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StarHawk2003 VallierBears
Posts: 270

FINISHED him on wednesday. Still not really pleased but we can't ask for everything on our first attempt. I needle felted the nose on as I wasn't brave enough to actually stitch one this time!   

Take a look and tell me what you think. Good or bad, All comments are welcome and will help me further my technique.

Compare the pictures

Thank you,



Not at all wha I expected... As you'll see. His face isn't cut well and he just doesn't look ber like, The eyes look too small but that's what was what I was told to use with the pattern... Sigh. Help? What should I do to mae him looking less monkey and more bear?

Tip, Hint, Whatever you have to offer will be loved!

Thanks, Richy.

p.s. I think I will stick to short hairs!
bear1.jpg CIMG1119-2.jpg

cherylbruinwerks Bruinwerks
Posts: 784

:clap: Congratulations Richy on your new venture! :clap:
Don't panic! Everyone on TT has had a 'first bear' and yours actually looks a lot better than my first attempt!

I have a couple of questions:
What is he made of ? It looks like a synthetic and if it has a stretchy back, it may have gotten a little bigger than the pattern intended if you stuffed firmly and the eyes then look too small.
Does he have ears on yet? I try very hard to not jump to conclusions about what is 'right' until I get a little farther along. A nice big nose and ears might balance him out nicely!
I personally can't deal with all the hair so most of my bears are made from leather! I'm sure that someone can give you some specific tips on working with the hair jungle...I just wanted to give you some encouragement and say 'keep going'!


articrose On The Brite Side
Posts: 34

hi Richy, I'm very new to bears myself and just finished my first one but I have had a lot of experience with patterns cause I have made lots of cloth dolls. One thing I have found is when I sew the head I do it by hand, this ensures a nice even fit for the middle gusset, then when stuffing dont over do it to the point of busting at the seams. also when I made my first it looked very strange with out the ears and nose as Cheryl stated. Dont get discouraged, it takes practice and your first always helps with your technique and where to make adjustments for what you want. Keep on sewing bear_thumb

Batwrangler Posts: 17

Hi, Richy,

If you haven't permanently set the eyes yet, try different positions and different sizes. Experiment with eye and ear size and placement. Try cutting a felt nose in a shape you like and tacking that to the face to see how that changes your bear's expression.

If you have set the eyes, perhaps you could add eye patches or shading to change the expression to something you find more pleasing.

Try reading up on needle sculpting, which is changing the shape of the face through carefully placed stitched, to see if that will help you make the bear you want to make.

But above all, have fun!

Chico, California
Posts: 9,939

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Well, adding ears and his nose and mouth will get him closer to "bear-like" for sure! 

I agree with Cheryl.  It looks like you've used synthetic and in all liklihood it had a stretchy backing and in stuffing it, the proportions got all screwy because the backing stretched. Mohair won't do this because it's woven, not knit.  And some synthetics have tightly woven backings but you really have to hunt for them.  By and large, the ones you'll find at your local fabric store -- wherever that is -- will be the stretchy backed kind.  Trust me when I tell you that I learned this the hard way myself when starting out!

I was one of many who was "afraid" to use mohair when I first started out because of the high cost per yard.  However, it's sooooooooooooo much easier to work with than most synthetics, especially if you get a fairly short (1/2 inch), sparse to medium density mohair.  And there are often specials at suppliers like Intercal where you can pick up 1/4 yard for twenty bucks or so, so it's really not that much more expensive than synthetic!  If I could I would enact a law saying that ALL beginning bearmakers MUST begin with mohair because for the most part, people find it significantly easier to work with, AND it avoids the stretching problem discussed above.

Don't get discouraged.  I have about ten bears in a box in the garage which are too ugly to see the light of day.  But you WILL figure it out and get what comes off your sewing table closer to what's in your head... and sooner than you think!

millie PottersHouse Bears
Posts: 2,173

I agree with what has been said here.  We all started somewhere.  But this guy really does not look so bad.  I can just picture him with a great big nose and big ears.  As mentioned before, try making a felt nose and playing around with sizes and shapes.  I think you will find that he is not near as bad as you feel.  We are our own worst critics.  Finish him up and give him a chance.  But I also agree with Shelli,  mohair is the way to go.

Marie_ Kiprie Bears
Yokohama, Japan
Posts: 2,735

Hi Richy , Congratulations for your first bear ! You are almost there !!  :clap:
He(or she ?) has a gorgeous long pile !  I can't wait to see his completed face !  bear_wub  As Millie said, when you finish his nose and ears I'm sure
you'll love him.  bear_laugh good luck !  :hug:

hugs Marie

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

My hubby still thinks many of my bears look like monkeys before I add ears!!! bear_rolleyes  And before they have stuffing in them, just the head, he says they look like ostritches with chubby legs. :crackup:

I have to echo what's been said here about mohair. Yes, it can be costly though most big mohair suppliers offer discounts so it's not that bad. I made my very first bear of mohair that was given to me by my teddy teacher. She said there was no way she was going to teach me with synthetcs... that I'd never want to make a bear again! Well, I wasn't about to go out and spend a ton of money on mohair after that first bear so I went to the fabric store and bought some of the cheap, stretchy stuff. I got so frustrated, mad, discouraged, you name and... and it took me FOREVER to make it. I wasn't too impressed with my end result. I agree that every first time bear maker should use mohair. You'll be amazed at the difference.

