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Memory Teddy

Have you ever wondered what you are going to do with your old rugby shirts, army shirts, sports shirts, that have so much meaning to you and so many memories? You can’t throw them away because they have that attachment you just can’t part with. Like my army shirts emblazoned with my Iraq tour emblem or in this case my first rugby tour. Well, here’s the solution….make a teddy you can keep the memories on. In this case a friend’s son has been on rugby tour and she asked me to make a teddy out of the tour shirt as he grew out of it. It doesn’t have be a shirt, it could be your favourite baby’s outfit. Not your favourite baby, oops, I mean who can choose? I have three and it changes on a daily basis. Just kidding I don’t like any of them. More kidding, I’m too scared of them all not to love them with my big heart. Anyway, back to the bear. I got hold of the simplest teddy pattern, McCalls M6188. Anyone can make this teddy and you all should have a go as they turn out great.

So what do you need? Some fabric including your memories, in this case a rugby tour shirt, the pattern, eyes, nose, thread and a machine. You can also do this by hand - no problems.

Once you’ve got everything together make a copy of your pattern pieces in see through plastic. This will help you place the pattern to allow you to capture as much of the memories as possible. As you can see in the picture, I have laid the pattern piece over the tour logo, positioning it on the chest area.

Then mark and cut out your pieces. There are only two pattern pieces so you have to turn the front piece over and mark and cut that out. Make sure you mark the notches and square marks so you know where to sew between. The same with the back bits. As I said this is the simplest pattern ever for a teddy.

You’ll see from the picture I have cut a top part of the front pattern pieces and a bottom part to grab some more of the detail of the shirt. I simply sewed the legs on to make the front pattern piece. After that sew in your darts to the four pieces. Then its time for your face bits, eyes and nose. Make sure you use child safe face eyes and nose to save that trip to A&E. Use a punch to get clean holes positioning them on the pattern marks. Make sure the hole for the nose doesn’t cut the seam thread by cutting it just off to one side of the seam.

Now you are ready to start sewing. Sew between the marks as directed by the pattern instructions. This joins the two front parts and then the two back parts, leaving a small gap for the stuffing.

Once you’ve done that, its time to sew the front to the back. Take your time with this as the sewing involves a lot of bends around the paws and ears, etc. Set your machine to its slowest and if you find you are drifting too close to the edge, reducing your seam allowance, keep the needle in the lowered position and lift the pressure foot to turn your piece back on track. No need to panic Captain Mannering.!!

You are nearly there. Clip around the rounded edges, ears paws, etc. This will give you a cleaner crisper seam once turned right sides out.

Now gently tease the bear out through the small hole you left in the centre back seam. Work the seams a little with your fingers to push the seams out making them as clean as you can, don’t worry too much about it as the next step is stuffing. Ahhhhh the easy part I hear you say. Easy but you still need to think a little. Start at the legs and using your thumb stuff away until you’ve filled a leg. You’ll know when it’s about right by how you want your bear to feel. Soft or firm it’s your choice. I’ve packed mine out quite firm so they can sit proudly on a shelf showing off your memories. Then stuff the arms, head and finally the body. It’s really tricky to fill a leg or arms later so make sure you’ve packed all the limbs equally now. Once you are happy with your stuffing it’s time to sew up the hole.

To sew up the hole you use a ladder stitch. Start by tying a knot and pole the thread through the seam allowance so the knot ends up on the inside. The using the needle, pierce the fold of the seam allowance to go up one side and then the other making what looks like a ladder. Once you have sewn from one end of the opening to the other go back to the start and pull each ladder rung closing the gap. At the end tie off your thread and it’ll look like the hole was never there.

So what do you think? I’m going to call the black bear, Ninja Bear and the blue one Frankenbear as I foolishly used black thread so you can see all the stitches like Frankenstein.

I think they make a cute couple. Have fun sewing and don’t forget to check out my Sewing Tutorials on YouTube to help you with all your sewing questions.

Have fun, 


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