The Art of Teddy Bear Making
Crafting a teddy bear is an art, and crafting a sheepskin teddy bear requires talent. Many visitors to the store reflect on the teddy bears they have created from fabrics such as synthetic fur, but also velour, denim, cotton, satin, and canvas.
Our sewers are all very talented, taking time and care with every bear they make. Sheepskin is not the most flexible material to handle, and we do aim to purchase the softest handling wool, but also the softest skins for the sewers to handle. Tambo Teddies Basil, Toby and Tom Thumb bears are each made from nineteen pieces sewn together. They are sewn on the inside and then turned out, and this is where it is tricky using such a strong material such as sheepskin. As you can possibly imagine, turning out a little bear such as a Tom Thumb is a bit challenging. To make a Tom Thumb we use the softest, shortest skins we can find. Better for the sewers as the skin is soft and stretchy – BUT – this presents further challenges for the cutters. Stretchy skins are not much fun to cut-out with either a Stanley knife or snippers!
All of our sheepskin products are sewn on our specialist machines which are called cup-seam overlockers or fur-machines. Unlike a conventional sewing machine, cup-seamers work in a circular motion. The parts of the bear are held up to the needle and arm section not sewn on a flat base. As the machine whirrs around the circle, it doesn’t sew too far before the sewer stops and flips it over and sews back over the seam. Every seam in a Tambo Teddy is double stitched making sure our bears are very well made and strong.
Once the body and the head sections are completed, they are turned inside out with a specialist tool (either a g-clamp or a wooden spoon). The head and body are joined, and the body is stuffed, again using the specialised tool, the wooden spoon. Once stuffed to the desired softness, the back of the neck is stitched together by hand.
Tambo Teddies are made by our team of sewers in Tambo and Toowoomba, the majority of our craftmanship does occur in Toowoomba as we only currently have one part-time sewer in Tambo. But our sewing team is dedicated groups of artisans who all ensure all our bears are exceedingly well made and of the highest quality. Proof of the fact is the number of Tambo Teds all our sewers own!
Once the bears are made, this is not the end of the process, however. Each bear is trimmed around his nose and eyes, to make sure they can see you and catch your eye! Trimming a bears woolly eyes is an art form all of its own. Once trimmed to perfection, each bear is ribboned around the neck and given his or her own name.
Ready to leave our workshop and to join your family!