Festive Fun
Designed by Christina Harris, Nöel is a pretty polar bear who’d make a special Christmas gift

‘Tis the season to be jolly and this cuddly polar is ready to join in the fun. Sewn from crisp white mohair, he wears a woolly scarf to keep him warm. Once complete Nöel measures 33cm (13”) tall. Any arctophile would be glad to receive this adorable hugster on Christmas morning.


Enlarge templates below to dimensions shown.

You Will Need

  • 23cm (9”) of 1cm (3/8”) long pile mohair
  • A small amount of wool felt for the paw pads
  • Six 3.5cm (1 1/2”) and four 4.5cm (1 7/8”) hardboard discs
  • Four 2cm (7/8”) and one 4cm (1 5/8”) bolts with Nyloc locking nuts
  • Ten metal washers
  • A pair of 9mm glass eyes (black)
  • A good quality machine thread to match
  • Strong thread for closing the seams
  • Polyester bear filler

Step by Step

  1. Transfer all pattern pieces to medium weight art board with their relevant markings. All seam allowances are 6mm (1/4”). Once you have established the direction of the pile, lay out the pattern pieces on the back of the fabric. Cut the paw pads and footpads from felt. Draw around the pattern pieces using a ballpoint pen. Indicate all placement marks, jointing holes and openings. Cut out the pieces using small, snipping movements under the backing of the mohair to avoid catching the pile.

  2. Trim around all the pieces of mohair about 3mm (1/8”) in from the edge and smooth the fur to the inside as you pin the pieces together, this will ensure a good tight seam and prevent any trapped fur. Reinforce the turn at the ankle, the paw pads and the head by double stitching. Always hand stitch with heavy doubled thread using a small even ladder stitch when closing seams after stuffing. Use glass headed pins and place them at right angles to the fabric to prevent losing them inside the bear.

  3. Stitch the darts in the head. Join the two head pieces right sides together and stitch from the tip of the nose to the neck. Snip almost to the point where indicated, and lay the sides open. Stitch the ears together along the curve. Stitch the body fronts to the body backs at the sides. With those pieces together, stitch all around leaving the back open for stuffing and a small 6mm (1/4”) gap at the neck seams for jointing the head at a later stage. Stitch the paw pads to the arms matching the notches. Make a small snip where indicated, to the end of the stitch line. Fold the arms over and stitch around leaving the opening. Stitch around the legs leaving openings at the front and the sole for the footpad.

  4. Match the pin the marks on the footpad to the toe seam and heel mark on the leg. Ease and pin around the rest of the pad. With pad on machine plate, start at toe and with seam open, stitch carefully around the foot. Now turn the foot up so that the pad is facing you and stitch around a second time making sure you have a nice symmetrical oval.

  5. Pin the centre of the head gusset to the head centre seam, then part way up each side of the head. Hand stitch this section of the head, turn it right side out to ensure the nose is perfectly centred. Turn back to the inside and pin the rest of the head together. Now machine stitch around the head with the gusset facing you. When you get to the nose, keep checking that the underside of the fabric is smooth and that the seam is opened out when you stitch over the end of the nose. You can do this by keeping the needle in the fabric while lifting the presser foot and pivoting your work.

  6. When all your pieces have been stitched, turn them right side out and gently brush the seams with a cat comb to tease out any trapped pile. If you use a teasel brush be careful not to hit the felt around the paw and foot pads.

  7. Next attach the arms and legs. Using an awl, push holes through the jointing hole marks on the arms, legs and the body. Slip a washer and then a disc onto a short bolt, push the bolt through one of the limbs and through the body. Add another disc and washer and tighten down a bolt using a spanner and holding the other end of the bolt in the limb with a screwdriver. (The larger discs are used for the legs, the smaller ones for the arms and head). Repeat for the other limbs. Tighten to where you can just move the limb. It might feel too tight now, but once the bear is stuffed it will slacken off a bit.

  8. Stuff the arms and legs firmly. Start with small amounts of stuffing and work it well into the toe and paw areas. Continue stuffing until the limb is firmly filled. Pay particular attention to the area around the joint. Close the opening with heavy thread, using a ladder stitch. Comb out any trapped fur.

  9. Next stuff the head. Start with a small amount of stuffing and push it into the nose area. Keep pushing small amounts of the stuffing in and moulding it into position with your hands until the area is firm and tight. The nose area is very important as this is where you will embroider and it must be very firm. Once you have a hard, smooth, nose, larger amounts of stuffing can be added.

