sewing

As you first pin the pieces together, be sure to tuck all the fur to the inside. This will give you clean seams. Use enough pins so the pieces do not slide around; the fur makes the pattern pieces shift a bit more than regular fabric would.

 

For more security, you can pin, hand baste the bear parts together with a whipstitch, remove the pins and then start sewing either by machine or by hand. If you are sewing by machine, use all-purpose sewing thread that matches the mohair. If you are sewing by hand, use matching upholstery thread. (When sewing by hand, I prefer to use a #16 milliners’ needle. I use that same needle for closing seams.)

 

Head: Match the two head side pieces together and sew the chin seam from the tip of the nose down to the neck opening. To insert the head gusset, match the line on the nose of the head gusset up to the seam of the two head sides. Tack in place at the seam. Pin the gusset in place and then baste together with a whipstitch. Sew the gusset in place. I prefer to hand sew the front of the gusset in (the nose and eye area) and then machine sew the rest. Remove the basting stitches.

 

Body: You have four body pieces. Match up BODY A and BODY B along the “F G H” side. Sew from E to F, then leave a gap where it says to leave open. Sew from G to H. Match up BODY C and BODY D and sew from I to J in the direction of the arrow at I. Now you have two body pieces.

 

Match up the two body pieces. Sew from E/I to Y/Z. When you get to the dotted lines in the middle of the body, sew along the dotted lines to make a slight dart. Now you have one inside-out snowman, but he needs a base.

 

Base: Sew his base onto the bottom just like you would a footpad. Match up the lines on the base to the two opposite seams on the body. Tack in place. Pin the rest of the base in place and baste together with a whipstitch. Sew in place with a backstitch. Remove the basting stitches.


Stuffing and Jointing

Head: Stuff the head evenly. Since I am right handed, I like to hold the bear’s head in my left hand and stuff with my right hand. If you are left handed, you may want to do it the other way around.

 

Stuff the nose first. Take small bits of stuffing and stuff firmly into the nose. This part must be very firmly stuffed as it will make it much easier when you embroider the nose. I usually stuff the nose area about a third or half way to start and then start adding stuffing to the rest of the head. Then I finish stuffing the nose firmly. I find doing it this way helps to keep the stuffing in the nose area.

 

When I stuff the head, I turn it in a circle as I add fiberfill. It helps to keep my stuffing job even. Make sure the head—and especially the nose—are stuffed firmly.

 

You could insert your neck joint and close up the head if that is what you are used to doing. However, I like to embroider the nose while the neck is still open. I like to be able to add more stuffing as needed or shift it if necessary while I am embroidering the nose.

 

Flakey headEmbroidering the nose: Decide what shape nose you would like the bear to have. If you are not sure, cut out some felt shapes and hold them against the bear’s snout.

 

When I am doing a nose, I like to use a sharp 3-inch needle. Start with a length of pearl cotton about 30 inches long. I prefer to use two shorter pieces rather than one long piece, as I find the long pieces get knotted up too easily. Enter the bear’s nose through the side and don’t pull the pearl cotton all the way through; let a short tail hang out. Don’t put a knot in the end of the floss. Bring your needle up near a top corner of where you want your nose to be and then outline the shape of the nose. Then take your scissors and trim the fur away from the area where you want to embroider the nose.

 

When stitching the nose, I prefer to make vertical stitches, but you can also do horizontal stitches. I like to start in the middle and take a few stitches to the right and then the left, working the nose out to both ends at the same time. If you have trouble getting the needle through, use a needle-nose pliers to help you.

 

When you come near the end of the strand, thread it onto a long 5-inch needle. With your next stitch, go through to the back of the neck on the other side of the head. Pull it taut and snip the pearl cotton. Start your next piece the same way you started the first. When the nose is done, carefully snip the beginning ends of the pearl cotton that you left hanging on his snout. Be sure to use a very sharp pair of scissors so you don’t leave any pieces hanging.

 

As you are stitching the nose with the neck still open, keep adding little bits of fiberfill here and there as needed. You are also able to readjust the snout to center it, as it sometimes goes a little lopsided during the embroidery process.

 

Closing the neck: To close the neck, you will need one disc for the neck joint, one large washer, one cotter pin and one 30-inch length of waxed floss. Assemble the cotter pin joint. Sit the bear’s head in your lap or on the table upside down so the opening is up. Set the assembled joint inside. Thread your waxed thread onto a 3-inch needle and sew a gathering stitch all around the neck opening. Leave a long tail to start and to end. (I like to start and end at the back of the neck.) Make sure both tail ends are about the same length and tightly pull the opening closed. Tie a square knot. For extra security, take each tail and sew a large back stitch all the way around the neck. Tie together again and bury the threads.

