When I started out this week, I had a mental plan in my mind as to what I thought I could accomplish – little did I know that I would spend all my time creating two stuffed bears. This project was definitely more time consuming than what I expected, but I think that the end results are worth it:
After appliqueing all the details to various sections of the bear, I sewed up the muzzle, tail, and belly parts – the only change that I made to these parts is that I hand stitched the open hems of the belly so the stitches wouldn’t show. As for the bear body, I had to make a few changes out of necessity: since I forgot to add seam allowances, I wound up making my seams a scat 1/8″. Yes, that’s right 1/8″! I figured anything larger would distort the final shape (i.e. making them look tubular) of the arms, legs and ears. The other change I made is that I sewed up the left side of the bear, attached the green patchwork and stitches applique and sewed them down and then finished sewing the rest of the bear’s body together. The muzzle, belly, and tail were later hand sewn onto the bear, giving it a dimensional appearance.
The Bottom Line: While this bear took quite a bit of time to construct, the final product is professional, cute, and will definitely be well received. The dimensional (muzzle, tail, belly) and interactive (removing the intestines from the belly) portions of this animal definitely make it unique and look like something you might see in a store (but better, of course). The instructions are not as detailed as commercial patterns, but if you’ve had some sewing experience (especially with sewing stuffies) you’ll be able to work your way through this project without any problems. Overall, a fun, but time consuming project!
I probably don’t need to say this, but using the right feet for your project can make all the difference in the world. Not only can it make your project look more professional, but it will speed up your sewing time and ease frustration as well. Take for instance one of my favorite feet, the open toe foot. This is ideal for applique (great when you plan on embellishing shirts, adding names to pillows, or in this case, adding features to a stuffed bear) because it allows you to ‘see’ where you’re going, plus it’s wide enough for you use a variety of stitches to your project. Just compare it to a standard foot and you can see the difference:
Not sure what foot is right for you? Here’s a handy guide as to some of the presser feet available for Bernina machines (don’t worry if you don’t have a Bernina, most companies have similar styles).
As for the progress on the bear, I’m finally adding the details (eyes, nose, scars) which is always a labor intensive process. One thing that I didn’t think of prior to adding some of the features is that I should have really used Wonder Under to affix them in place. I did remember to do this with the scars and some of the tinier elements (tooth, nose shine), unfortunately, my brain wasn’t with me when I traced so I didn’t reverse the image. Since I spent a great deal of time cutting them out (also labor intensive and a bit painful on the wrist!), I decided that no one would notice that they were a bit ‘off’ and kept them as is.
Edited to add: Speaking of open toe feet, if you happen to pick up this month’s issue of Sew News, there’s an entire article devoted to the subject!
I’ll admit it. I’m a Fluffle nut (I even have the ‘chicken’ sitting on my sewing room shelf). One of my favorite stuffies that designer Mariska Vos-Bolman ever made was a zombie bear for a Craftster (stuffed bear) challenge. Up until now, I just had to admire from afar, but recently discovered that she’s selling the pattern. So, guess what my next project(s) is? Yup you guessed it, our own zombie bears (Halloween gifts for the kids).
Fortunately, the pattern was available for immediate download and Hancock Fabric was having a fleece sale… so I set out to gather all my materials. I immediately got home, cut out (almost) all the pieces and realized I made my first mistake – I did not realize that the pattern pieces do not have a seam allowance. Consequently, my bear will wind up being about 1/2″ smaller that intended and I’ll have to carefully sew any pieces that have any applique on them because some are close to the seam line. I decided to tackle the least fun-looking element of the bear…. the intestines. I traced the pattern piece directly onto the felt, sewed the shape, and then cut closely to the stitching line. The truly tricky part? Stuffing little wads of poly-fill into the tube – not too firmly and leaving ‘pockets’ so it looks like, well, guts. While the photo doesn’t really capture how gruesome they look, I think I did a pretty good job making them look as realistic as what felt guts can get.
Pattern: DIY Fluffies Zombie Bear
An assortment of fleecesfelt from Hancock Fabrics
(no photo available)
Materials & Cost: