A Bear Called Libby

Last weekend RR and I were invited to celebrate the first birthday of a very special little lady. Miss S, who is known to all as Munchkin, is a lovely little thing, and I wanted to give her a very special present. Well, actually, being me, I wanted to make her something very special! Quite apart from being lots of fun to make, I think that handmade gifts are also a lovely way to give a very thoughtful and personal present.

But what to make? Munchkin is already the proud owner of at least 2 quilts, and her mum, Ms Nexttonicx, is a wonderfully talented dressmaker, crocheter and knitter (amongst her many other skills). I knew I wanted to sew something, so that was a good starting point, but what could I sew? That was the question…

Then, a few weeks ago, Ms Mudpiesandpins introduced (via Instagram) the enchanting Saoirse Bear, a precious little lady she had made from Liberty fabric using English Paper Piecing (yes, I am totally in awe!) This got me thinking about the soft toy patterns that I see each month in my Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine. I was pretty sure that I had seen a bear pattern at some point, so I flicked through all my old copies until I found it. It looked super-cute, and, what’s more, the pattern was billed as “simple-to-sew”. Total result!

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And thus, dear reader, Tinky the Bear was born…

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Tinky was my first attempt at the pattern, and I was pretty pleased with the end result, but simple-to-sew she was not. She’s actually quite a little bear, and I really don’t do well with small, fiddly things due to my crappy hands. Suffice to say, all those teeny tiny pieces had me all of a kerfuffle, and she came out looking more like some weird alien hybrid of Tigger and a monkey (hence Tinky) than she did a bear suitable for a first birthday present.

Okay then, the actual pattern was great, and I loved the resulting (slightly odd-looking) bear. The real problem lay in her small-ness. So why not just enlarge the pattern pieces?

So I did. And made it half as big again. Proper bear sized 🙂

Knowing Munchkin’s mummy loves all things Liberty, I picked out a fat quarter of beautiful Liberty lawn from my stash, which I had been saving for something special. The newly enlarged pattern used up all but a few tiny slivers of my fabric, so I crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t mess it up, and set to work.

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All cut out and ready to sew…

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… with a very economical use of one fat quarter 🙂

And thus Libby the Liberty Bear came into existence.

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Libby, sunning herself on our balcony

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Libby and Tinky take in the view

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Chilling out in front of the tv

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Having a nice cup of tea…

I have to confess here that hand embroidery is not my strong point. Bear faces are difficult to embroider! I’m still not entirely convinced that she looks “all there”. In fact, the words “deranged” and “slightly psychotic” may have been bandied around (thanks, RR…)  Nonetheless, I think she looks friendly, so I wrote a little note, tied it around her neck with a ribbon, and wrapped her up for the birthday girl.

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Deranged? Maybe. Friendly? Certainly!

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I so enjoyed making Libby and Tinky, that I’m now on my way to making a third bear, and I’ve been thinking about making more soft toys in the future. I have a sneaking suspicion that this could become a little bit of an obsession if I’m not careful…

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Well, now that Libby has gone to a new home, I wouldn’t want Tinky to get lonely, would I???

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

4 responses

  1. Elita @ Busy Needle Quilting | Reply

    Oh, how positively DELIGHTFUL!! I’m sure that there’s another little bear in Scotland who would love to see this one (nudge, JACK!). Libby is so sweet (as she would be in any Liberty fabric) but I’m actually a little partial to Tinky. Very cute!!!

  2. mudpiesandpins | Reply

    Such a cute pair. I’m glad you’re making a companion for Tinky, I didn’t realise till now that she was such a small little bear. She’ll defintiely love the company. And no Libby does not look deranged, she’s just downright adorable!

  3. What a great way to brighten any special day. Everyone loves such a thoughtful gift. Kudos to you for a wonderful job!

  4. thelittlestthistle | Reply

    Bears are challenging little buggers, but they both look very cute 🙂

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