Monday, 25 April 2011

Message Bears for Mother's Day

It's been a good weekend for finishing projects. I love these little bears. I've been making them for years in different shapes & sizes, with different messages. They are basic pancake dolls traced on to tea dyed homespun & sewn in one piece. They started out as dolls, not bears, with a wooden shelf doll as inspiration. The first ones I made were twin girl dolls for a friend having twins, they also make lovely bases for Raggedy Anne & Andy dolls, & even a Santa & Reindeer.

The larger bear on it's own is a perfect size for hugging a small box or bag of Choccies, & you can write your greeting on the back of the bear instead of a card.

They take only 30cm of 120cm wide tea dyed homespun, plus a small amount of extra cream cotton fabric for the heart (you can use a wooden heart if you wish). I haven't included the pattern yet but if anyone wants it before Mother's Day (Aus) email me privately & I'll send it (being a bit blog-despondent & lazy at the moment). (Edit - pattern has now been loaded see end of blog)
Here's a bit of the making,

Fold your fabric right side facing in, with the pattern glued onto cardboard, trace around with a 2b pencil or vanishing pen, this is your stitching line. Machine sew around with a small stitch length, leaving open where indicated on the pattern.

Cut out aprox 1cm around stitching line. Clip your curves & snip into the corners of the arms & legs. Turn right side out, poking all your bits out with a chopstick or a similar weapon.

Stuff the bears, using small bits of fibrefill to fill the ears then the rest of the head. Stuff the arms & legs 3/4 full, to enable your joints to bend, then the rest of the body. Be careful you don't overstuff  or you won't be able to bend the limbs. You can stitch across the arm & leg joint to hold the stuffing, I do with the dolls because they're clothed, but I tend to leave the bears without, it's much neater & not necesary.
Draw on the faces, stitching etc with either a laundry marker, or waterproof pigment ink pen, the later tend not to fade as much as laundry markers. Just remember to test for bleeding on a scrap of the same fabric first. Give their ears & cheeks a little colour with either blusher or very lightly with a red or pink pencil.
Before I glue the bears together, I tend to bring the legs in towards the body so they sit well, & sew them into position  with a few stitches on the base.

Now get out the hot glue gun & glue them together like this

Using a lightbox or sunny window, very lightly trace your heart pattern outline onto cream fabric, this will be your stitching line. Also trace the message, or write it freehand if you're gifted with that ability lol. Use a suitable black pen to write the message. Place two pieces of fabric together, right sides out, cut around 1cm out from stitching line. Using 3 strands of embroidery cotton do a running stitch along the pencil line leaving room to lightly stuff the heart then continue stitching & fasten off. Glue the heart into place on the bears see photos.
Sew on the Bee buttons & the Mama Bear's bow. You can of course use other sayings, & different fabrics for the bears & heart.

In a previous post called Gathering Supplies, I gave myself the challenge to use everything I bought at Spotlight that day, before the end of the year. I can now tick off the Bee buttons & the embroidery thread (if only a little of each) lol - Thanks for visiting Jenny
EDIT - 1/5/2011  I have since uploaded the pattern for the bears HERE
The pdf is being a little difficult, it may print out slightly smaller then my original which measures 26.5cm  across, at the widest part of the feet for the Mama bear & 20cm across for Baby bear. I think there's only a minor difference to sizes.


  1. Very cute! Thanks!

  2. Link no longer working it seems. :(

  3. Hello Anonymous, I just tried the link and it worked for me. I've just highlighted the link again (they all changed colour when I altered the profile). If you still can't view it, send me your email address and I'll send you the PDF - Jen.

  4. Karen FazlurrehmanJanuary 23, 2014

    When you click on the pattern link it says web page not found--these bears are just precious! Could you please send the pattern to Thank-you so much

  5. Sure Karen, don't know why it says that, some people in the US has a lot of trouble viewing links for some reason. Give me a few hours, I'll get time to have a look tonight and send it to you - Jen.


I love reading your comments, and I'm very happy to help you with any questions about my patterns. The comments are moderated only to stop spam mail coming through, so your comment will be published as soon as I get a chance to check them - thanks Jen.