Once the decision is made to make a teddy, the material for the fur is searched and the filling material is obtained. Then the arms, legs, head and body are cut out, sewn together - and when the first bear Child is born, the bear cutter himself has fallen madly in love with his work. You may not believe it, but you will feel the same way. In most cases, the first teddy remains with its creator. Only the second teddy bear is given away.

However, this is far from the end of the matter. Very quickly, word got around, that a family member can do something unusual, then suddenly there are twice as many children in the relatives who all desperately want a little teddy too, and one just like the godchild or grandchild just got.

Only this is not possible. Never two homemade bears will look exactly the same, even if you take the same cuts and follow all the instructions exactly. The new bear will have its own personality, which will distinguish it from all its brothers. On the other hand, you can conjure up completely different bears from a single cut. Just a different pile length of the fur will turn a lanky munchkin into a well-fed chubby one. The change is even more striking if you also change the fur color and body size of the bear.

It is precisely this non-finite predeterminability that makes bear making so appealing. In addition, it is easier than is generally assumed.

The parts are easy to cut and can be sewn together just as well by hand as with a sewing machine. And no one has ever failed at stuffing.

The only thing that really matters is choosing the right material. Teddy bears just look best when they are made of a fabric that looks like real fur.

It's also worth paying attention to appearance and size when choosing eyes. Glass eyes bring the most life to the face of the stuffed bear. But black hemisphere eyes can also put that famous "loyal expression" in the teddy's look. Also, there is a difference if your bear will be a toy for a toddler or a mascot for an adult.

What you have to consider in detail is explained on the following pages. And also you will see soon: a teddy rarely comes alone....


The patterns

The secret of good sewing lies in precise cutting. This already begins with the transfer of the contours. The more carefully the parts are cut, the easier it will be to sew them together later. Since the teddy fabric is easily slippery and thick, it is best to make the templates from cardboard. To do this, trace the cutting lines on parchment paper, and transfer the parts to cardboard with carbon paper. It is important to transfer all marks, such as arrows for the thread path and lines for the darts. On each cut part should be noted what kind of part it is (arm, leg, body), from what fabric (fur, felt) and how many times it will be cut. Later, the cuts can be combined with a cord or kept in an envelope.

If you want to enlarge or reduce the cuts, place a grid square with 2 x 2 cm boxes over the cut. Draw a second grid square with larger or smaller boxes and transfer the lines of the design box by box.

The fabric

As already mentioned, the fabric for the teddy should look as similar as possible to a natural fur. Suitable fabrics are imitation fur, woven fur, teddy fabric, plush and velvet. If you can't get the material you want in craft and needlework stores, the fabric departments of large department stores and also furniture stores can help you. When shopping, it is important to distinguish between woven fabrics and knitted fabrics. Woven fabrics are firm and hold their shape when stuffed. To achieve the same strength in stretchy knit fabrics, fleece linen must be ironed onto the reverse side. Before cutting, determine what "line" (grain) the fabric has. To do this, run your hand through the fur to find out which direction the hair runs. All cut pieces of fur fabric have an arrow that indicates the grain. When aligning the cut pieces on the back of the fabric, the arrow and thread path must match. When transferring with tailor's chalk, be sure to mark any extra marks on the fabric from the pattern. Cut out the pieces with the seam allowance indicated for each. It is best to work with small, very sharp scissors. It is only cut into the fabric, never into the fur.

Transfer all pattern pieces that are needed two or more times laterally reversed to the remaining fabric and cut them as well. It makes the work easier if you additionally make all the marks that disappear in the teddy during sewing together (for example, attachment points for eyes, arms, of the legs) visible by loops of basting thread.

Since velvet and fur fabrics shift very easily when sewing the double layer of fabric, always pin and baste the seams first.

If you are working with thick fluffy fur material, the pile will slip in the seam when stitching together. You can use a needle to pluck out the fur hairs again.

The eyes

Glass eyes give a teddy the most vivid expression. They are available in two styles (each in different sizes) at hobby and craft stores. The eyes are sold individually, with an eyelet on the back (similar to buttons) or connected in pairs (with a wire). The wire is cut before inserting the eyes and bent with flat-nose pliers to form one eyelet each. The technique of sewing on is identical for both types of eyes.

You will need very strong thread for this, preferably covering thread and a padding needle (available in tailor shops).

The bear's head is already stuffed, only the eyes and ears are missing. Pass the needle from the base of the ear diagonally through the top of the head, and come out above the snout at the seam. Grab an eye, and poke back to the base of the ear. Tighten the thread and sew it down. The ears, which will be pinned on later, will hide any sewing marks.

In some cases, black hemisphere eyes look better on the teddy. They are used in the same way as the glass eyes.

If the teddy is to become a toy for small children, it is safer to embroider the eyes. Or you can cut circular plates from felt: small black ones for the pupil, slightly larger ones for the iris and an even larger circle for the whites of the eyes. Sew the felt pieces together and attach them to the bear's head.

Somewhat safer than the glass eyes are the washing machine safe acrylic eyes with stem and metal plate. They are inserted into the bear head that has not yet been stuffed. Pierce the stem through the fabric from the fur side and press the metal plate over it. In this way, the eye is firmly anchored in the fabric.

