Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Job #10 - What is a Keepsake Teddy Bear Maker?

Job #10 was making a keepsake bear. I have to say I was a bit nervous about this one as I have never been patient enough for sewing, but I really enjoyed it and surprised myself that I wasn't too bad! What is a keepsake bear? Well it's a bear that is made from fabric that means something to you. It could be having your child's first school jumper made into a bear, or your late Nans favourite skirt...anything can be made into a bear it would seem! I absolutely love the idea, I actually think it would be a lovely thing for funeral directors to tell people about, what a lovely way to keep the memory of someone special to you. 

Kate - the lady who invited me to make the bears is a rather special lady, who seems to spend most of her time helping people! I'm not sure how she manages to fit anything else in she does so many good deeds! What a lovely job to have where you are doing something so lovely for people. We decided to make my bear from fabric that I had printed by hand - a few years ago I started a textile design business, and had lots of lovely fabric offcuts still from that. Anyone that knows me knows I love things that don't match (I never wear matching socks or earrings!), so my multi coloured multi patterned bear is absolutely spot on for my challenge! I really want to keep him, but am going to auction him off and donate all of the money to the two charities that all this fundraising is for (click here to learn more). More a bit later about how to bid of the lovely one of a kind 100 job challenge bear. I think I'm definitely going to have to make a little one to take with me to all my jobs to have in my selfies! 

 It took two sessions to get my bear finished, so I think about 8 hours in total. In the first session we chose which fabric would be used for which bit of the bear (this took a while as I'm a bit of a perfectionist!). Once that was chosen we cut out the template and pinned each one to our piece of fabric and cut the fabric to match. Wow we now had some arms, legs, belly and head - he looked pretty good already and I couldn't wait to see what he would look like when he was finished!

  The next week I had to get onto the sewing machine...scary stuff! I had to stitch all of the halves to make wholes, but had to leave a gap to poke the stuffing through! Once this was all stitched up the stuffing began, and he needed a LOT of stuffing - I felt pretty bad the amount we used. The style bear that kate makes is Victorian style, so they have to be really firm as they sit down and have to hold themselves upright! Once he was all stuffed it was time to stitch him all together. This bit uses an absolutely huge curved needle like what a surgeon would use. It's the most ridiculous thing ever but I couldn't do it as I'm scared of needles and it looked horrible poking them into my lovely bear (no I'm not crazy, and yes I do realise he doesn't have feelings!). Then we added the eyes and nose and voila my lovely bear had come to life - well almost, we had to add his lovely made with love charm to his ear. We had Kate's 3 awesome children as our assistants making tea, helping with some of the sewing, stuffing and generally providing the entertainment! 
Kate does lots of bear making workshops for various charities, and I will definitely be making more...their so cute! I think I loved it even more because it was made from fabric that meant something to me. If you would like a bear made by kate please visit To bid on my lovely bear please visit, remember all the money goes to charity ;-). 

I asked Kate a few questions to see if her job has her in stitches (I'm sorry I couldn't think of a good one!)....

1. How long have you worked in your job and how did you get into it?
'I've made bears since july 2014. I got into it after making the bear from the kids christning clothes.'

2. What's the best thing about your job?
'Best thing is all the bears have a story behind and seeing their face when they are made.'

3. What's the worst thing about your job?
'Worst thing is the pin pricks and getting covered by fluff.'

4. If money, time, education etc were no object what would your dream job be?
'This would be my dream job.'

5. What stress rating would you give your job (where one is super relaxed and 5 is super stressful)
      I love to see a job with a stress rating of one! Thanks so much for having me Kate, I can't wait to return in a few weeks to make mini bear to come to my jobs with me!!

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