Last month a couple I recently met volunteering at the Great Plains Renaissance Festival had a baby girl. I haven't known this couple very long, but from what I gathered they had been trying for a baby for quite a while. They named their lovely new addition an equally beautiful name drawn from a sci-fi TV show, of course. ;)
They're also well-known among the festival regulars and are expecting the possibility of the presentation of a few gifts this fall. I wasn't planning on giving anything since we're not close friends, but then I remembered an "extra" teddy bear I had lying around.
A couple of years ago the Vermont Teddy Bear Co. started publicizing a charity program. Customers could buy a (slightly smaller than their flagship bear) unjointed soft bear and the company would donate a bear to their local police and first responder organizations to give to children in trauma situations. The bear is covered by their awesome lifetime repair/replacement policy, and is safe for all ages.
A great bear for a great cause, but mine was collecting dust.
Here's a screenshot from the website, with the t-shirt the bear comes dressed in.
The first thing to do was create a pattern for the dress. I had in mind a pink, one-of-a-kind version the company made last Valentine's Day for a charity auction. I saw it scrolling down my Facebook feed, saved it to Pinterest, and actually remembered it when it came time for this bear dress.
I had remembered from trying my hand at a dress for a stuffed elephant that the proportions for bears and elephants are different than (most) humans so I started with a paper pattern. However, this wasn't "squishy" enough, so I switched to fabric. After extra careful measuring, (you can tape more paper together, but fabric is a cut once sort of thing) I had a basic pattern basted together.
I decided to use silk, because this IS for a princess after all! The green silk came from scraps of Dupioni curtain material I have had since college days. After cutting out the dress there still more left for...something...someday. ;) I honestly don't remember when I got the white Dupioni silk, but it must have been in the last five years or so.
Anyway, I took apart the basted cotton dress for a pattern (with a few necessary changes) and it turned out pretty good! I only had to take apart one sleeve that I sewed wrong, which I count as a success. The inside skirt seams are just sewn down on the seam allowance, but the bodice is fully lined.
There was a LOT more trim to add, however. It took a couple of evenings in the easy chair with YouTube videos playing nearby, but I love how it turned out!
Not a bit of it was purchased. I have 3 grandmas' worth of ribbon, fabric, and notions scraps, including two boxes of partially used spools of thread. (A grandma's worth is a legit measure of sewing supplies, right?) It will be years before I even make a dent, but I love being able to use it on projects like this! I even got to sneak in some rick rack. I love that stuff, even though it can't be used in very many situations. Can you see it below on the dress?
Isn't the back adorable? A princess just has to have a train on her dress, and this one serves double duty to hide the back seam. I considered velcro closure, but went with a couple snaps. The hat is held on the bear's head with a thin string of elastic cord.
There is also a fully white underskirt with green trim (the same that's around her hat and at the bottom of the train) but that was a bit of a vanity addition. You can't see it in the pictures. It does add to the fullness of the skirt though.
I think the icing on the cake of this lovely gift is the box I found to put the bear in.
The library I work at recently purchased some replacement copies of classic books. It was cheaper to purchase a box set than individual titles in one case, and the awesome hardback set came in this very sturdy box, complete with two opening sides with magnetic closure and a window! Since the set was originally all adventure books I covered the somewhat masculine decorated box with wrapping paper. That just came from the dollar store, but the inside matched perfectly!
I wonder what this little bear's name will be eventually? I haven't named her yet. And I fully expect that if the bear is played with that she'll go back in her t-shirt or just go "bear naked." ;)
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!