Get some ears on that monkey and a nose and then you'll see that he really is a bear and rather cute at that!!! I think you are doing a great job. You did a fantastic job scissoring his muzzle. It was months before I was brave enough to do that!

matilda Matilda Huggington-beare
Posts: 5,551

Congratulations Richy for getting this far without a nervous breakdown bear_thumb
When you finish him up he will look more bear like. Bear making is a very hands on craft. What I mean by that is that you learn as you go. It wont be long when you will be producing polished professional pieces.
Tip: buy moustache trimmers for your muzzle trimming. Leave the scissors to the professionals for a bit.
Placing the eyes, use artificial sinew and place some stitches in the eye spot and indent . That way your eyes will sink deeper into the fabric and will be more appealing.
Embroidering noses. Usually quite difficult at first. It does get mastered. HONEST. Just dont doubt your ability .
If the embroidered nose isnt to your liking , melt some beez wax and wax it. Beez wax is a crappy noses saviour. eheheheh
ALL these points are do -able for the novice. They are just little things but also they will  give your bear more character and I'm sure you will get more satisfaction with your achievements.
When you finish him. Go back through the instructions with bear in hand and see if you can make more sense out of the instructions. It is what I did when I made my first one. Before the day was over I had made a second bear that I thought was'nt so bad after all. (I still have my first. It doesnt matter that his stuffing is coming out or that an arm fell off. He still holds a special place in my heart)
Have Fun and do your own thing. "There are no wrong ways,  just maybe better ways."

cherylbruinwerks Bruinwerks
Posts: 784

:clap:  :clap: Good for you Richy! See...ears and a nose make a HUGE difference. I think he's sweet! :clap:  :clap:

millie PottersHouse Bears
Posts: 2,173

I think he is adorable!  The ears and nose added - he now has personality.  I really need to check out this needle felted nose business.  I guess I'm too chicken to try something new.

millie PottersHouse Bears
Posts: 2,173

I like that - I'm vintage.  Sounds classy.

Pumpkin & Pickle Bears Pumpkin & Pickle Bears
East Sussex
Posts: 2,047

I think for your first bear he is absolutely wonderful!

Jodi Falk Bears by Jodi
Gahanna , Ohio USA
Posts: 3,463


First bears are always the hardest !! And you did a good job !!! Acrilic that is store bought is the hardest. When you can switch to a mohair or high quality synthetic . You will be surprised when you use the better quality furs. Don't give up Here is a picture of my first synthetic fur bear , and the minis I do now.

TeddyTyke Posts: 65

I'm not much ahead of you - only been bear making for 2 months. By my third bear, I'd switched to mohair - and everyone's right. It's so much easier to work with and is going to look good pretty well whatever you do!

I've found with each bear I've made new and interesting mistakes I didn't make earlier - and as I put one thing right, or work on it - another thing goes wrong! Maybe that's why it's addictive!  I have made my first 5 bears for my sons - and the first two, for my youngest - were dreadful (much worse than your's - in fact, your's is nice!) My 4 year old said he liked my first effort anyway - I even thought of re-making the entire head (it looks anime, but it's not meant to!) But he loves it how it is. It's wrapped and away for xmas, now but I've just made a 2nd one for him... which is far better!

I had two teddy books and have worked through patterns in them - picking ones with different heads, etc to get practice.

To centre the head gussets, I fold them in half, stick a pin in dead centre, then stick that pin through where the two side heads join. Then, when I'm sewing it, I start from the nose and stitch out, then for the other side go back to the central point and sew out.

I had trouble getting the feet identical, no matter how carefully I made the patterns/cut them out. But now it's falling into place, somehow. Same with the eyes - took me a few teds to get the technique. But am still a long way off getting any expression into the faces. I try to isolate one thing to work on each time, and hopefully will improve slowly!

Have been using German mohair - but just made my toddlers' second bears out of cheap synthetic, because they're only 4 and 6 and they'll get a battering. Already relieved I won't be making any more synthetic, unless it's woven backing!

StarHawk2003 VallierBears
Posts: 270

Thank you all so much for your kind words. I still think he's butt ugly though  :crackup:

Just cute out a new mini and just cut out a pattern for a 1" micro mini! Wish me luck! I'll need it!  :pray:


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