Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Bed for Buddy Bear

SHB#2's favorite things right now are the colors pink and purple, flowers, butterflies, ladybugs, and taking care of her best friend, i.e. a stuffed bear almost as big as she is, named Buddy Bear. I'm not really sure how this happened, because I have most definitely not been pushing her toward (if anything, I've been pushing away from) stereotypically feminine colors or iconography or expectations for future childcare responsibilities. She does also enjoy large trucks and construction vehicles and Star Wars, but I'm trying to be a good feminist by not only not pushing her toward traditional feminism, but also not looking down on those interests if that's what she honestly enjoys. To that end, February's Kraft-tex project was for her.

When I got the February's Kraft-tex color of the month package, Orchid, SHB#2 immediately claimed it as her own: "Oh, eet's poh-poh! Eet's my favorite!" (i.e. it's purple: I love the way her toddler self pronounces things.) She's also been wanting a bed for Buddy Bear; ever since starting preschool she's been wanting to reenact her day with her bear: feeding it breakfast, doing circle time, teaching it songs, taking it to the potty, and putting it down for a nap. That last one is tricky since it's been established that the stuffed animal bed is a dog bed that's in SHB#1's room, but most of the time we need to leave the door to his room closed lest she destroy his Lego builds, so she could really use her own stuffed animal bed. I figured the size of a Kraft-tex sheet (18.5" x 28.5") was about the right size for a very shallow tray that would look more or less like the dog bed, since in SHB#2's mind, that is what stuffed animal beds look like.

With a little pillow because I had some scrap muslin and batting. 

Since I still haven't taken my machine in for servicing (hello, #onepersoncostumeshop season), I knew I wouldn't be able to do anything that involves joining two layers of Kraft-tex together without getting unsightly gaping or weird stitch tension issues, and ideally I wanted to be able to flatten the bed and potentially harvest the Kraftex after she gets over this stage of play, so I thought for a long time about how to make a tray that fit those parameters. I ended up lining the Kraft-tex with a piece of flannel (pink, with ponies and butterflies and flowers, per her choice from my stash) and then doing some experimental folding to get it vaguely tray-like. Once I figured out how I wanted to fold the corners, I creased all my fold lines with a hera marker, then used those lines as guides for stitching. I also made two channels along the long edges so that I could insert large cable ties (leftover from corset-making) to help keep it from being quite so floppy. Then it was a simple matter of using my awl to punch holes in the ends and then threading some ribbon through to tie it all together. I was originally going to insert grommets for sturdier and more photogenic ribbon holes, but TBH my customer did not care and has already claimed the bed for use, so maybe I'll go back and insert them later. But probably not.

So much pink and purple. I just folded over the edges of the flannel and zigzagged all the way around the edges. It's not the prettiest but it's functional and I think actual bias binding would have been too thick for all the folding. 

Here's a diagram showing how I did my folds and stitches and holes. The corner squares are 4" x 4", and all the lines inside the rectangle represent stitch lines where I sewed the flannel and Kraftex layers together. In addition to stitching, the dashed lines represent valley folds and the dotted lines represent mountain folds; the dash-dot lines that were NOT folded are my additional lines of stitching for the cable tie channels. Lastly, the circles mark where I put my ribbon holes. I punched these with my awl through all three layers at once when the entire thing was folded up (with WonderClips to hold the edges in place) so that I could be sure they would line up with each other properly. The final tray is just the right size for Buddy Bear, but still leaves a large flat portion of Kraft-tex in the middle that can be reclaimed and reused when SHB#2 no longer needs it as a bed. The ribbons also make it so the bed can be "taken apart" and flattened should it need to be stored away.
I feel like the SAT Math test, having to post a disclaimer that this diagram is not to scale. 

Perfect size for Buddy Bear (who, in case you want to know, is from Target's Cat and Jack kids' bedroom line).

All tucked in!

Of course, most people don't need very shallow tray beds to fit this very specific bear, but you could use this same principle to make a different sized tray depending on your needs, and maybe you'll actually take the time to put in nice grommets!

[Note: C&T Publishing provided the Kraft-tex for this project.]


  1. clever idea- and can be flattened for storage or taking to grammas! thank you for your genius! quick sewing project.

  2. Oh, such a beautiful blog. I love your blog images, I wish I'd thought of that. I also love the article that you've chosen, thanks.logo digitizing


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