I’ve decided to do a little series on how I make my full-sized mohair bears… hopefully from start to finish (we’ll see how long I stay focused!) All of my bears start out the same way, as a little pile of scraps and do-dads. I sift through the vast stash of ribbon, beads, and materials and put together something that feels pleasing to me.
I generally put my little pile of scraps into a drawstring bag and carry them around with me. Not all the elements will find their way into the finished bear. If I’m at a fabric store or antique shop I can pull out that little bag and see how my fabrics might look with various other elements that I find. For this bear, I am starting with some lovely pinks and creams.
I make decisions about the size and shape of the bear. Will she have straight or bent legs? Large ears or small. Sometimes I sketch a completely new pattern… sometimes I take out an older pattern and modify it to suit my needs. I trace out the pattern onto the fabric. Then I begin to cut out each pattern piece with my sharp little crane scissors. I take tiny snips along the back of the fabric, following the cutting line and parting the fur on the reverse side as I go. You have to be careful to cut just the cotton backing… not the fur.
After all the pattern pieces have been cut out. I carefully trim the fur that lies within the seam allowance at the edges of the entire piece. Not everyone finds this a necessary step. I like doing it because I think it makes the seams feel tighter and look less visible in the finished bear. It also lessens the amount of “seam picking” that will be necessary in a later step. I am left with a little pile of fluff.
When the weather is nice I sometimes do this part while sitting on my deck. No need to clean up that way! The funny thing is, sometimes birds fly away with the fluff and bits of mohair scraps. I always wondered what they did with my leftovers! A few years ago, we had a robin make a nest in our crabapple tree. As I stood on the deck railing to take a wee peek at the new babies, I noticed some of my mohair trimmings woven into the nest along with the usual twigs and grass . What a cozy place to hatch!