Last week was spring break for my kids so we took a little trip out of town. I couldn’t head out without taking some mini bears to sew. I took seven. (smile) I would be lost without some bears to sew. That got me thinking about how I work, what my bears do for me, how they make me feel and I thought I would tell you about that today so that you know what you get when you adopt one of my bears.
It all starts with picking the fabric. I keep my fabric in a series of plastic storage bins. It’s not ideal but currently I don’t have a work area so this is my system for now. I start going through the fabric, touch it, look at the colours and move it around in the light until something connects with me. Recently I found an amazing miniature bear fabric supplier on Bearpile named Olga Sheogoleva and her fabrics are fantastic! So many colour choices and pile types. I get excited thinking about her fabrics!! All these beautiful options make it hard to choose, so I often cut out more than one mini bear at a time.
Once I choose the fabric and complimentary ultrasuede for paw pads, depending on bear size I head to my chair in front of the TV. I have a file folder there with my patterns in it for my miniature and micro miniature bears. If I’m cutting out bears over 7” I have a table set up at the foot of our bed where I cut them out, pin and machine sew some parts The head, foot pads and pawpads are all hand sewn, so for those I head to my chair. For my miniature bears I look at the fabrics I have chosen and work my way through my patterns until I find one that I feel works. Sometimes I’ll design a new one or tweak an old one. Currently I have about 30 patterns for miniatures between 0.75” to 4.5” tall, between bears and buddies. I have a lap table that I use to trace out my patterns and then I cut them all out and put each little mini bear in a ziplock bag with matching thread so they are transportable wherever I would like to work. My husband built me a tool box when I first started making bears and it holds everything I need for miniature bears and most things I need for larger bears so I can pick up and go anywhere.
From there I start sewing. Sewing bears for me is so relaxing. It’s almost Zen like. I suffer from chronic nerve pain in my face and my bears are my therapy. It’s incredible to see these bears come to life in my hands. I get very attached to each one! I talk to them as their little personalities come out. It helps me to decide eye size and what accessories to use if any. I make the entire bear, stuff it, joint it and sew on the ears. The last thing is that I do give them their little faces. Sometimes the bear I start out to make becomes something completely different once their eyes go on. It’s one of the joys of making bears. Each and everyone of my bears takes a little piece of me with them when they move on. They truly are made from the heart.