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Compare the Bears!

Aug 23, 2021 | A day in my life, Blog

Not sure which bear to make?
Which teddy bear is easiest to sew?
Which FFF bear pattern is the BEST?

These are questions I get asked A LOT and I guess it’s like asking a mother which child is her favourite child – it’s impossible to choose because

they’re ALL different!

So here’s a rundown of differences between the Funky Friends Factory bear patterns:

  1. Honey Teddy
  2. Calico Signature Bear
  3. Panda Ning
  4. Preston Polar Bear
  5. Izzy Insomniac Bear
  6. Kawaii Teddy Bear
  7. Melody Memory Bear
  8. Keep Me Keepsake Bear

Compare-the-Bears

 

Choosing the BEST teddy bear pattern means picking the one that’s best for YOU!

This will depend on your sewing experience and other factors, such as whether you need a baby-safe toy, and the purpose of the bear (memory keepsake, general play use, personalized gift, etc).  If you’ve never sewn a bear, you can start with Honey Teddy because you can get the pattern for free (see how below!).

 

1. Honey Teddy

Size: 13″/33cm (in length).

Meet - Introducing FREE Teddy Bear Pattern

 

Here is a pic of me holding Honey Teddy so you can get an idea of her actual size.

 

This was the first Teddy Bear Pattern I designed back in 2005…. wow, that feels like another lifetime!

Honey Teddy is a good bear to start with because you can get the pattern for FREE – if you sign up for the Funky Friends Factory Newsletter and I will send you this pattern as a thank you gift!  She also comes with a video to give you a quick overview of how she comes together. You’ll learn how to properly sew a snout with opposing curves, which you’ll want to know for (Keepsake Bear, Izzy, Panda Ning and Preston Polar Bear). I designed Honey Teddy to be lying on her tummy, with her ‘cute little bottom’ in the air, because I hadn’t seen a pattern like that before… so she does not sit up like other teddy bears! Her “floppy” arms and legs are sewn “in the seam,” which is the easiest attachment method for beginners and makes them BABY-SAFE. Honey is a small-ish bear which makes her a great toy for fitting into a shoe box for the  Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child. Some first-time toy sewers find her easier to sew if you scale the pattern up to 120%. Honey was designed as a toy for a baby, so she’s a smaller scale than the other bears and can be TOTALLY BABY-SAFE if you embroider the features or use felt for her eyes and nose. 

*** Click on the image below to see the video. ***

 

 

2. Calico Signature Bear

Size: 12″/30cm (sitting) and 16″/40cm (standing).

Meet Calico Signature Bear

 

Here is a pic of me holding Calico Bear so you can get an idea of her actual size.

Calico Signature Bear has been a popular “classic” bear for many years! Calico has large pattern pieces that most beginners find easy to manage but he is button-jointed, which some people find takes a bit of practice. I think it’s a bit of a balancing  act to hold the arms and legs in place as you attach them. It’s important to get his limbs tight enough (this often depends on what type of thread or needles you use to do the jointing) but the jointing process itself is simple (there’s a blog post on jointing if you need more pictures HERE ). Due to the joints he is NOT baby-safe. He’s a big bear and popular for making memory bears, keepsakes, and signature toys.

 

3. Panda Bear Ning

Size: 10″/26cm (sitting).

 

Here is a pic of me holding Panda Ning so you can get an idea of her actual size.

Panda-Bear-Ning---compare-the-bear-patterns

Panda Ning is looking up at you and asking for hugs! There’s a removable baby bottle included in the pattern for nurturing play and Ning has BABY-SAFE (not jointed) arms and legs and her face is BABY-SAFE too because her face is done with felt. Ning is a sitting bear like Melody with legs “fixed” in place, but her arms are “floppy” and easily sewn in the neck seam like Keepsake Bear. If you want to try both techniques in one pattern, this bear will work for you. Ning’s face has a defined circular “snout” like Izzy, Keepsake Bear and Honey Teddy (you can watch the free Honey Teddy video to learn how to sew a snout like this if it’s new to you). This funky panda doesn’t have to be confined to just black and white fabrics: pick two coordinating colors for contrast, two shades of the same color for a hip tone-on-tone look, or even substitute a tiny patterned print instead of the white.

 

 

4. Preston Polar Bear

Size: 10″/25cm (sitting) and 15″/38cm (standing).

Preston Polar Bear sewing pattern

 

Here is a pic of me holding Preston Polar Bear so you can get an idea of his actual size… he has “sewn in legs” that can swing down, so he can sit and stand.

