Dunholm by Tricia Balfour

Tricia Balfour's little hugster has a beaming smile that will no doubt win over any arctophile! He's sewn from mohair and designed with a comical large nose and a tiny tail. Once complete he stands 12.5cm (6") tall, so we're sure you'll be able to squeeze him into your collection!

Click here to download the pattern templates

You Will Need

  • 10" x 10" piece of mohair
  • 3" x 3" ultrasuede for foot pads
  • Five 12mm cotter pin joints
  • Two 3mm or 4mm glass eyes
  • Black embroidery thread
  • Contrasting thread for tacking
  • Strong thread
  • Fibre fill stuffing
  • Steel shot (optional)

Note: All pattern pieces include a 2mm seam allowance.

Step by Step

1. Using the pattern pieces, mark them out on the reverse side of the mohair. Once your pattern is drawn, cut it out using the points of a pair of sharp scissors. Be sure to only cut the backing material. Mark the joint positions on the right sides of the body, arms and legs with contrasting thread. You will pull this out later.

2. With right sides together, sew the two side head pieces together from the nose to the bottom of the neck, using backstitch. Next insert the head gusset, matching the centre of the gusset to the seam at the point of the nose. Turn the head right side out and fill using small pieces of stuffing material. Make sure that the stuffing is pushed firmly into the muzzle on the head so that stitching the nose will be easier. Using a piece of strong thread, with a knot a one end, sew a line of running stitch from the back of the head all the way round the neck opening, ending near the point where you first started. Leave the thread hanging.

3. Take one of the cotter pins and put a hardboard disc on to it. Place the cotter pin inside the head, with the prongs sticking out of the bottom of the neck. Pull the gathering thread tight and finish off close to the cotter pin. Push the thread back into the head and out again several times to hide the thread.

4. Always enter the needle into the same spot that it emerged from. Pull on the thread and snip it off as close as possible to the fabric. The end of the thread will now pull back inside the head.

5. Place two ear pieces right sides together and using backstitch, sew round the ear, leaving the bottom edge open for turning. Do not cut off the thread. Turn the ear right side out and stitch along the opening. Finish with a knot but leave the thread attached, as this will be used to sew the ear on to the head. Make the second ear in the same way.

6. Take an inner arm piece and the matching suede paw pad. With right sides together, sew the paw pad to the arm. Next take an outer arm and with right sides together, using backstitch, sew the two pieces together, leaving a gap at the back of the arm for turning and stuffing. Finish off the thread and turn right side out.

7. Push a cotter pin, with a disc on it through the joint position on the inner arm which you marked with contrasting thread, so that the prongs of the cotter pin are sticking out of the arm, with the disc inside. Stuff well and sew up the opening using ladder stitch, hiding the end of the thread as before. Make the second arm in the same way.

8. Take two leg pieces and place them right sides together. Using backstitch, sew part way up the back of the leg and finish off your thread. Then start stitching from the toe of the foot round and up the leg until you are about 1/2" from where you finished off the stitching on the back of the leg. Finish off your thread and leave this gap for turning and stuffing.

9. Take one of the foot pads and fold it in half lengthways to find the centrepoint. Place this to meet the seam at the front of the foot and using backstitch, sew all the way round the foot, easing it to fit and finishing at the front again. Finish off your thread.

10. Turn the leg right side out. Push a cotter pin with a disc on it through the marked joint position, so that the prongs of the cotter pin are sticking out of the leg, with the disc inside. Stuff well and sew up the opening using ladder stitch, hiding the end of the thread as before. Make the second leg in the same way, ensuring that you stick the cotter pin through the opposite side so that you will have a left and right leg.

11. Place the body pieces right sides together and using backstitch, sew around the body, leaving a small gap in the back for turning, jointing and stuffing. Turn right side out. Do not stuff at this point. Push the cotter pin attached to the head through the seam where indicated on the pattern. Place a second disc on the prongs of the pin. Pull the legs of the pin apart and bend both pieces over (in opposite directions), so that they push back on to the disc tightly. Needle-nosed pliers or a cotter key are essential for this task.

12. Push the cotter pin of one of the arms through the joint position marked on the body. Make sure that you have the correct arm for this side of the body, as cotter pins are extremely difficult to undo. Finish off the cotter pin as for the head and repeat this process for the other arm, followed by the legs. Stuff the body and sew up the opening using ladder stitch, hiding the end of the thread as before. In order to give weight to your bear, you may wish to use steel shot in addition to the fibrefill stuffing.

13. Using bead-headed pins, mark the position on the head where you wish to place the eyes. Take a piece of strong thread and using it, thread it onto the eye loop. Using small piers, pinch the wires on the eyes until they are nearly flat. Alternatively, if you are using onyx beads, simply thread the eye on to a single strand of strong thread. Using a long needle, pass the loop of the eye thread through the point marked with the pin, bringing it out on the opposite side of the back of the head, close to the point where the neck cotter pin is situated. Repeat this process with the two remaining threads attached to the eye, bringing them out very close to where the loop is.

14. Pull the threads firmly to create eye sockets and to ensure that the eyes are firmly embedded in the head. Knot the threads tightly and hide the ends as before. Using the points of your scissors, trim the fur around the muzzle, cutting it as close as possible to the backing fabric. Make sure that both sides of the face are evenly trimmed. Alternatively, you may wish to pluck the fur, rather than trimming. This will leave your bear with a smooth complexion. Finally using black thread, embroider the nose and mouth.

15. Pin the ears on to the head, in a suitable position. Stitch the ears into place, hiding the thread inside the head as before. Finally, place the two tail pieces right sides together and, using back stitch sew round the arc, leaving the flat edge open for turning. When stitched, turn the tail right side out and fold a small seam allowance inside and close the seam with small ladder stitches. Then place the tail on your bear's rear and stitch in place using ladder stitch.

Collectors' Notes

Balfour Bears
Tel: 01382 624 605

Copyright 2003 Aceville Publications Limited