Marvin designed by Dawn Slaughter of Oakley Fabrics

Marvin was developed in 1997 by Dawn, Dusk and Midnight and stands 33cm (13”) tall. By using a straight pile mohair, preferably with a darker backing, you can shave around his muzzle to leave him with a rather fetching moustache.

Click here to download the pattern templates

You will need

25cm mohair
ultrasuede or wool felt for pads
1 pair of 10 or 12mm glass or safety eyes
3 x 45mm joints for head and arms
2 x 50mm for legs
Thread to match colour of mohair backing
Extra strong thread for fixing eyes and finishing off
‘503’ polyester and/or pellets or lead shot
Perle cotton for embroidering nose

Optional

Growler
Stuffing tool
Flexible needles
Sew-in labels
Fray Check

Preparation

1. Photocopy or trace the pattern pieces onto paper then stick onto card and cut out.

2. With the mohair pile running towards you and the backing side up, place the templates on top and trace around them, ensuring you have reversed pieces where necessary. Transfer the openings and joint markings to the pieces, and then cut out. (If the direction of the pile is not running parallel to the selvedge, draw a line indicating its true direction on the mohair backing and use this as a guide. It will save time and tears later!)

3. Cut all pieces out very carefully, snipping through the backing only.

4. Trim the pile from the seam allowance down to the backing. This ensures that you stitch the backing to backing giving a tighter seam and trapping less of the pile within the seam.

5. Trace around and cut out the paws from the ultrasude, wool felt or suedette.

Stitching

1. There is a seam allowance of 0.25” included in the pattern. If machine stitching, use a stitch length of 12-15 per inch (1.5mm) and turn the tension up to between five and six. If hand stitching, use a very small backstitch, pulling stitches up tightly as you go.

2. Pin the seams right sides together before stitching using plenty of pins. Alternatively, you could oversew the pieces together first.

3. Stitch the nose to the chin seam twice. (This seam is put under a lot of pressure when the head is stuffed, so it needs to be really secure.) Open out the seam and press flat with your fingers. (Do not iron!)

4. Pin the centre of the head gusset at the nose to the seam you’ve just stitched, and then ease the rest of the gusset into place. (It is important to get this gusset in evenly otherwise your bear could end up with a wonky nose, which could give him character or just look awful. Believe me, it’s better to get it right now!)

5. Turn the head right side out and put to one side.

6. Sew the ears together in pairs around the curved edge. Turn right side out and oversew the raw edges together.

7. Stitch the darts in the body pieces, then pin right sides together and stitch all the way round leaving the opening in the back where marked for stuffing and a small opening where the two darts meet at the top. This is where the head joint will be inserted.

8. Turn the body right side out.

9. Stitch the paws to the arms where marked, then fold the arm in half and stitch around leaving an opening for stuffing where marked.

10. Turn right side out.

11. Fold the legs in half and stitch from the thigh around to the toe, leaving an opening for stuffing.

12. Mark on the leg pieces and soles: North, South, East and West points – the toe seam being North, the heel – South. Match the soles to the legs and stitch in evenly. (It doesn’t take long to hand stitch these in place first to get them even, then machine over hand stitching.)

13.Turn right side out.

Finishing the head

1. Starting with a very small piece of stuffing, fill the nose area very firmly and evenly. Keep using smallish pieces of stuffing until the whole of the snout area is filled. Then using larger pieces completely fill the head until it is ‘skull hard’. Use your thumbs to push the filling into each curve of the head, and then both hands to feel the shape of the head from the outside. Look at the head from the top and bottom to ensure it is even – you don’t want your bear to look as if he has toothache!

2. When you’re satisfied with its firmness and shape, insert the joint of your choice in the head with the cotter pin protruding from the opening. Gather up around this and secure well.

3. Pin the ears to the head in the position of your choice, then using glass-headed pins, mark the eye positions (try various positions until you find one to suit but don’t mark them through the seam as it will break the stitching.)

4. Make a small hole with an awl for each eye, and then trim away any fur around the hole so that the eye will fit snugly and it won’t have any unusual “eyelashes” around it.

5. Using a very long piece of extra strong thread, fold it in half and insert the loop through the eye of the doll needle. Push the needle through the hole and out at the back of the bear’s head on the opposite side as near to the joint as possible. Leaving the loop dangling out of the eye hole, pull the needle right through and out and off the loose ends. Thread the eye onto the loop and then rethread the needle. Push it through the same hole again and then out about 2-3mm from the loose ends at the back of the head. Push the wire loop on the eye into the hole with your thumb. Pull tight and tie a half knot with an extra twist (i.e. right over left twice). When you are happy that the eye doesn’t wobble in its socket, finish tying with about three more ‘ordinary’ half knots. Then rethread the needle and ‘lose’ the threads through the head. Repeat with the other eye.

6. Stitch the ears onto the head with ladder stitch, finishing off by doing five or six tiny backstitches at the back of the ear where it meets the head.

7. To make the nose use a doll needle and a very long piece of perle cotton (you need to avoid joining where possible) insert the needle under the bear’s chin and out at where you want the top of his nose to be. Outline his nose with some horizontal stitches and when you like the shape, work vertical satin stitch over the top adding his mouth at the centre.

8. You can finish off the nose by bringing the needle out near to the joint and then making small backstitches, before losing the thread through the head.

Jointing and stuffing

1. Insert the cotter pin of head into the hole at the top of the body and complete the joint appropriately. This joint doesn’t have to be as tight as the leg one.

2. Pierce holes with an awl where marked on the arms and legs and body pieces. Trim some of the pile away around the holes so it doesn’t get trapped in the joint.

3. Insert the joint into the limbs, and then stuff the limbs up to the elbows/knees ensuring that the paws and soles aren’t lumpy.

4. Push the cotter pin into an appropriate hole in the body (make sure that the limbs are facing the correct way and finish off the joints as tightly as possible.)

5. Stuff the limbs and ladder stitch the openings together. To avoid making a knot once you’ve sewn up the openings, secure the thread by doing five or six tiny backstitches, then losing the thread through the limb.

6. Push some polyester filling into the bear’s shoulders, upper chest and hump and some more around his bottom and joints. You then have three options: -
Continue filling with polyester stuffing as hard or as soft as you like
Fill the remaining cavity with pellets, inserting a little filler at the opening, so they don’t all pop out as you ladder stitch them together.
Put a pound of lead shot in a bag (I use part of a pair of tights) and put this in the cavity, fill up the remainder with polyester stuffing.

7. Ladder stitch the opening, securing the thread with backstitch as before. Pick out any fur trapped in the seams, then sit back and admire your work.

Collectors’ Notes
Oakley Fabrics, 8 May Street, Luton, Beds, LU1 3QY. Tel. 01582 734 733 / 424 828.