A Bear for Valentine's Day

I hand-sewed this little guy as a Valentine's Day gift for my girls. It's my first mohair teddy bear and probably won't be my last.

Many months ago, I purchased some mohair fabric from Intercal. But after considering it's price - and the fact that I didn't know where to begin - I just tucked it away while continuing to admire the work of a few of my favorite artists.

Then I saw this pattern by Sasha Pokrass and decided it would be perfect for trying my hand at making a bear (for a few reasons): 1) I wanted to use a tested pattern for my first bear; 2) I needed instructions on how to make a bear in the first place (cotter pins, washers, glass eyes?); and, 3) Although the bear in the pattern is mostly mohair (except his boots), I decided that I could use mohair just for the head. Perfect for learning in case I messed up!

For the body, I used boiled wool from a maternity coat that I wore over the years while pregnant with all three girls. I've been trying to decide what to make out of it for quite a long time. This project seemed ideal. I lined it with red Kona cotton and the little guy is quite sturdy.

He needs a ruffled collar like the original pattern. I just haven't decided what fabric/lace to use. In the meantime, he's borrowing a scarf from a little dog :).

And yes (I'm sure a few of you are cringing looking at my bear :) ), when my hand gets steadier, I know I need to go back and work on his muzzle more. He definitely needs some grooming and a trim. I just keep having flashbacks to the first time I took tweezers to my eyebrows and ended up with one arched ridiculously high. Just one. It took weeks to correct and I looked so silly. So...I didn't want to overdo it on his nose and left him a bit scruffy for now.

Besides, that's a huge part of the joy in sewing for my children - they don't notice these things (right now) and love what I make them (again, for now!).


Handmade Olympics!!!

Have any of you checked out the finalists in this year's Handmade Olympics? Noelle (the Christmas doll) is one of the finalists in Event 2 and the Lonely Goatherd Marionettes are finalists in Event 7!!! The short-lists were posted yesterday and voting has just begun.

If any of you feel like voting (for my dolls or any of the other finalists), here are links to both Events. You can only vote once in each category!

Event 2 - "Our favorite handmade goodie for kids"

Event 7 - ""Our favorite handmade or vintage item that's fun!"

And check out the other Events (there are 8!). I'm sure you'll see some familiar names/blogs.

I'll be back tomorrow or Thursday with some pictures of the little guy I made my girls for Valentine's Day. It's a bit dreary out for photos right now...and I have to head to the co-op nursery school. It's my workday today :).


Mary Frances Sewing

Projects 8 and 9 in the Mary Frances Sewing Book are now done. The outfit above is the Morning Dress. I did the cutting, ironing and basting and my daughter did all the sewing, some on the machine (the arm bands, joining the sides, and the placket) and some by hand (the hem and neck band). We took a short cut on the arm bands and used pinking shears instead of French seams, but otherwise followed the rest of the pattern. Pretty much.

A close-up of her hand-sewing.

And here is Project 8, the pinafore. For some reason, it's shorter than the pattern. I can't remember why :).

Again, my daughter did some of the sewing on the machine and some by hand (the hem, the pocket, and the button-holes specifically). I did a lot of ironing and basting and helped her with the outer edge sewing of the linen tape. She handled the rest on her own.

The fit is a bit funky...maybe over a different dress it would look better? Or maybe it is just the style? Or perhaps I should have re-sized it better? Probably the latter...

Oh well! Next up is a petticoat.


Hello Spring?

Spring already? That's what it has felt like around the Bay Area recently. In fact, we had record-setting temps yesterday (in the high 70s)! The girls were outside playing in short sleeves and soaking up the sun.

All this warmer weather has prompted my middle daughter to urge me/remind me/pester me to make something more appropriate for her doll, Noelle. I had to agree. The velvet dress and fur-lined cape were definitely looking out-of-season.

So I quickly sewed up this dress above yesterday. I used a bit of fabric that one of my husband's colleagues so kindly brought back from a trip to China. (Thank you Grace!) Perfect for Spring.

I should have a few more posts later this week and early next week. Several projects are almost done! Finally...some progress :).