Stuffies: Three-dimensional, soft sculptured, creatures of all shapes and sizes

It’s very easy to feel sentimental about a soft sculpture created from fabric, buttons and jewelry that belongs to someone that you love. It’s even easier when the faces are sculpted to remind you of that person.

Ghost Bears

I have constructed a selection of different styles of, white, mock-up bears that come with the ability to reorganize all their body parts. My clients choose a head, body, arms and legs that most remind them of the person being memorialized. Ear size, shape and location, and the style of the nose, matters more than can be imagined. The rest is up to me.


I use the fabric that I’ve been given to work with, including the linings, buttons, embroideries, and often even the style of clothing to create a bear that suits my client’s wishes. The time taken to cut out a bear can be longer than the sewing time. “Fussy cutting“, a term used by quilters for placing pattern pieces in very exact spots, is absolutely necessary as spare fabric to play with is an unusual luxury. If the bear is being created to honour someone, I keep a photo of that person with me as a work. It amazes me how much a photograph tells me about someone.

I create the face of the bear with needle-sculpting, using photos as reference, to ensure there is a hint of the actual person in the face.

I have a collection of clothes and hat patterns I’ve adapted that will fit any standard sized bears as well. A clothing style that is particular to a client’s special wishes is always considered.

Other creatures, including doll shapes, are also possible. My goal is to make my client’s memories come alive in whatever form is best for them.

Bear Stories

Curtains is a bear made from a few old curtains. There was a great deal of “fussy cutting” involved in creating this piece.  Lining up stripes and making sure that pattern pieces were mirror imaged on the same flower contribute to the overall success of Curtains. My best compliment to date came when a complete stranger told me that Curtains reminded her of a friend. Turns out the friend was Curtain’s model.
Baby Polar Bear was created to match the quilt he’s sitting on. The challenge for me was to come up with a shape of bear that matched the drawing on the quilt itself. The hat and scarf are made from pieces of the leftover quilt fabric.
Four Faces of David is a series of bears created for a family. Each bear tells a different story about David. The fabrics I was given to work with are all incorporated into each of the bears so they all got a piece of each other’s story. The bears are dressed to remind their recipient of a particular shared story they had with David.
Jelly Bean, my studio bear, was inspired by my clippings jar and love of working with organza. By creating him from a see-through fabric like organza I was able to showcase his insides as well as his outsides. The stuffing is thread ends, bits of cloth and some beads. He makes me smile.

Gardenia, a community bear, was created from used garden gloves. She was designed to be used as a fundraiser. I really enjoyed the adventure of creating this bear for the community from materials collected by the community.
Ted done twice, started as a Royal Canadian Air Force uniform from WWII. His hat, created from some pencil sketches found on line, is authentic to the spirit of the original Wedge Cap. It opens up to reveal a chin strap and ear covers.

Other Animals and their friends

Not everyone wants a bear. I have patterns for a whole host of other animals as well. In fact, I even have some patterns for bugs and fish. In these matters my clients have the final say.

Donna’s Three, cloth from grandparents, memories of childhood adventures and very different personalities were used to recreate a set of Stuffies for this family. Photos of the original Stuffies were provided for reference.
Bucket Head Kittens with their toy balls are made from the three receiving blankets of three brothers. The balls are a mix of all three blankets. One of the brothers was nicknamed “Bucket Head” because when he was young he wouldn’t leave the house without a bucket on his head. In the piece a yogurt tub was used for the bucket.
Walt Cat was made from Walt’s shirt.  Apparently Walt’s niece (a cat lover) and Walt had a very different opinion about cats. She had me create some cats so she could have the last say in the matter. These two kitties had their own idea about that. They proved unusually hard to put together. It always amazes me when a strong-willed person whose life is being honoured manages to make their wishes known beyond the grave.

The next four creations were made from a housecoat, a sweat shirt, and a blouse that belonged to my client’s beloved mother. The bear, fairy, kitty and koala all have a bit of each article of clothing in them! All of them are so individual even though they share the same beginnings.

Little Kitty, a gift for the family cat lover featuring the blouse.
Cook, is using a spatula. Mom was an excellent cook who wrote her own cookbook for her friends and family. She is featuring the housecoat I was given to work with.
Annabelle is the main character in a story written for the little girl who received this fairy. She was inspired by the works of Australian storyteller May Gibbs.
Koala, a bear from down under, has her tummy and paws made from the floral sweat shirt. She was flown to Australia to take up residence with her new family.
Butterfly in a Box, a hand embroidered table cloth was turned into a butterfly for a family business which uses butterflies as part of their logo.

Contact me about having your beloveds fabric turned into a new keepsake.

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