Beginning Steps to Bear Making

The first step to making a teddy bear is choosing a pattern you like and believe you can make. I started with bears around 9 to 10 inches tall. 

The pieces are big enough to work with and not too big to take a lot of fabric, a fat quarter should work.

Beginning Steps to Bear Making

Your fabric should be something you can work with as well. I use mohair for mine, but for your first bear, you may want to use an acrylic. Just remember, acrylic stretches and mohair doesn’t. You’ll need a small piece of ultrasuede or felt for your paw pads. Your pattern should list all the other supplies you will need, eyes, joints, etc.

You will then cut out all the paper pattern pieces and make sure you know how many and orientation of each  to trace. Once all the paper pieces are cut out, trace them on the back of the fur, it’s kind of like putting a puzzle together. 

You can see I put them very close together, watching carefully not to overlap. This saves fur and makes cutting a lot easier, especially when they share a cut line.

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Using small SHARP scissors (please don’t use your good scissors on the paper!!) cut ONLY the backing of the fur. I slide the point of the scissors on the fur side right against the backing. I find it easier to take small snips so I only get the backing.

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This process may take a while, but gives you a furry bear. If you just whack away, you will give your bear fur a “bobb” cut and it will have naked spots, which are not nice.

You will have anywhere from two (on a non jointed bear) to over 25 pieces (for a jointed bear) to trace and cut. You will trace and cut the paw pads out of ultrasuede or felt and the rest from fur.

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Once you finish cutting, I find it necessary to apply some sort of fray stopping product so I can sew easier and the fur doesn’t fray at the edges and the seams fall apart. Your bear will last a very long time this way, no matter how many children throw it around.
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I use a small paint brush and a dollop of glue on a scrap piece of paper. I “paint” the edges of each piece making sure I go the entire way around. It is hard sometimes not to get the fur, it’s ok, it will brush out. It takes a few hours for this product to dry, so take a break and grab all the other necessities your pattern calls for to complete your bear.
debi contrib

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