Solomon by Alison Beal, Haven Bears

Solomon is a lovely cuddly bear with rather a worried expression He measures 30cm (12”) tall and is sewn from a very scruffy, 35mm wavy Schulte mohair. A mid-brown cashmere, which is a fantastically soft material, was also used for the pads and paws. This sweet little bruin is just begging for a cuddle, so why not add him to your hug today?

Download: Pattern

You will need
¼ metre of mohair
Ultrasuede, suedette or cashmere for pads and paws
One pair of 7mm glass or safety eyes
Thread to match the mohair backing
Extra strong thread for eyes and finishing
Four 25mm joints for arms and legs
One 30mm joint for the head
Polyester bear filler
Plastic pellets
Glass beads for the feet
Black stranded cotton for the nose

Step by step

1 Transfer all the pattern pieces to card, taking care to note the direction of the pile and all relevant markings. The pattern pieces include a seam allowance of around 1/4”. Lay all the pattern pieces on the reverse side of your fur. Use a ballpoint to draw around them and mark on all necessary joint holes and openings. Cut out the pieces using sharp scissors and small snips, taking care to only cut the backing and not the pile. The paws and pads are cut from the suedette, ultrasuede or cashmere.

2 Trim around the edges of the mohair within your seam allowance to avoid trapping any fur once the seams are stitched. If hand stitching, always use double thread and small stitches. I always oversew the edges together first then do reverse running stitch (ie: running stitch one way, turn over and repeat the running stitch back the other way) along the seam allowance. If machine stitching, tack your pieces together first to avoid movement as they go through the machine.

3 Starting with the head, stitch from the nose to the chin. Place the gusset to the centre of the nose and make sure the centre line is exactly in the centre of the nose. Tack this into place before stitching in the rest of the gusset to make sure your bear has a straight nose. Once stitched, turn it the right way out. The ears should be sewn together in pairs around the curve. Once turned the right way out, oversew the cut edges together.

4 Stitch darts of coloured thread into the body pieces to indicate where the joint holes are to be. Stitch the two body fronts together first, including stitching across the neck joint at the top. Stitch the two back pieces together, including stitching across the neck at the top. Leave the opening for turning and stuffing, then stitch the side seams together leaving a small opening at the neck to fit the head bolt. Turn the body out taking care not to pull out your darts.

5 For the legs, take one piece and fold it along the centre lengthways. Stitch from where the top of the foot meets the leg, along the curve down to the toe, and then from the same place to the top of the leg, leaving an opening at the top. Stitching it in two sections like this stops the leg from twisting as you stitch it. Position the sole in place, matching toe to toe and carefully stitch. Even if machine stitching the bear, it is recommended that you hand stitch the foot sole for a better, even finish. Turn right side out.

6 Sew the paw to the inner arm piece before stitching the two arm pieces together. It can be easier to do this in two stages; around the paw first, then from the top to the paw on each side. This avoids any twisting of the arm as you stitch. Leave an opening at the top, then turn right side out. Stuff the head first using small pieces of filling and ensure that the nose is firmly stuffed before filling the rest of the head. Use your fingers and a stuffing tool to fill the head. You are aiming for a firm feel, a hard nose and an even appearance. Once stuffed, place in the joint and gather the neck around it using strong thread.

7 Before attaching the eyes, trim the fur from around the nose and up to the eye level, using very sharp scissors and taking great care to only cut the fur and not the backing. Using a long piece of extra strong thread, fold it in half, place the looped end through the loop on the eye, pass the other end of the thread back through the looped end of the thread and pull it tight. Carefully squeeze the metal eye loop together using flat nose pliers, making a straight metal prong. Having decided on the position of your eyes, thread the ends of the thread onto a long doll needle and push the needle through from the front of your bear to the back. Pull the thread tight and the eye should sit firmly on the bear with the flat metal loop pushed into the stuffed head.

8 Split the threads at the back of the head, two on each side. Using a small needle, take one lot of threads about 3mm away from the exit point. Tie off the eye threads tightly using a double knot. Ensure that your eye is tight to the head. Re-thread all of the threads onto the long needle and take them through the head and out at the base, avoiding the head joint. Pull tight and cut off the loose ends. Repeat for the other eye. Using a needle, carefully loosen any pile caught in the double knot. Once you have done this, the knot should not be visible within the pile.

9 Stitch on the ears using the long needle. Ensure that the ears look evenly placed on the head. Use ladder stitch at the back of the ear to attach them and then go through the head, making sure to catch the front of the ear too. Using stranded embroidery thread, stitch the nose, taking care to keep the nose central and even on his face. Lose the end thread in the head. Attach the head joint through the neck and tighten. It is best to stuff the arms and legs before attaching them to the body. Fill the arms with plastic pellets, place the joint inside, then use polyester stuffing at the top to push the pellets down and make the whole thing firm. Stitch the top of the arm, turning in the raw edge. Repeat for the other arm.

10 The legs are filled with glass beads in the feet to give him some weight and then plastic pellets to within an inch of the top. Shake the pellets down to make sure that there are no air gaps in the leg. Place in the joint and then use polyester stuffing at the top to make the leg firm. Stitch up the leg, turning in the raw edges. Repeat with the other leg. Attach all the limbs to the body, using an awl first to make a small hole where your darts indicate. Tighten all joints to your preferred tightness.

11 Stuff the body firmly using plastic pellets and polyester. Make sure that the neck and shoulders are firmly filled as are his hump and bottom. Once you are happy with the firmness of your bear, stitch up the opening using extra strong thread and ladder stitch. Try not to catch the fur in your stitches and tease any that does become trapped with a needle or comb.

Collectors' Notes
For more details about Haven Bears, contact Alison Beal, Newhaven, Hough Lane, Norley, Cheshire, WA6 8JZ, UK. Tel: 01928 788 313. Web: www.havenbears.com

The Schulte mohair used to make Solomon is available from Oakley Fabrics, 8 May Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 3QY, UK. Tel: 01582 424 828/ 734 733. Web: www.oakleyfabrics.co.uk