Saturday, June 16, 2007
These are my teddy bears. The brown one in the middle is the original "Sympathy Bear".
I started making these years ago when my daughter was about three years old. I used the scraps from clothing I'd made for myself and stitched this bear by hand. When I presented it to her, she oohed and ahhed and hugged it to herself immediately. I asked her what she wanted to name her bear and she said, "Sympathy". I didn't realize she even knew the word, but it seemed appropriate.
Lots of kids have Security Blankets, but mine had a "Sympathy Bear".
Soon after that, I received an invitation to yet another baby shower for a friend from my church. I knew I couldn't afford to keep buying gifts for all the young families having babies in our little town, so I decided to make a bear instead, hoping that the fact that it was hand-stitched with love would make up for what my budget lacked.
I don't have a picture of that bear, but it was made of pink jersey knit with a bit of lace trim around it's neck for a collar instead of a ribbon. When it was opened at the baby shower it was greeted with enthusiasm and amazement as it was passed around for all to see. I heard lots of comments like "Did you sew this yourself...by hand?!" and "Wow, I didn't know you could do that!" I didn't know I could do that, either, until I tried!
Since then I have made many bears, some my own design, some custom orders. One friend of mine had sewed all her curtains, bumper pads, etc. for her nursery. Then she gave me the scraps of fabric so I could make a bear to match. My cousin's twin baby boy and girl got matching bears, one pink, one blue. For my niece, who loves cats, I altered the shape of the ears and added a tail to make her a cat by this pattern. Recently, a friend ordered graduation bears in school colors to give to students...those you can see in the "sold" items in my Etsy shop.
Some bears have faces, some do not. But it's always interesting when I'm sewing the bear's face because it seems to take on it's own personality. Each one is a little different. Some are boys and some I make into girls by adding eyelashes. I've even made some with just a straight line with lashes brushing down...because she's sleeping!
I decided to sew the faces on these bears rather than using plastic eyes or noses because I think they're better for babies that way...no hard pieces to bump them. And they can also be tossed into the washing machine when necessary, because with little ones, they'll always need washing. That makes them good for kids with allergies, too.
By they way, all the bears in this picture can be found in my etsy shop, except for the original "Sympathy Bear" and the blue denim one, dubbed "Charlie"...the ribbon around his neck is tied like a necktie instead of a bow. He seemed to like it that way.
Some bears are seasonal, too. The Sweetheart Bear in the photo above was made as Valentine's Day approached. I've made red and green bears with Christmas ribbons. And I have some red, white and blue fireworks print fabric I may use for a 4th of July bear this year. Or maybe I'll use that remnant of deep brown ultrasuede for soft, snuggly brown bear.
You never know what I'll make next, so stay tuned...!