Vintage Mink Bears by Kathy Myers

Vintage Mink Bears by Kathy Myers
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Work In Progress ... Custom Order 11

For Connie

Connie sent me her mother's mink stole and requested a "Mother-Daughter" set, if possible.
Typically I can find two teddies "hiding" in a typical mink stole but I knew that this one would be a tight squeeze because this stole was smaller than typical, the mink strips were narrow, and the pelts were not in the best condition.  
When I was taking the stole apart the pelts started to shred ... but fortunately the shredding was along the stitching. So I just cut the pelt strips along all of the stitching and when I needed a larger piece I just sewed pelts together again ... hoping that they would be stronger since I line all of my pattern pieces with cotton material.

Since this is mink is fragile in many areas I will have to hand sew most, if not all, of both teddies because I can't risk making a mistake with my sewing machine because once the needle pierces the pelt it is just like cutting it with a knife (leather is NOT self healing).

Hopefully this fabric lining on each pattern piece will give the teddy enough strength that it will not shred when I have the teddies all sewn up and start to stuff them. Yes, that has happened to me before with pelts that have been in similar borderline conditions ... so fingers crossed!

These two teddies will take a bit longer to complete because of the extensive hand-work required.

Please note: Connie had requested that I add some extra personalized embroidered words on the foot pads ... sorry, I don't do that any longer on my Custom Bears because it is too time consuming and my hands are always sore (no surprise after almost 30 years of hand-sewing mink teddies).

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Custom Order #10 completed ...

for Brenda

Please CLICK HERE to see the photos and details for this custom teddy

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Custom Order #10

Work in Progress

This is Custom Order #10 from my Work Schedule
For Brenda ...
Requested one teddy using Pattern #2 using her light brown mink stole.

I have the body finished !

I am often asked how many teddies I can make from a typical mink stole. Brenda's order is a good example because she sent me a typical mink stole ... the answer is two teddies. I am making my almost 12 inch teddy and because I only needed to make one teddy I used a bit more mink than I usually do because I was able to choose from the best parts of the pelts (with the longest and fluffiest fur). This is what remains of Brenda's mink stole after cutting out her teddy.

UPDATE: Monday Feb. 6, 2017

Brenda's Teddy is finished ... just needs a little final detailing before its photo shoot. It is raining today and it is suppose to rain tomorrow too. (I use natural light in my photos). Which brings me to Wednesday. Fingers crossed that we will be enjoying our typical SoCal sunshine on Wednesday so I can do my Teddy Bear photo shoot.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Custom Order #9

For Dawn ... three teddies:

To see all of the photos of this Custom Order

To see my Work In Progress photos as I was creating this order 
please take a look at my post preceding this one ... 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Work In Progress ... Custom Order

 I am currently working on Custom Order #9 for Dawn

Dawn sent me a really beautiful black mink stole and requested 3 teddy bears.

Beautiful fur!

I love the reddish brown undercoat!
This will be more obvious when I trim the teddy's muzzle ... they should be amazing teddies!

Dawn included a brown mink collar but there is no place where I can use it with the black teddies.

Look at the wonderful sheen of the fur.

This is what the inside of the pelts look like after I removed the lining.

I could tell that there was not enough pelt for me to "find" 3 of my 11 inch teddies
so I cut out patterns for my 9 inch teddies
and ....

I had JUST enough pelt for 3 9inch teddies ... with not much reserve for error ... so I need to keep my fingers crossed that I don't need to recut pattern pieces.

Well now it is time to start cutting ....

Update: November 25

Pattern pieces cut out for 3 teddy bears

I counted 96 pattern pieces!

Now I have to trim away the outside edges of EACH piece before I can start sewing ...
this will take awhile ....

Update: Dec 13, 2016

I've been busy sewing and sewing ... and sewing ... all by hand because these are my 9 inch teddies with a 1/8 inch seam allowance. 

I really prefer to sew my animals by hand because I have more control with the tiny details. Of course after all these years of hand sewing my hands have suffered but I still persist on torturing my hands for the sake of my mink creatures. I will occasionally use my machine for a few of the larger pattern pieces but my sewing machine and I are not very compatible. 

This little mountain of sewn together pattern pieces will eventually become three adorable mink teddy bears!

Next steps: 
  • turning pattern pieces
  • making and inserting wire armatures
  • jointing
  • stuffing and closing
  • and my favorite part: scissor sculpting and finishing the head

Dec. 27 update :
The three teddy bodies are ready and waiting for their heads.

I used the Pattern #2 (that can sit puppy-style).

I always try to use the stole lining for the paw pads ... this stole had very decorative lining.

I'm finally getting to my favorite part ... working on the heads ....

Update: Dec. 30, 2016 .....
(I'm determined to finish these teddies before the end of the year ... at least I'm going to give it a good try).
Yes !!!!! I knew this mink would make beautiful heads! This is the first one and I still have to do the detailing on the head but look how wonderful the face is with the undercoat of the mink being a lovely reddish brown. I love it!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

In need of a new home ...

I was just contacted by one of my long-time collectors, Alyssa.
Unfortunately due to medical bills she has to re-home some of her collection.

I can verify that this mink bunny and mink teddy bear are my creations:

This is a photo that Allysa sent me so it isn't very clear so if you are interested you will have to contact her for more photos and information.

Due to my busy Custom Order Schedule (and busy family life) I have not had any time to do what I love best ... design new creations to offer to my collectors ... so this may be a good opportunity for anyone waiting to adopt one of my mink creations.

Please note that I had plans to "retire" this bunny pattern and design a new one ... so far, I have still had collectors convince me to make just "one more" for them so I'm not sure that this pattern will ever be completely retired but I'm not planning on making more of this pattern bunny anytime soon.

Please DO NOT contact me if you are interested in either the bunny or the bear.
You need to contact Alyssa: 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Custom Puppies

Talk about finally finishing an order ... I started on these puppies August 8 and just now finished them ... two months later!

Custom Order for Melanie

To see more photos of these Puppies ... please CLICK HERE

Of course I took September off to help my daughter with her wedding plans.

My last post was about me "getting back to work".... well ...

I only thought that my life was getting "back to normal" after the wedding. My daughter was diagnosed with diabetes (Cystic Fibrosis related diabetes) ... so more doctors visits for her and new stuff to deal with. Then my husband was suspected of having Prostate Cancer ... so lots of tests for him. The good news is that his biopsy was cancer free. And my daughter does not currently need insulin for her diabetes. AAAUGH there are days when I don't get much done other than dealing with doctors and medical insurances.

but another reason I have not been able to sew ...
A few days ago my daughter adopted another sweet little rescue from our local animal shelter. A tripod (3-legged) Chihuahua. Yes, we have learned to love special needs animals after living with a blind poodle for 19 years. Needless to say we didn't get much done this past weekend other than trying to make our newest family member feel welcome (we have two other dogs and a cat ... all rescues). While this little sweetheart gets around fine on 3 legs her two back legs have bad knees so she will need expensive surgery in the future.