 

The mouth: Take another length of pearl cotton and come up to the center of the nose from the lower back side of the head (near the neck joint), leaving about 6 inches of the pearl cotton hanging out near the neck. Take that length and bring it through also, going in through the head just a small space away from the first place but coming out at a different spot on the head where it is then clipped away. This helps anchor the pearl cotton in place.

 

Now you can decide what shape mouth you would like to have. It may help to “outline” the mouth shape with some ball-headed pins. Stitch the mouth. When you are done, bring the tail ends all the way through the head near the same place you entered. Snip the ends. The head is done for now.

 

Body: Turn the right side out through opening. Take the finished and closed head and insert the cotter pin part of the neck joint through the seam at the top where all four body pieces join together. Slide the second disc and then the second washer over the cotter pin, which is now on the inside of the body, attaching the head to the body. Using a needle-nose pliers, grab half of the pin about a quarter of the way from the top and curl the pin down all the way to the washer/disc combo. Do the same for the other half. The head is now attached to the body.

 

Begin to stuff the bear by filling the bottom inch or so with a weighted material. (I use glass sand, but you can also use stainless steel BBs.) This keeps the bear from falling over. Finish stuffing with fiberfill. When the bear is filled, close the seam with a ladder stitch.


Finishing the Face

Eyes: To insert the eyes you will need a pair of glass eyes, two strands of waxed eye floss about 24 inches long, a 5-inch-long needle, needle-nose pliers, an awl (or a sharpened chopstick) and ball-headed straight pins.

 

Fold each length of eye floss in half. Be sure each half is even. Loop the end first and thread it through the wire on each glass eye. Pull the loop a little bit through the eye wires, and take the tail and pull it through that loop. Pull the tails tightly; the glass eyes will be tied securely to the waxed floss.

 

Use ball-headed pins to help determine where to place the eyes. The common place is right where the forehead starts to slope up, just on the outside of the gusset seam. Be sure you don’t place them directly on the seam, as that will weaken the head. Move the eyes (pins) away from and closer to the gusset to see which look pleases you best.

 

When you are ready to insert the eyes, first thread the tails of the waxed floss from one of the eyes onto your 5-inch needle. Take an awl (or chopstick) and carefully poke a small hole (separate the threads of the backing) where one of the pins is located. Take the threaded 5-inch needle and insert it through that hole, coming out down at the neck of the bear on the opposite side of the eye. Do the same for the other eye.

 

At the back of the bear, separate the tails of the floss for one of the eyes. With one tail, take a small stitch so it is next to its other tail but not in the same hole. Do the same for the other eye’s floss tail.

 

Carefully tie one knot (just over once) and pull gently. Push gently on the eyes to help them sink in, but don’t pull too tightly and accidentally break the glass eyes. Now go back to the floss tails and tie a square knot. Sink the ends.

 

Ears: Using a 24-inch length of upholstery thread, whipstitch the ears closed; do not cut off the end. Tie off a quick knot to secure it, but leave the thread hanging from each ear. You will use these to attach them to the head. Position the ears onto the bear and pin them to the bear’s head. Move them about until you are happy with their placement. You can really play with a bear’s expression by moving those ears about! To make sure they are even, take a look at the bear in the mirror and also look down on his head from above. These tricks will help you place them evenly.

 

When the ears are placed, whipstitch them into place (removing the pins as you go). When you finish at the bottom of the ear, tie a knot and hide the threads just like you did when you closed the seams.


Finishing Touches

Determine where the front of the bear is and sew on buttons or bells down his tummy. Take the “sticks” for the arms and determine how long you would like them. Trim them to size.

 

Take wire cutters and strip off about an inch of the plastic away from the wire base and the bottom of the sticks (where you will stick them into the bear). Take an awl and make a hole where you want the first stick arm to go. Squeeze some white craft glue on the base of the stick and insert it into the snowman. Do the same for the other arm. (Note: I have tried gel superglue, but it dries too quickly and becomes a huge mess. White craft glue is your best bet.) Let you snowman’s arms dry overnight.

 

Brush out the mohair on the bear for a fluffier appearance. You can now enjoy your snow bear!


Laura L. Matthews, Teddies by Laura Lynn, 12N895 Pollitt Drive, Elgin, IL 60124; (866) LAURALYNN. ©Laura L. Matthews. This pattern is a gift to you for your personal enjoyment. Please respect the artist and her generosity and do not reproduce the bear for sale. (You may use the bear for gifts and charitable donations.)