T-shirt Teddy

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My 96 year old grandfather passed away last month, and my mom and aunt saved me some of his clothes. I have been thinking about what to do with them, and I came up with the idea to make a teddy. I thought it would be nice for his children, grandchildren, and grandchildren to have something special to remember him by.
So, here are the pile of t-shirts I started with…

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I looked for a teddy bear pattern, but couldn’t find something i liked, so i decided to try out a design of my own. I started by sketching a teddy bear on newspaper…

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Then I cut apart all of the pieces…

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Then, I added about 1/4 inch seam allowance to all of the pieces by cutting a new piece, and leaving space around each side for the seams. Notice, I only cut one ear, arm and leg, as I will just cut 2 the same.

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To start sewing, I started with the ears, I tried a few things, but I ended up making them by sewing two ear centers together right sides in, then I turned them inside out and stitched them onto the outer ear.

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Then, I turned it right side out and stitched around the edge of the ear.

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Then, I cut out the rest of the pieces. I decided to stick with a few of his grey t-shirts. So, I just picked different shades for different pieces.

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I sewed the snout the same way as the ears, but first I sewed around the perimeter of a black piece of polar fleece, then, I sewed the right sides of the snout together, then turned them right sides out, pinned it on the face, and sewed it down. If I make this pattern again, I will try to make the snout a little three dimensional, so it is not so flat.

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Then, I added the eyes and nose that I bought from the dollar store. They both come in two pieces, the back just snaps on to the front. I and pinned the ears, and sewed across the neck to attach the body and pinned the head and bodies together. I also cut out a pocket from one of the shirts and sewed it on the bear’s belly. If you knew my grandfather, you would know that he never wore a shirt without a pocket. He spent his career working with wood and always needed a pencil or something to put in his pocket, so even after decades of retirement, it was non-negotiable that his shirts have a pocket. So, I thought it was appropriate that his teddy has a pocket too.

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The next step was to sew the arms and legs. So, right sides together, I sewed the perimeter of the arms and legs, leaving the ends open. Then I trimmed the seams, turned them right side out, and stuffed them.

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So, I would say the most challenging part was to put the whole thing together. I put the head and body right sides together, then pinned the arms and legs towards the center. Because they were already stuffed, it was tough…but I used lots of pins and sewed around the outside, and left it open at the side seam so that I could turn it right side out again.

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I clipped the seams , then turned it right side out. Don’t forget to clip at all of the curves and corners, this makes a big difference and makes all of the curves smoother.

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Then stuffed him and hand stitched the side seam closed…

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And here is Grampy Bear, all done!

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I still have lots of his shirts left, so stay tuned!

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