Friends, today’s topic of sewing conversation is more sombre than you’re used to from me; but it’s not all doom and gloom.
A little more than six weeks ago a friend of mine from university lost her father. I haven’t seen this friend for a few years but I keep up to date with her life through Facebook. Watching her struggle through not only her father’s illness but his subsequent passing, even from a distance, was heart-breaking – her grief was palpable even though I only witnessed it via Facebook.
A few weeks later, an ad came through my Facebook feed about bereavement bears; I had never heard of them before and I immediately thought of my friend. They are teddy bears made from the clothing of a lost loved-one! What a wonderful way to give comfort during the dark times when you’ve lost a dear loved-one! I contacted my friend and offered to make a bear if she thought that this would give her comfort.
Little did I know just how appreciative my friend would be – She was thrilled with the idea and asked if I would make five bears: one for herself, one for her mother, one for her daughter and two more for the other grand children. I can’t tell you how honoured I am that I can do this for her and her family.
Picture courtesy of Funky Friends Factory
I don’t have any teddy bear patterns in my stash so I jumped online and did a quick online search. I found two bears that would fit the bill and both were from Funky Friends Factory – a home grown (Qld) Aussie business – right up my alley friends. This one, pictured above, is Izzy Insomniac. My friend chose Izzy for her Bereavement bears. I was looking for a bear that didn’t have any joints in the construction; I specifically wanted the bear to have the limbs sewn into the body because I think they make for better ‘cuddle-ability’ – yes folks, I just made up a word haha
The other bear pattern I purchased was Honey the Easy Teddy Bear – again she’s another jointless bear. You can own the Honey pattern for free. When I was perusing the Funky Friends Factory website blog I didn’t see the icon that said if you sign up for their newsletter you get the Honey pattern for free! But on the other hand, I am more than happy to support independent artisans so I haven’t really lost anything have I? (edited to add: if you have purchased the Honey pattern and then sign up for the newsletter, Pauline is happy to refund. I have decided not to seek the refund and I believe that supporting independent artisans is important)
Photo courtesy of Funky Friends Factory
This is the Honey bear pictured with the designer, Pauline, who most generously allowed me to use her pictures and link to her website for this post. As you know folks, I NEVER blog about anything unless I have purchased it myself. I like the independence that this gives me when I want to discuss my experience with a product. I will be making a couple of the Honey bears to put in my Grandmother’s Hope Chest…Miss-almost-21 said she wanted me to make bears for her future children and she liked the Funky Friends bear shapes. So after the bereavement bears and the daygown is done, i’ll be sewing for my far off in the future grandbabies.
At this point in time, I’ve only managed to complete one Izzy bear – there’s a reason for this. I’m smack bang in the middle of creating a dedicated sewing room. So far, it’s taken me a whole week just to get one IKEA Expedit cabinet constructed and filled and then start to ditch…but that folks, is a whole other post!
Here’s the first bereavement bear – not quite finished; I still need to sew on the felt nose and make the mouth. I’m not entirely happy with its shape – i think it’s a little thick through the neck; the ribbon helps achieve a more pronounced neckline.
The next one I make, I’m going to add a few darts around the neck area to see if that helps to create a more pronounced neckline. There is always the possibility that I haven’t sewed it up properly as well!
What I really liked about this pattern, is how EASY it was to construct the bear – there was no wrangling trying to attach a head to a body piece. What I didn’t like about this pattern was the black-heavy, black/white ratio of the text. It made it very difficult to comfortably read a text heavy pattern – It really really needs a wider spacing between lines and more spaces between paragraphs. I know that there is always the consideration of printing out pages and pages of unnecessary paper when one purchases a downloadable pattern, but I would rather print out more pages to create a better sewing experience. All in all, I would most definitely use the patterns again and moreover recommend them – especially for beginner sewists.
Brown Dog (Wilbur) has taken a liking to the bereavement bear – trying to keep him away from the bear and take a picture was a challenge. I may need to make him one just to keep him happy!