Preston-Polar-Bear---compare-the-bear-sewing-patterns

Preston Polar Bear has BABY-SAFE (not jointed) arms and legs and can sit in an upright position like Melody or Panda Ning, but all his limbs are “floppy” like Izzy or Keepsake Bear and easily sewn “in the seam.” This construction method makes his limbs easier than Melody for some people, and the unusual orientation of the limbs in this pattern give it lots of fun movement. Preston’s long snouty nose shape is unique among the bears and a great space (along with his ears) for adding a fun color contrast fabric. (You can use the free Honey Teddy video linked above to learn how to sew the circular end of Preston’s nose.) With his chubby body and upright stance, Preston is very huggable and works well as a “bedtime” toy for kids to sleep with at night. Don’t forget to tie on his fleece scarf so he’s warm. Preston can be TOTALLY BABY-SAFE if you embroider his eyes and remove his scarf.

 

5. Izzy Insomniac Bear

Size: 8½”/22cm (sitting) and 15″/38cm (standing).

Izzy Insomniac Teddy Bear

 

Here is a pic of me holding Izzy Insomniac (AND Sleepy Sheepie) so you can get an idea of her actual size.

Izzy-Insomniac-compare-the-bear-sewing-patterns

Izzy Insomniac Bear also has BABY-SAFE (not jointed) arms and legs. Her fun “floppy” limbs are sewn “in the seam” like Keepsake Bear. You can make Izzy TOTALLY BABY-SAFE if you embroider the features or use felt for her eyes and nose. Personally, I think she has a vintage bear look (from the 1940s maybe?) and is very huggable. Izzy has fewer pieces overall than Melody and Keepsake Bear and thinner limbs. She is a thinner bear overall and smaller than the bears listed above. Since she’s often up late, she comes equipped with patterns for a blankie and “sleepy sheep” friend (find an extra KNITTED version of the Sleepy Sheep pattern HERE) .

 

6. Kawaii Kuties Easy Teddy Bear

Size: 12″ / 31cm (standing).

Kawaii Kuties EASY Teddy Bear

 

I don’t have a pic of me holding the Kawaii Teddy Bear BUT here is a pic of my cat disrupting the Kawaii toys photo shoot so you can get an idea of their size! LOL 

This cute little Kawaii Teddy Bear was inspired by a trip to Japan. I designed a whole range of Kawaii Animals with over-sized heads, tiny bodies and large eyes to create a typical “kawaii” face. This is an easy pattern because the toy is flat (2 dimensional, like a pillow). It is a perfect first toy sewing project for a beginner because it’s  QUICK and FUN to make and a lot of sewing teachers tell me its a great pattern for kids learning to sew. The Kawaii Teddy Bear can be TOTALLY BABY-SAFE if you don’t use safety pin for the diaper/nappy!

 

7. Melody Memory Bear

Size: 12″ / 31cm (sitting).

Melody Memory Bear Pattern

 

Here is a pic of me holding Melody (x 2) so you can get an idea of her actual size.

Melody Memory Bear - compare the bear patterns

Melody Memory Bear is VERY popular. Unlike the mobile, jointed  limbs of Calico Bear, Melody has arms and legs “fixed” in place so she stays in a seated position. Some people find her arms a challenge on a first attempt, but others have no problem with her on a first sew. Melody has BABY-SAFE (not jointed) arms and legs and you can make her TOTALLY BABY-SAFE if you embroider the features or use felt for her eyes and nose. This pattern contains information about using interfacing, as Melody was designed to showcase multiple fabrics as a memory bear or keepsake bear. She’s a large bear!

 

8. Keep Me Keepsake Bear

Size: 12″/30cm(sitting) and 18″/45cm (standing).

Meet the new Keep Me KEEPSAKE Bear Pattern

 

Here is a pic of me holding the final prototype  (No. 10!!!!) of the Keep Me Keepsake Bear so you can get an idea of her actual size.

Keepsake Bear Pattern finished

 

The “Keep Me” Keepsake Bear was designed especially for personalization and in response to design requests from keepsake makers. Her “floppy” yet BABY-SAFE limbs make her a compromise between Calico and Melody. She has arms and legs sewn “in the seam” to make them easier to sew for those that find Melody’s arms a challenge – or if you just want a floppy limbs look! You can make her TOTALLY BABY-SAFE if you embroider the features or use felt for her eyes and nose. The single piece front tummy panel is great for embroidered details or showing off a special piece of fabric or part of a garment for a keepsake bear(memory bear) but it is rounded, so you’ll need to practice sewing curves if you’re used to straight piecing only… but most stuffed animal patterns will require curves 😊. I’ve not heard anyone say Keepsake Bear was a difficult sew. I designed certain parts of the bear especially for personalization via embroidery machine or heat transfer vinyl (HTV, as cut with a Cricut or similar machine): with large flat areas on the footpads, arms, and tummy inset panel. The pattern even shows you exactly where to place/center a standard 4 in/10 cm embroidery machine hoop on these pieces so there’s no guessing needed. The sides of the bear can also be embroidered. Like Melody, this pattern contains information about interfacing clothing fabrics. People are generally surprised at how large the Keepsake Bear is, standing at 45cm/18 inches (the height of an American Girls doll or similar doll).