  10. Run a gathering stitch around the neck edge using strong thread. Fit the long bolt, with a washer and disc on it, into the opening with the bolt protruding out and pull the gathers tightly together. Make a few crissdouble cross stitches and secure. Attach the head by slipping the locking bolt through the small gap you left at the top of the body, slip on the remaining disc and washer and tighten down the nut with the spanner whilst holding the bolt with locking pliers between the nut and the disc, and continue tightening down the nut. Cut off the bolt leaving about 12mm (1/2”) below the nut. You will need to use bolt cutters. Start stuffing the body, making sure you get the stuffing well into the hump, around the shoulders, well into the bottom and around the leg joints. Close up the back seam with a ladder stitch starting at the top and finishing with a few overstitches. Push up some more stuffing as you close up. Push the needle back down and out about two inches further down the seam and cut the end off.

  11. With small sharp scissors, trim the muzzle taking tiny snips. Keep the pile even and symmetrical. Keep looking at the bear from all angles so you don’t trim off much of the fur. Using at least a 10cm (4”) needle, thread a long double length of very strong thread, knot it and bring it up, under the back of the chin and out to one sideof the nose. Take the needle back through the nose to the other side, pulling up snugly. Pass the needle back through the nose, this time a little higher up the bridge, and gently pull up the threads. Continue doing this several times finishing just below the point where you will insert the eyes. Each time you insert the needle, it should be just a tiny bit above where you have come out. The stitch needs to be big enough so that it does not pull through the fabric and small enough so that you don’t see it.

  12. Determine the placement of the eyes with glass-headed pins. When you are sure the eyes are even, make a small hole with an awl where each eye is to go. (Not directly on the seam). Take about 1 metre (39”) of strong thread, it and slip the looped shank of the eye to the centre and tie two knots. Gently pinch the loop together using needle-nosed pliers. Slip the four ends of the thread through a long 12.5cm (5”) doll needle and push it through the eye hole up into the head and out where the opposite ear will go. Make sure the eye loop is pulled through the eye hole up in the fabric and into the stuffing. Repeat this process for the other eye.

  13. Remove the needle and pushing with one hand on the eye, pull the threads tightly up. Now separate the threads, two on each side and with a shorter needle, thread one side of the threads and take a tiny stitch from the exit point coming up about 3mm (1/8”) away. Take off the needle, grasp each side of the threads, loop them twice around and pull tightly together while pushing on the eye. This will keep the threads tight, enabling you to make a double knot. Thread the ends back into the shorter needle (one side at a time), and push down into the same area coming out further away. Cut off the ends and repeat for the other eye.

  14. To stitch the nose use at least 60cm (24”) of light coloured Perle embroidery floss, start at the centre top of the nose, just above the seam, and with close parallel stitches work your way to one side of the nose, back to the centre and to the other side. Keep looking at the nose from different angles to keep it symmetrical. Take several stitches back and forth underneath the nose and cut off the thread. Change to a darker floss, make a tiny knot in the end and push the needle back down under the nose stitches and out at the bottom tip of the nose, ready to form the mouth. If you have sewn the gusset on straight, the stitch will be directly over the seam. Push the needle back down, about 6mm (1/4”) away from the nose, forming a bar, and out at an angle, about 12mm (1/2”) to one side. Bring the needle back up through the bar without piercing the mohair, and down into the other side to form an upsidedown ‘Y’. Check to make sure the mouth is even, then bring the needle back through the nose, take several stitches back and forth underneath and cut off.

  15. Next stitch the claws. Thread a length of the darker floss, make a tiny knot and pull it through at the seam. Stitch four evenly spaced claws up through the felt pad and down through the mohair just above the seam. To secure, push the needle back into the mohair a fraction away from where you came out, take several cross stitches underneath and cut off the thread. To attach the ears, trim out the fur in the centre of each ear (front side only.) Turn up about 6mm (1/4”) and hold in place as you pin the ear in position. Use long glass-headed pins that cannot be lost in the bear’s head. Move the ears around until you are satisfied with their appearance. Stitch in place using a ladder stitch around the back of the ear, then back and forth through the head, catching the front of the ear, reinforcing the curve. Take several stitches at either end to ensure the ear is firmly in place.

Bear Facts
For more details on designs by Christina Harris call 01892 660 235.


Templates - Enlarge to the dimensions shown