Research

Getting ready for my next toy idea

Shakesbear’s new outfit was a trial run for an idea I have been thinking about for a while – patterns for historically costumed teddy bears. I envision Elizabethan bears, Regency English bears, 18th century Versailles bears, Italian Renaissance bears, flapper bears and bears in 1940’s zoot suits (although that may need to be a hep cat instead).

Of course, since teddy bears come in a variety of shapes and sizes, I first need to design the bear itself to have a consistent model for the costumes. Hence, “The Book of Teddy Bear Making” to study up on the process. Heirloom quality teddy bears are an art unto themselves, with decisions about joint types (plastic safety joints versus hardboard and cotter pins), eyes (plastic vs glass vs shoebuttons), fur type, filling type, to add or not add a growler or music box, as well as the size and shape of the bear. I’m not planning to go full-on, heirloom bear with mohair fur and shoebutton eyes, but I do plan to give it jointed arms, legs and head.

The second book in the photo was a lucky find in the bargain section of my local Barnes and Noble. It’s a history of fashion (predominantly western and women’s ) from the 18th through the 20th century, illustrated with pieces from the Kyoto Costume Institute’s collection. It was originally published in 2002, so no 21st century pieces, but I’m set if I want a 1990’s Comme des Garcons bear. The cover photo is an 1885 piece by Worth.

I’ll be posting Work in Progress reports as I go, so stay tuned. And let me know in the comments if there is any particular era you would be interested in.

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