Late one night, I was catching up on emails, when I noticed one which wasn’t the ordinary junk mail I usually get. It was from a lady in the states inquiring about making a memory bear from ribbon. She had some ribbon with significant sentimental meaning to her and wanted to have it made into a bear. She had inquired locally, but had been told the ribbon could not be made into a memory bear. Seeing the one I had made from horse riding ribbons, she reached out in hopes I would be able to make her one.
I admit, at first I was hesitant to take on a project for some one on the other side of the world. It was my anxiety talking. I’ve really only made for close friends and working with some one so far away, with precious materials was over whelming. I even responded with ideas and suggestions so they could have it made closer to home. But they were still keen for me to make it, so I threw caution to the wind and jumped at the chance to challenge myself! Because these kinds of projects is what I love!
She popped the ribbon in the mail and thus the ribbons adventures continued!
Making the Bear
It took weeeeeks for the ribbon to arrive. But when it finally did, I was eager to start.
I decided to use the same pattern as I did last time. It is from a book by Doris King – “Make Your Own Teddy Bears”, I made the fully jointed bear again.
The design brief for the bear was to use the ribbon provided and embroider “Psalm 91:11” somewhere. The rest was up to design discretion.
Based on original calculations, there would be about 20 feet of ribbon. I calculated that to be a little less than what I had to work with with the last bear I made, so I made a design choice to make part of the bear from a different fabric early on. I’m glad I did, by the time I had cut the bear pieces minus one front panel, there was only a small piece of ribbon left!
Working with the ribbon
When working with ribbon, you basically need to make it into a fabric. I found the best way to do this was to stabilise it the ribbon with a backing and then stitch along the edges of the ribbon where it overlaps.
The first ribbon bear I made, I used a fairly light weight non-woven iron on interfacing. It worked, but I felt like it needed a little more stability, so this time I used a combination of vliesofix bondaweb and homespun to bond the ribbon to.
To do this, first I ironed a piece of the bondaweb to a piece of homespun, I then traced all the pattern pieces onto the fabric and cut them out. From here, I layed the ribbon on top and trimmed to size. I overlapped the edges of the ribbon, and then stitched over the joins to make sure the ribbon never lifts from the backing. After I had all the ribbon attached, it was time for the embroidery!
The coordinating fabric I chose was like a suede fabric, which suited this project incredibly well. I was originally going to use a homespun in the same colour, but it just looked blurg, so I dug deep in the fabric draw and found the perfect piece left over from a bookbinding project I did years ago. Problem was, no matter how hard I tried, I just could not get the embroidery design to transfer over. I tested a couple of ideas, one using tearaway stabilizer, the other stitching through baking paper. Ironically the baking paper worked better than the tear away. So I traced the writing onto the baking paper and used thread to tack it in place. I used embroidery thread to stitch over the design, and then very carefully tore away the paper.
Putting the Bear together
Once the ribbon was all in place and the embroidery was finished, the process of building the bear was simple. I just needed to sew all the pieces together, put in joints and stuff!
The finishing touch was a big bow made from some brown ribbon, and the very last piece of ribbon left from making the bear!
This bear took me wayyy longer to make than it should have! The ribbon arrived at a time when BB wasn’t sleeping well, I was unwell for a bit, and then we had a hospital trip with BB again. But I loved every bit about making it!
When I got notification it had been received, my heart skipped a little. There is something so satisfying about something you put so much heart and soul into making, arriving at its destination on the other side of the world! It will be well loved in its new home, and that makes me so happy!
I’ll be back to show you a couple more up-cycled projects I’ve been working on soon!