Embroider nose and mouth

Thick, black wool, but also black, shiny beaded yarn is well suited for embroidery. The size of the nose and mouth is determined by the size of the teddy bear. Start on the tip of the nose. Secure the thread end with a knot that will be covered by the embroidery as you work. Fill in the nose triangle with closely spaced stitches. For a neat finish, place a few stitches across the top edge of the nose.

The mouth is stitched like an inverted "Y" just following the nose. You may need to superimpose several stitches to keep them visible, even with dense fur.

Bear noses are also available in various sizes made of plastic. Then only the mouth needs to be embroidered. You can also cut a nose out of leather or felt and sew it onto the bear.

It is helpful to look at some bears' noses beforehand to get a feel for the appearance, size and exact position of this nevertheless very expressive part of the bear's facial expressions.

Embroider claw

Using the same thread that was used for the nose and mouth, you can embroider the claws on the bear. The knot at the end of the thread is hidden in the fur.

Important: never embroider more than four claw stitches!

The sewing stitches

One of the most suitable sewing stitches for fur fabrics is the mattress stitch. It is worked on the right side of the fabric. The mattress stitch results in an almost invisible seam and is therefore particularly suitable for sewing the bear skin pieces together.

The Langetten stitch is used in sewing mainly to secure cut edges from fraying. In bear making, it is used to attach the paw pads. The closed stitch edge makes it look neater than the overlock stitch.

The voice

It is very simple to teach a teddy bear to hum. You just need to remember to put in the bear voice when filling the belly. Of course, a voice can also be added later. To do this, you separate a piece of the back or the belly seam, remove some filling material, insert the voice mechanism and close the seam again.

The discs

The discs are the joints of the teddy bear, so to speak. Through them, his arms and legs become movable, and his head becomes rotatable. The size of the discs depends on the diameter of the neck, upper arms or thighs. Plastic discs of different sizes are available in specialized stores. If the bear is filled with non-washable material, you can also saw out the discs yourself from thin plywood in the desired size.

For each joint you need two discs, two washers and a cotter pin.

How to make your teddy movable

To make an arm rotatable for play, stuff the arm piece and finish sewing except for an opening in the upper arm seam. Place a washer and a plywood washer on a cotter pin, one at a time. Using the cotter pin, pierce through the fur in the inner upper arm where the arm will later be connected to the bear body. Then close the upper arm seam. Pierce the cotter pin through the corresponding spot in the unlined bear body from the outside and attach a plywood disc. Roll up the protruding ends of the cotter pin with flat-nose pliers. Tighten the cotter pin so that the body parts do not dangle loosely later.

Stuffing materials

The appearance of the teddy bear depends a lot on the material with which it was stuffed.

Tinker cotton is the most common stuffing material because it is easy to work with, does not clump and is fully washable. Craft cotton is available at hobby and needlework stores.

Many old teddy bears are stuffed with wood wool. It is lighter than most stuffing materials and is therefore preferred for large bears. But it must not get wet or it will lose its shape. Wood wool is easier to work with if you cut it into small pieces with an old pair of scissors beforehand. Wood wool is available free of charge in china stores and wherever it is still used as packing material.

Kapok is also a non-washable stuffing material. Kapok can be used to stuff bears tightly while sculpting the outside. Even the smallest of paws can be nicely shaped with this material. Kapok is heavy and not recommended for a large bear. You can get kapok in drapery stores.

Raw sheep wool, a wonderful filling material, is just unfortunately hard to get. This is washable, and you only need a small amount of stuffing for a bear.

Foam shreds are available inexpensively at almost all department stores. They are fully washable. Foam shreds should only be used to "stuff" smaller bears. Never use this material for solid teddies that need to be sculpted. Also, do not fill movable teddies with foam shavings. When handling this material, it is helpful to work with a large plastic or paper backing. Divide larger snippets with scissors before filling.

Note: Check all seams before you start stuffing. Stuff the hard-to-reach areas first, such as the head, arms, and legs. Especially stuff the muzzle carefully all the way to the tip. Never take too much stuffing at one time to avoid lumps and air holes. The teddy should be nice and firm and smooth all around. Use a wooden spoon handle for re-stuffing. Small cut remnants of the fur fabric can be used to stuff the belly of larger bears.

The teddy for the toddler

Bears for small children must always have two qualities: They must be so harmless that the child can not hurt himself on them.

They must be fully washable.

Children can injure themselves on glass eyes, which they twist out of the teddy and swallow under certain circumstances. By the way, this also applies to plastic noses. By embroidering on eyes and noses, the sources of danger can be avoided. Teddies that have been made movable with cotter pins and washers are also not suitable for small children. Better are bears that have firmly sewn on body limbs.

For a teddy that needs to be washed often, you should choose a fur made of synthetic, possibly with wool admixture.

As a filling, the washable craft absorbent cotton is a good choice, which also holds its shape very well. A tuning mechanism, unfortunately, would not survive a washing machine cycle.

From this method of production you can see that a teddy rarely comes alone.......