The Problem with Ears

It’s like the Reign of Terror around here, only with teddy bears.

After six trials, I think I have the pattern for Madeleine’s head. It fixes the problem of a too long, too skinny snout that a couple of friends pointed out in previous versions, but it’s not too wide, as it was in trial number five. Here are some really bad photos to illustrate.

and too long

Original nose which was too skinny








Trial number 5 was too wide

although the length looked better






Trial six nose width

and length










So now I move on to the ears. As you can see, the first trial head has ears. I sewed those on by hand, but I want to incorporate the finished ears into a seam if possible. That’s because I’m planning to make patterns for hats as part of the bear’s historical era costumes, and I need to know that any slits I make to accommodate the ears will work for everyone who uses the patterns.

If I just say “sew the ears on where they look best,” I will have no idea where a pattern user will put them. Even if I mark the ear placement on the pattern, that won’t guarantee that they will end up in the same place as my model’s ears. And since I made the entire head gusset wider, I think the ears will be attached in part on the side of the head and in part across the side of the gusset. So I can’t just sew them into a slit in the side of the head with the front end of them in the gusset seam, which is what I was trying with head design number 1.

William Shakesbear has his ears sewn into a seam that runs up his neck, across his head, and down the other side. This meant that North American Bear Company could be sure that the flat cap would fit the same on all the Shakesbears they made. Shakesbear’s head is constructed with a one piece, separate snout and four additional pieces for his head (left and right front and back). Since Madeleine’s head has a central head gusset, that would make six pieces in total (left, right and center front and back). That seems like a lot of pattern pieces to me. And reconstructing the head to be like Shakesbear’s five pieces sends me back to the start of the process. Hence, the problem with ears.

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