Postcrossing Teddybear

For the last 5 years I’ve been involved in a thing called Postcrossing. This is a postcard exchange project where you send a postcard to a random member, and when it arrives your own address goes to someone else to send you a postcard. I’ve sent over 1,400 cards to date, and of course have received as many back. It’s a lot of fun if you’re a snail mail person, a postcard person or just a “spreading random cheer” person! The project itself has just turned 8 years old and the Postcrossing Team ran a small contest asking people to celebrate Postcrossing creatively. So, of course, I did. May I present to you Mr Postcrossing Bear (not the snappiest name in the world, granted)
Mr Postcrossing BearThe Postcrossing colours are red and blue (which I’ve always assumed is from the old Air Mail envelopes, but I might be wrong), so Mr P. Bear here is done in  both. I wondered for a while about doing each section in different colours (so each arm would be both red and blue, for example) but then decided it would look neater just split down the middle. The seams match pretty well, though you can see the snout twisted a little bit in stuffing. This is an easy technique – you join your two fabrics together, then cut the pattern piece from the joined fabric, placing the colour change where ever you like.

Bow Tie

To stick with the Postcrossing theme, his bow tie is printed with a scattering of postcards, and includes the Postcrossing Logo. His belly, foot pads and inner ears are printed with postmarks and vintage writing. These bits were all done with printable fabric, which is fabric you can feed through an inkjet printer. It’s nifty stuff and produces quite a good print, but can be fiddly to work with (or at least the stuff I used is). It’s an openish weave, so it frays easily and it’s very thin so the belly is actually  backed with more fleece so the stuffing wouldn’t show (and to make him squishier – I like a squishy bear).

Very pointy darts

The fabric, though thin, is not really made for shaped work and you can see here the leg darts are a lot pointer than they should be. Part of this might be the fleece behind it, but I don’t feel like the printed fabric shapes well. It’s really designed for adding panels to quilts, bags and clothes. It works well enough.

Anyway, Mr Postcrossing Bear has won me a little something from the contest, so pointy darts be damned, I’m pleased with him. I don’t know what I’ve won, I’m presuming it’s postcards. Lots of very creative people did some awesome stuff, you can see a slideshow of the entries at the Postcrossing Blog.

The pattern I used for this bear is from The Funky Friends Factory. Designed by Pauline McArthur in Queensland, Australia, Funky Friends patterns are an absolute joy to sew. The patterns come with clear, step by step instructions which make them a breeze to complete, and the designs are entirely adorable. This bear is “Izzy Insomniac” from the instant downloads section.

Batscarf

My fiancé is, if I’m honest, a bit of a nerd. He’s pretty into Batman also. So much so that I am not permitted to mention Shark Repellent Spray, which is a shame because I personally think that is the best thing that ever happened in Batman. He’s also pretty keen on sending me links to handmade nerdy stuff which he then makes sad puppy eyes about. I promise to make him one and then never do, because I am a terrible person.

To make it up to him, and also to keep his neck warm, for Christmas this year I made him a Batscarf. Not so terrible afterall!
Batsignal

I haven’t done a proper tutorial, because it wasn’t that complicated really and any crafty types out there can figure it out. Starting at the top, we have the Batsignal, which is made of felt. The yellow felt is on top of the black because it was easier to place the logo correctly like that. It’s blanket stitched around the signal, and while I did plan to blanket stitch the actual signal onto the scarf, it turns out I’m quite lazy and used the machine. So lazy, so quick!

City Skyline

The city skyline is, I think, Singapore somewhere. It’s another layer of fleece over the dark blue, machine stitched around and then cut out – so much easier than pinning little skinny buildings down and then having the machine eat the fleece halfway along. The windows are more felt. These are hand stitched on because the machine, as I just mentioned a second ago, eats little things. To be honest, I was going to skip the city lights, but I’m glad I didn’t – it looks so much better “lit up”

Batman

At the bottom, to break up all the black and balance the design (good lord that sounded good, I’m writing that down on a piece of paper to use again) I put in an outline of Batman himself. I like to think he’s gazing out over the city, about to respond to the call of the signal. Or he could have his back to the city, but also  have his eyes closed. Works both ways.

To hide the back of the stitching, the whole thing is backed with black fleece and then topstitched around the edges, which was a bitch to do on the three layers at the bottom, but worth it. I like the border effect.

Whole ScarfI’ve thumbnailed the last shot as it’s long, and also I know you like to click things. The whole thing is just over 5 feet long, and hopefully will keep the chap warm in the face of the Chicago winter, which is very snowfilled because it’s ridiculous.