Friday, August 16, 2013


Meet Earl.

A couple of months ago, my dear friend, Blake, brought me an old seat cover from his dad's pickup truck, and asked if I could make a teddy bear out of it for his sister, Tracy, for her birthday.  You see, Tracy had spent countless hours driving their dad around their farms when he wasn't able to drive any longer.  Where Blake got the notion to make that seat cover into a bear, I'm not sure, but I think it was a pretty good idea.

 This bear was not exactly a piece of cake -- the fabric was very stiff, very old and pretty dusty with an odd rubbery coating on the back.  But I was afraid to wash it for fear it might just fall apart.  So I gave it a good shake outside and a couple of whacks on the bushes and started in.

I found a pattern here, at HowJoyful.  The pattern is free, but as she states in the blog post, it helps to have some sewing skills if you tackle this project.  (If you make this bear, just remember to match the letters on the pattern pieces -- this will make everything much clearer, especially for the odd-shaped leg and arm pieces which don't seem to make much sense until you sew them together!).  She made her adorable example bear out of nice soft fleece -- an old stiff truck seat cover is not quite as easy to work with.  I did a lot of clipping on the curves to try to get nice rounded edges, especially in the ears.

 I love the sculpted mouth -- it makes him look so happy.

The nose is from some wool felt roving I had in the closet, and the eyes are two buttons from my mom's button box (naturally.  She has been gone 15 years, and I still never have to buy a button.  Thanks, mom.)  I made the tie out of some burlap ribbon -- I needed something to hide the seam between his head and body, which was a real bear to sew by hand.  Ha!

I forgot to measure him, but I think Earl is about 15" tall, from bottom to ears.  If you cut carefully, I think you could probably get all his pieces from a yard of material.  Earl took a lot of fluff, and I packed it in to smooth out all his edges -- you wouldn't need quite so much fluff with a fleece or other soft cloth version.

 I loved making Earl, and while sewing him, I thought about friendship, family and dads.  I hope Tracy loves him, too, and finds happy memories in his smile -- happy memories of her dad, the original Earl.  I hope she puts him in the truck and takes him for a little ride.  Just because.

I wish I had something special of my dad's to make a happy bear from, so he could sit in my work room with me as a symbol of the love, encouragement and butt kicking I regularly got from him.  (He'd say, "Georgie,  You can do anything you set your mind to.  Now get your ass up off that couch and get busy.")

I might just have to make a trip to the Goodwill to find some old overalls.  Because everyone needs a little Earl now and then, don't they?


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