Turn your old linen into mini classic teddy bears
If you are like me…a collector of all things, then in your pile of “Stuff” you should have some of Grandma’s old table linens. If not, then there is never a shortage of vintage or used napkins and table clothes out there waiting to be purchased and put to use once again. One of my favorite places to find old linens is at church sales.
Sometimes, I will come across linens that are so stained and damaged, that no matter what I do, those stubborn stains just aren’t coming out. Those stains are just going to stay.
Anyway I can’t just throw them away, so out come the scissors, thread and needle and I turn them into something else. Before you start cutting yourself, please make sure your linens are not antique and valuable or even worst, very sentimental to the family…do your research.
Acrylic paints (optional)
Mod Podge (optional)
Black embroidery thread
Doll needle ( this is just an extra long sewing needle)
White thread ( I used black for instructional photos, so you can see it better)
White or off white table linens
Black beads for eyes
Dental floss or thick quilters thread
Use the photo of the pattern above to sketch and copy from. If you don’t want to sew a teddy bear, get creative and draw out shapes you would like to try. Some examples would be a fox, cat or owl. Get the kids involved and use their drawings to cut out and sew and stuff…it is endless what you can do. Once you have your pattern pieces ready to cut make sure you reverse each piece and cut an opposite of each piece. You should end up with a left and ride side of 2 legs, 2 arms, 1 body, two ears (4 pieces to cut) and 1 head with a left and right side and middle piece, called the gusset. After you have all your pieces cut out, pin together o start sewing.
Using the backstitch start sewing your pieces together, starting with the arms, legs ears and body, making sure you leave a large enough space open to turn your pieces right side out later when you are ready to stuff.
To sew on the footpads first place the pad within the oval formed by the edge of the foot, pin into place or hold into place with your fingers while you sew.
Once finished sewing ears, turn right side out, then fold in half and sew a couple stitches to hold the ear shape in place.
You can start stuffing your legs, arms, and body now, using the bottom of a small paintbrush for those hard to reach areas. Use your paintbrush to turn your pieces inside out as well. Sew closed using a ladder stitch.
To sew the head, first take your left and right sided piece and sew together, starting from the bottom of head all the way up to the tip of the nose.
Take the middle piece called the gusset and pin or hold in place on one side, making sure that the nose tip matches up with the center of the lower muzzle seam. Using small backstitches start sewing one side. When you are finished with that side, start sewing the gusset to the other side of your bear face. Once finished sewing you will notice the gusset is a little too long in the back. I always do this when drawing out my bear patterns because there have been times when the gusset was too short and the head could not be finished. Just trim the extra material off, then turn the head right side out and start stuffing, not too hard or too soft, don’t over or under stuff . then sew closed using a running stitch a couple times and knot off.
Use tiny straight pins, place into face on head to give you an idea of where to place your little black beads for the eyes.
Start sewing in one bead at a time with thick quilter’s thread or a very strong thread since you will be pulling hard to give your face it shape…this is soft sculpting. You pull the thread out through the back of the bottom of the head then tie a knot. Do this with the other eye, making sure to knot off through the back of the head.
To sew on the ears, either use the ladder stitch or whip stitch. Just like the eyes, pin ears in place first to see where the best placement is and then begin sewing them in.
Using black embroidery thread (about three strands) embroidery the nose in the shape you like best, using satin stitches. You can sew across muzzle or down in vertical lines for your nose shape. You can add a mouth as well, just use straight stitches. I usually just do a cute little nose.
In the one of the photos below my nose is a little off centered, if this happens with you, you can cut thread away very carefully and start over or keep it as a whimsical little rustic bear with a messed up nose. Sometimes those happy mistakes give your little creatures their characters…you decide what you like.
When the head is finished sew on top of the body using the ladder stitch.
Using dental floss or a very thick thread start sewing on arms. Go through one arm first, then pull through body to other arm, sewing back and forth this way a few times, then knotting off under one arm to hide the knot. This is a string joint. There are other ways to joint a bear, usually with little plastic doll joints or washer joints but the string joints work too. Once you finish sewing your arms on, do the same thing with the legs to the lower part of the body.
Step 14 (optional )
You can paint your bears with acrylic paints, being careful around the eyes and nose. Once the paint dries, add Mod Podge to give your bears a different texture, like leather. You can also draw designs and color those in with permanent or fabric markers, then go over that with Mod podge. Glue a little button to their bellies, or add a little felted vest or ribbon to your bears once finished.
Mini Classic Teddy Bears
This would be a fun little project to go with the story Goldilocks and the three little bears. Get a big cardboard box and have your children design rooms and furniture for their little bears…happy sewing.
*Note: Click on smaller pictures to enlarge them