W.I.P. - Tea Bath for a Ted: Tea Dyeing in a Cup

Today I want to tea dye a teddy bear. This will be a little panda with darker ears, arms and legs. I've sewn the pieces but they aren't stuffed or jointed yet.  

teapot water boiling
teapot water boiling

I'm just heating up some water in a teapot. The flame doesn't show up very well, but the water is boiling. Because the pieces are so small, I can just use a Pyrex measuring cup for the dyeing. I dyed a scrap first to check time needed for the result I'm looking for. If it comes out too dark, I know to keep the actual teddy pieces in the bath for a shorter time.

teddy pieces before tea dyeing
teddy pieces before tea dyeing

Here are the undyed teddy pieces ready to go into the tea bath.

teddy pieces in tea bath
teddy pieces in tea bath

The teddy pieces in the tea dye bath.

dyed teddy parts
dyed teddy parts

Tea dyed teddy pieces. I'm happy with the color I got. Now the panda will be stuffed, jointed, and the face and claw detailing finished.

Teddy - All Pinned Up

teddy with pinned bodice

This teddy has a muslin rectangle pinned to her front and is looking a little like a voodoo doll at the moment.  The muslin piece will become the front bodice.  I make vertical slashes in the muslin around the neck so the muslin will lie flat there.  I cut off some of the excess fabric as I slash and pin around the neck.  Then using a length of pearl cotton thread as a mini style tape, I "draw" the neckline design by placing it in the approximate position I want and then adjusting it.  I repeat the process for the back bodice.  Then I determine and pin the side seam.

teddy with draped dress neckline, armhole, and waist marked

I want a gathered skirt for this dress, so I gather the top of another muslin rectangle and pin it to the bodice.  I may play around with the gathering some to get the desired fullness, then mark the side seam.

I cut out a full pattern and pin it to the teddy to get a better idea of the look of the whole dress on her.  When I am happy with the draped design, I use it to make a paper pattern.  Then I’m ready to cut the dress out of the garment fabric.

teddy with draped dress

Pignon in my Etsy shop

Pignon with wool felt booties and cotton scarf

Pignon is now available in my Etsy shop.  He is 7" tall and is made of sparse, matted German mohair.  He wears a cotton lace scarf and 100% wool felt booties with perle cotton ties .  He is hand-shaded and has black and white google style eyes.  He is a one-of-a-kind.  As you can see, he is a little mischievous.  He is fully cotter-pin jointed and has a whimsical, primitive look.

Pignon bootie on top of head

Beratrice, Lloyd, and Flit, Mohair Momma Bird and Babies

Beratrice, Lloyd, and Flit Mohair birds

Mohair momma bird Beratrice and her two sons,Lloyd, and Flit, are now available in my new Etsy shop.  The design for Beratrice was taken from one of my computer doodles.  I had a lot of fun designing and making her little hat.   I draped felt into the shape I wanted and made a pattern from that.  I used woven wool fabric for the hat that had been felted and stitched the hat by hand.  The little flower on a stalk is a combination of wool felt and woven cotton and has a vintage stamen.

W.I.P. (Works in Progress) -- Waiting for some Parts

W.i.p. bear

Well, here are some works in progress.  The first little teddy made of the the softest, yummy German Schulte mohair is waiting for his stainless steel shot tummy ( in a little muslin bag).  I had to redo the little tummy bag for a shape that gives him better balance for sitting nicely.  The rest of his body will be stuffed with excelsior and cotton batting.  He also still needs to have his paws trimmed and his claws embroidered.  He does have ears -- but, they don't show well from the angle I shot the photo.

w.i.p. kitty

And here is a sweet little kitty made of a sparse, matted German Helmbold mohair.  I hand painted her glass eyes, and she is waiting for them to be sewn in (and have her head jointed to the body!)  Her tail will be wired and sewn on also and her claws embroidered.  Her arms are wired for holding things and her ears are hand-shaded wool felt.

Luscious, Luscious Mohair

mohair on shelf

Mohair -- I love the stuff!  It's the fleece from Angora goats, sheared like sheep's wool.  In another life, it was my favorite fiber for spinning, my favorite hair for dolls, and now I use mohair fabric for my bears and critters.  It is soft, fluffy, stiff, matted, long, short, curly, straight, dense, sparse.  Like most bear artists, I have a stash of it. (A big stash)  I have found that it's not the easiest thing to store, as the fabric is wide, takes on creases where it is folded, and has a pile that I don't want to crush.  My mohair is stored on a shelf in my studio closet, each piece rolled (nap outward) into a tube.

mohair spread out on floor

When I go to select a piece of mohair for a project, I usually have an image in my mind of what I want to make and have sketched a drawing for reference.  I go into my studio closet and start pulling out pieces I think might work well for the design.  Soon the floor is covered in various shades of mohair.  Then I take 3 to 4 pieces to my work table where I play with and manipulate them into semblences of  three- dimensional shapes.  I want to see how they react to being curved and bent, how the pile moves and changes, and if the base fabric is visible when the fabric is curved, do I like the effect.   I pick one, but the others may be tucked into the back of my mind as possibilities for future projects.

mohair with sketch

You can read more about mohair here and here.

Hello and Welcome:

studio window

Monday -- The sun is streaming into my studio this morning from the little semicurcular window high on the wall of my studio.  We've had snow on the ground since November.  A sunny day will be so nice.

snowy front yard

I’ve been working on an eBay template through robshelp.com, a great site with tutorials, pre-designed templates, and lots of help with customizing your own eBay templates.   Between robshelp, an online course on “Web Design for Artists” at EbearZ University, and a few very helpful books Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to (X)HTML, StyleSheets, and Web Graphics by Jennifer Niederst Robbins and The Principles of Beautiful Web Design by Jason Beaird, the way internet pages and web graphics work is slowly starting to make some sense to me.

Jennifer Robbins' book takes you step-by-step through making a very simple web page and gradually introduces new concepts.  There are exercises in each chapter, so it really feels like a class.  So far, it is going at an easy enough pace that it is making sense even to me.  Jason's Beaird's book covers all aspects of web design including layout, color, images and text.

Sylviee and Dolly artist bear with companion

Sylvie and Dolly are now listed on eBay.  She is a whimsical little mohair bear who comes with Dolly, a needfelted companion.    She is 7 1/2" tall and has a silk dress and silk embroidered undies.  I really enjoyed working on all the details -- the hand-shading, embroidery, silk ribbon flower, etc.  You can visit her listing here.