Online Teddy Bear Making Workshop
Do you want to start making teddy bears?
Have you been making teddy bears for a while, but would like to improve your skills, and try some new techniques?
This is the course for you!
Every week, usually on Friday evening, you will receive an email from me with your week's lesson in PDF format. The email will contain a bit of studio chat, and possibly a picture or two of new things that I am working on. The following subjects are covered during the ten week online course:
Week 1: I have a pattern. Now what?
Selecting a pattern, selecting suitable fabric and supplies to go with it. Check your templates for potential errors and hazards. Preparing the templates for transfer on to fabric. Including a section on getting gussets and footpads to fit perfectly, and a section on rescaling a pattern to make a bigger or smaller bear.
Week 2: I've got my stuff together. Can I cut out the bear now?
Economical pattern layout. Marking out on fabric. Cutting out the pattern pieces. Including a section on correcting a 'bad hair day'; fur pile that lies in the wrong direction. Also including a section on pattern layout trouble shooting, and using a 'magic tab' to make closing openings easy.
Week 3: Fluff and teddy bear pieces everywhere. How to I put it all together?
Pinning, tacking, stay stitch, sewing seams. Hand stitching versus the sewing machine. Clipping seams. Including a section on trimming seams, and stay stitching to make neater seams. Also, trouble shooting for the most common problems associated with teddy bear seams.
Week 4: Things are taking shape.
First facial features. Stuffing the head, also known as soft sculpting. Pinning the position of the ears, eyes, nose. Photos illustrating every step of creating the facial features, and playing a little bit with the expression of the teddy bear.
Week 5: Let's get it all together.
Jointing. Various types of joints, and using the proper tools to make the job easy. When to use each method of jointing for the best results. A detailed string jointing tutorial. Also including a detailed photo tutorial on attaching teddy bear ears using ladder stitch.
Week 6: Stuff 'n stitch.
Stuffing the bear, closing openings neatly. Discussion of various types of stuffing materials. Trouble shooting some common stuffing problems. Including a photo tutorial showing detailed steps for closing openings with ladder stitch.
Week 7: My bear is nearly finished, I'm so clever!
More notes on facial features. Needle sculpting the face. Detailed step by step photo tutorial for eye sculpting, and sculpting the muzzle. Special section on sculpting open mouth bears and pattern for an open mouth bear.
Week 8: Look, I'm a handsome bear!
Selecting the right eyes for your teddy bear, placement and inserting various types of eyes. Making eyelids and eye lashes. Special section on creating polymer clay eye surrounds and eyelids for teddy bears.
Week 9: Can you smell the roses?
Teddy bear noses. Nose shape, size, position on the face. Detailed photo tutorial on embroidering the nose. Photo tutorial to make your own clay noses. About using and altering plastic and felt noses to make unusual bears.
Week 10: Stampede!
Tutorial for shading footpads, and painting foot pad detail. Photo tutorial for sculpting foot pads. Photo tutorial for trapunto food pads, painted paw pad detail, and polymer clay claws. Including templates for drawing footpad detail on teddy bears, and a photo gallery to inspire you.
When does the course start? You can join any time, I will start you with lesson one, and keep track of your progress.
How much does it cost? South African teddu bear makers can email me for a quote in Rand, and bank deposit details. Overseas customers, please purchase your tutorial in my Etsy Shop, or contact me for a Paypal invoice.
Attached to your weekly email will be a PDF file that you can print on A4 paper. Each lesson forms a chapter of what will become your workbook, with notes, patterns, diagrams. There are exercises that you can do, and blank spaces to make notes and add photos of your project if you like. During the tutorial series, you will also receive several free patterns.
This is a 'distance education' setup and the idea is that there should be two way communication. I enjoy hearing from my students. When you have completed a lesson, you are welcome to email with questions, and send photos of your work in progress for comment.
It would be good if you choose a teddy bear to make while working through the lessons, so that you have something to practise on. For this reason I'm including free pattern sheets for a bear called Becky. I designed her in 2003, and retired the pattern five years later. I recently had a look at the original pattern, decided that it is time to re-issue Becky. During the time that we spend learning the ins and outs of teddy bear making together, I will be making my own new Becky bear. She will be my photographic model for most of the techniques in your notes.
If you decide to make Becky too, it would be fun. You are under no obligation though. If you would like to choose your own pattern you are very welcome.
A question I'm sure several people are going to ask: why can't I have all ten lessons at once?
If you have been making bears for a while chances are good that you have bought a book or two about teddy bear making techniques. My experience with books is that one gets blinded by all the information in them, and very few people have the self discipline to work through every chapter. It's an overwhelming task. By committing to spend just an hour a week (more if you want to) and working through the construction of a teddy bear systematically, I hope to walk with you while you practice every technique, and know that you have mastered each one before setting off to the next.
What people say who have participated in the course
Thanks to you, I now have the guidance and resources to keep me moving ahead to new and more challenging projects. You are a wonderful teacher. I seriously doubt that I would be continuing my bear-making adventures without you. ...Thank you again for being there. I look forward to future lessons!
Thank you so much for the course lessons to date. I look forward to receiving your email each week. I have learnt so much from your lessons and have applied them to my two bears in the photo. ...With each bear I make working thru your lessons my technique has improved immensely.
Thank you so much for your lessons they are invaluable and my bears are improving.
Please read the fine print:
Can I forward your emails, or print the notes for my friends?
No. This is my copyrighted tutorial series. Copyright laws forbid the distribution of my notes in any form. They are intended for use only by the person who paid for the tutorials . You might argue that no one will know, and you are probably right. However, I beg you to consider the amount of time and effort that went into the compilation of this workshop. As an author and artist, I am dependent on the income from my tutorials in order to enable me to continue my work. Please play fair.
Can I use your tutorials and notes to teach workshops?
No. Any notes, diagrams, photographs and patterns that I offer in these tutorials are for your personal use only. However, if you feel that my techniques have helped you to grow in your bear making ability, and you are teaching workshops of your own, I would be flattered if you incorporate my techniques in your workshops. Remember that you should be the author of your own notes, and prepare your own diagrams, patterns and samples though.
A little bit about Megan
I have been a crafter and toy maker all my life. My favourite toys as a child were the ones I created from junk. But no one imagines that what they start out doing in the play room could become a lifetime occupation. How many people could be that lucky? When the time came to choose a 'serious' profession I did study, and had a colourful career in the real world for a good many years. Somewhere along the line I got to a point where I felt that my job was interfering too much with making teddy bears. I took a leap of faith, quit my job and became a toy maker instead. This has been my profession for more than a decade now, and I count myself as one of life's really lucky people.
Over the last ten years I have had the pleasure and the honour to teach lots of workshops, do some commercial toy design work, meet talented artists, and gather a huge arsenal of information about teddy bear and toy making.
During this ten week course I will have the pleasure of sharing some of that knowledge and experience with you.