Vintage Mink Bears by Kathy Myers

Vintage Mink Bears by Kathy Myers
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Friday, November 23, 2018

Work in Progress ... Custom Order #17

For Debra M.
from her family's vintage blond mink stole
to be transformed into 2 custom teddy bears
using pattern #1

(I will also use the name in the lining to make a sitting pad/quilt for the teddies) 

I had intended on starting on this order a month ago but I was having trouble with my vision. After several trips to the doctors and a variety of treatments, I am able to see what I am doing again. After 30 years of bear-making I could probably make a teddy with "my eyes closed" but since I am using someone else's mink stole I did not want to risk making a lop-sided bear. So now ... back to work!!!

This is Debra's family mink stole.
I don't have a lot to work with because it is on the small size
with a small collar.

Debra wants to save the embroidered name
so I will make my usual little sitting quilt to display with the teddies.

Unfortunately this mink stole was not the in best condition BUT
fortunately the stole was only falling apart along the seam lines.
The pelt, for the most part, seems to be holding up pretty well. 
Of course, the real test comes when the teddy is all sewn together
and I start to stuff it ... I've actually had borderline condition pelts SHRED APART when I start of stuff. Now THAT is frustrating to say the least.

The fur is a very pretty blond color.

Before I lay out my pattern pieces I have to figure out the direction of the hairs.

What I really like about this particular mink stole is that the pelt is solid, as opposed to a lot of little pieces of mink sewn together.

I've deconstructed the mink stole and laid out my pattern pieces. And as I expected I have NO room for error ... there is JUST enough mink pelt for the two requested teddies.

These are the pattern pieces cut out, there about 60 pieces.

Each pattern piece has to have the seam line trimmed about 1/8 inch all around.

Here are all the pattern pieces, organized, trimmed, and 
ready to start the hand-sewing.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and New Year holidays ... the holidays definitely got in the way of my sewing schedule. Well, to be honest I did very little sewing over the Holidays ...

But now I'm getting back on track:

all sewn up ... finally

cleaning up the seams

These are the steps that I do next to complete each arm and leg:

  1. stitched arms and legs turned to outside
  2. cotter pin joints added
  3. wire armatures added
  4. stuffed
  5. opening stitched closed with a hidden ladder stitch
  6. turn body to outside 
  7. attach completed arms and legs to body with cotter pin joints
  8. stuff head
  9. attach neck
  10. stuff neck
  11. complete head by scissor sculpting face, add glass eyes, embroider nose then wax nose and seal it, finish scissor sculpting face
  12. attach completed head to body
  13. stuff body and close opening with hidden stitches
  14. sew on ears
  15. hand-paint face
  16. do final detailing

Thankfully everyone on my waiting list is very patient ... as you can see each and every mink teddy that I hand-make is very very time consuming.

Well, back to work ...

eyes and nose attached
starting to scissor sculpt the face

This is one little face ...

this is the other.

Now just have to attach the bodies and
do the finishing touches.

All finished!
I also finished to little quilt from the stole's lining with the original owner's name.

Now I just have to finish the final photos of the teddies and I will introduce them in the next post ...