19 March 2012

Mr. Bear

Greetings, crafters, and welcome to my blog!

I am currently setting up a crafting production line in my tiny room in North London, the aim being to end up with some hand-made items that will pass my extremely strict quality control so that they can be made available for sale through the interweb in the none too distant future.

In order to keep me motivated, I have decided to document the process through this virtual craft diary.

So, let me begin by introducing this little fella: Mr Bear

He is still looking pretty smart with his little bow, even though he is getting on a bit now. In fact, he is dangerously near to middle age. I still love his friendly smile and big eyes. My Mum made the original bear, she followed a simple pattern from a book for hobby crafters, 'Ravensburger Bastelbuch". In fact there is a whole series of them, occasionally they come up for sale on ebay, and I always keep an eye out for them. The old ones are hard to get and the modern ones are just not the same. Even though a lot of the photos were in black and white, the coloured ones were incredibly bright and warm, bordering on the psychadelic, come to think of it. In one of my next blog entries I might just show a few pictures.

But I digress. Back to Mr Bear. My plan is to create the next generation, using vintage fabrics or vintage-inspired fabrics. There are lots of splendid reprints of old patterns out there. 

I have found these amazing examples in a haberdashery (yay, a few new ones have sprung up. It's not quite the same as the enormous shops of my childhood in which little old ladies reigned over endless rows of fabric bundles, but I shan't complain) in East London. 

I haven't done much research in the field of fabric design or fabric production, even though it seems a worth-while project, but these lovely patterns were designed in the 1930s by Sara Morgan for  Blue Hill Fabrics. These days, they even have a web address: www.bluehillfabrics.com I think these 'Feedsack II' designs will be lovely for the new Mr Bear generation.

I have created a little mock-up here:

What do you think? I reckon they will be l-o-v-e-l-y!

I admit to being a procrastinator, so while we are in the process of sharing: I confess to not having actually finished any of the new bears as yet, even though I spent hours cutting out paws and ears, noses and eyes, on a Sunday afternoon a while ago. Other projects have crept in and I neglected the bear production.

Lotte, the daughter of a close friend, celebrated her second birthday, and I thought I'd try to create an outfit for her. Or rather, I found this lovely pattern on the website of a fellow, but out of my league crafter http://www.made-by-rae.com/2011/05/charlie-tunic-pdf-sewing-pattern-is-here/ that I used. I merely did the cutting and sewing, rather than the designing. You should check the website out if you are sewing clothes for children. Anyhow, I had a go at trying the Charlie Tunic pattern, here is how it turned out:

And I'd like to add that I have never ever sewn anything involving sleeves before. It was quite a challenge!

Then, a bag was screaming to be made for my friend Mandy's birthday. I 'upcycled' (ha!) a curtain I had bought at a market, and lined it with some cotton, matching in colour. Note, how the bag goes perfectly with the wall in our kitchen:

Not bad, eh? I was quite pleased with the colour co-ordination, if I may say so myself.

So you see, it is hard to keep the eye on the bear when there are so many other things to be done. The world is full of crafting projects.

And on that note, I bid you good-night. Next time, I will hopefully be able to report some bear progress. I may also introduce you to Ms Duck, another old friend...

Cheerio, crafters. Til next time!