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ThomasAdam Thomas Adam
Posts: 310

Hello all,

I am curious -- and this is one of the things I meant to ask all those at Hugglets, but never got the chance, how do you go from fabric (i.e., a sheet of mohair, or schultze) to teddy bear?

There were a few stands at Hugglets selling just fabric, and as I wandered past, there were several people going bonkers over a particular piece of mohair and I would have dearly loved to ask why.   Do most of you teddy bear artists "see" a teddy bear in a piece of fabric?  Does that process of visualisation make  it easier to make a teddy bear?

When I looked at this piece of mohair, it was just that -- dense fur -- but is it often something more to those of you who make teddies?

I am just curious -- it's not the first time I have heard a lot of you mention it to me in person, more as a throwaway comment, and I've never really thought about it until now.

-- Thomas Adam

dangerbears Dangerbears
Posts: 6,021

Hi Thomas,

It's a great question. Some of the people at Hugglets were probably simply admiring the fabric because of its texture or color or high quality. I'll bet I'm not the only bear-maker who just enjoys the fabric for its aesthetic qualities. The variety is just amazing, and it's meant to appeal to the senses, so it's just great fun to shop for it, choose it, open a box and take it out for the first time... You get the idea. We love fur!  bear_whistle

Beyond that, though, it's the fur that lets me begin to imagine the teddy. If it's a delicate, sparse, matted fur, I might imagine an antique-style bear. If it's long-piled and "robust," I'll probably see a larger bear. And so it goes, whether it's real fur from an old coat or a screaming purple synthetic, there's an artist out there who can think of the perfect bear to make with it.

Then there's finishing the bear -- especially the face. You work with the fur in order to create facial features, brushing, scissor-trimming, and sometimes plucking with tweezers. The fur that you've chosen limits that process in some ways, but it might also give you a wonderful mustache, eyebrows, and so on, so you don't mind too much. bear_original

I can't wait to hear from others!


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

Great answer, Becky!

Some styles (pile lengths, densities, colors) are hard to come by nowadays so when I see a rare piece at a show I get really excited! Even if I have NO idea what I'm going to make with it I just have to have it! I have one such piece that's been in my stash for at least 6 yrs now.... I take it out, lay it in my lap, pat it for a while, then put it back. I've never seen this color since and I love it so much I don't want to cut into it. Never being able to pat it again... making a bear of it and selling it is just unthinkable!  :doh:

I think the type of mohair or fur totally dictates the style/size even sex of the bear. When I find a piece I want to work with the design of the bear usually comes to mind quite quickly. Sometimes coming across a really neat material for just paw pads will inspire a whole new bear pattern! Other times I want to use a particular pattern of mine and seek the mohair that it will look best in.

Now I want to go play in my mohair closet! bear_laugh

Jaina Emo Bears
Dudley, West Mids
Posts: 862

I see potential teddies wherever I go  bear_grin  Some of the clothes shops here have started selling waistcoats made of feather fur and it's so tempting to buy one just to cut it up! I'm obbsessed with the stuff  but it's pretty hard to get hold of, so I stash it wherever I can (I even bought an expensive M & S feather fur coat on eBay with the intention of cutting it up and turning it into teddies.  bear_wub )

Mohair can change the character of your bear, or inspire you to something new. I love buying people's old stashes on eBay ready to be made into a bear. I have piles of the stuff. I really like dense medium piles - they look so modern; like my designs  bear_grin  I picked up somebody's stash of short pile sparse and made an old style teddy.

I love fabric  bear_grin  I hoard it!

millie PottersHouse Bears
Posts: 2,173

I also see the potential in a piece of fabric.  A couple of months ago I bought an old, very worn quilt at a shop.  They were asking very little for it.  When I was paying the cashier, she commented about it and I told her, "I can just see a wonderful, well loved teddy bear in here."  It does take a bit more imagination when shopping online for fabric, but I still find myself visualizing creations.

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399

I can not see a bear in fabric.  I purchase fabric for the beauty and the potential.  I keep a fairly large amount of fabric that I love, just because, of  the color, the density, the softness.  Then when the time comes that I see the bear, I go dig through till I find the fabric that will go with the picture in my mind. 

EvaJ EJ's Crafts
Fort Mohave, Arizona
Posts: 829

I work in synthetics and have a rather large amount of fabric.  I just l love the feel of the furs.  There are times when I just walk by my stash and rub the fabric or pull a piece out and then can see the bear I want to make from it.  I am always looking for new and different furs.  My daughter was visiting a couple of months ago and she said you sure have a lot of fur why do you need anymore....she just doesn't understand our love of furs.

Plum Cottage Bears Plum Cottage Bears
Long Beach, CA
Posts: 2,151

Plum Cottage Bears Cute Animal Ambassador

I see the bear in the fur.  I see the bird in the feather fabric.  There are so many things I want to make, I can bearly (pun intended ) wait to get my "new" Featherweight from Cathy Forcino and start sewing!

dangerbears Dangerbears
Posts: 6,021

Eva says that she has...

Eva wrote:

a rather large amount of fabric

bear_grin  bear_grin  bear_grin Me too!


Laurie Laurie Lou Bears
Posts: 3,246

I buy fabric that I like the look of although I do choose what I know will suit my size bears even though there are some lovely furs to choose from.I store my fabric in plastic boxes and when I am making my bears I just choose the fabrics that appeal to me at that time.I will then choose what pattern and size bear that I want to make and go from there.I have never had a picture in my head of what I want to make as I can only decide what to do with a bear once I have stuffed the head and put the eyes in.The character will then start to emerge and I go from there....even the accessories are decided at the end.
Laurie :hug:

ThomasAdam Thomas Adam
Posts: 310

Thanks all for the replies so far.  :)

It's really interesting to read the replies, as it tells me something almost all of you artists have in common -- visualisation.  That's not uncommon, or surprising to be honest, not when you consider that's vital when creating a teddy bear.

Thanks -- keep the replies coming, they're interesting.  :)

-- Thomas Adam

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