 

Well…
have you picked a favorite?

 

Hopefully this will help you to decide which Bear is BEST for YOU!

Whichever bear you choose, remember to sew a “test” bear before using expensive fabrics or precious pieces of clothing! You can’t go wrong if you transfer ALL the pattern markings and letters to the fabric before you begin sewing…. take it slow and ENJOY the process!

If you’ve never sewn a toy before, I suggest you sign up for my FREE course, Toy-making Made Easy. You’ll get a free pattern to make Plattie Platypus (my favorite easy pattern for teaching people how to sew toys) and learn all you need to know to get started sewing toys!

Which FFF bear do YOU like best?

Pauline McArthur - Funky Friends Factory. .

Till next time, Happy sewing!
xxx
Pauline

62 Comments

  1. LINDA PICKARD

    For personal reasons, my favorite Bear is Calico we have 9 of her as memory Bears They are all made with parts of my Mums Tartan skirts. But there are many of yur patterns that i like

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Thanks Linda. I can tell your Calico’s are very precious! 🙂

      Reply
    • Angela Edwards

      I love the Calico bear 💕 I find it really easy to make and every single one is different

      Reply
      • Pauline

        Thanks Angela!!! 💕

        Reply
  2. Linda Robinson

    Number 1. Honey Bear. Would be good if it came in a number of sizes though. My friend made it for me as a memory bear from my husbands favourite jacket and shirt at about twice the size so he now lays on the bed. Thankful for my friend as I am not clever enough to upsize things.

    Reply
      • Rhonda

        I agree I need to make a few memory bears I never made a toy before still cant decide the easiest agghh

        Reply
  3. Shirley Lohman

    What a nice comparison of all the bears. It’s still impossible to choose! Guess I’ll have to get them all. 😊

    Reply
    • Pauline

      One at a time! LOL

      Reply
  4. Anna

    Honey bear 🐻

    I first made Honey bear 11 years ago for my first grandchild and who has been with him on all of his adventures and mischief since he was born.

    I have since then made Honey bear 6 more times for grandkids and friends baby’s.

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Wow,so cool that he has had his Honey along for the ride!!! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Vicki W

    This comparison is great! I think I will start with Honey Bear for a baby gift. So far I seem to be a pattern collector! Thank you for the comparison and the free pattern.

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Yes, please sew ALL the patterns you have collected!!! 😀

      Reply
  6. Valerie Topp

    Thank you for the info on the many bear pattens Pauline

    Reply
  7. Suzanne

    Thanks for this! It really helps clarify the differences so one can decide.

    Reply
  8. carol Spoerl

    I keep coming back to Izzy bear.

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Have to ask if you are also an insomniac? 🙂

      Reply
  9. Emily

    The Melody Memory bear is my favorite – I like the way the legs are attached. She is pretty big but I’ve had success printing the pattern at 85% of the original size for just a slightly smaller bear.
    I also really like the Keepsake Bear. 🙂

    Reply
  10. Amity Jones

    I found this very informative and learned about all of Pauline’s bears. Will definitely be trying the Keep Me Keepsake bear next! Thank you Pauline😊

    Reply
  11. Christine satnowski

    I think all the bears are darling it’s hard to pick just one. I have made the calico memory bear and it turned out absolutely beautiful I will pick another bear to make in the near future.

    Reply
  12. Charlene Jaeger

    I love Melody. I’ve made 2 already and need to start another as I have a new grand nephew arriving any day now. Next up is Calico and then Panda.

    Reply
  13. Jessica

    Melody memory bear keeps the memory of grandpa cherished for years to come. We love that bear!

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Hey Jessica, that’s so lovely!!! xxx

      Reply
  14. Lee

    I’ve sewn three FFF bears but Honey is hands down my favourite and always will be. My first FFF make of course but it was such an awesome feeling to successfully make a softie like that. I love the unique pose that makes Honey ideal for hugging or plopping on a pillow or shelf. Very adorable pattern Pauline!

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Thanks Lee! I still have my very first Honey and she is looking a bit tired but just as sweet! LOL

      Reply
  15. Fran Manning

    Your bears are very cute

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Thank you Fran!

      Reply
  16. Sue

    I really liked reading this – all the bears are adorable and it helps to visibly see how big they are once made up. Very helpful, thank you!

    Reply
  17. Beckyhjelm@gmail.ckn

    Pauline,
    I love the comparison and look forward to trying Preston in the future. My favorite beat is Honey. I have made several and I just think Honey is the sweetest.

    Reply
  18. Rosemary

    Izzy, Melody, Keepsake, Honey … I love them all!! I’ve made a couple and it’s like choosing a favorite child. Can’t be done!! Thank you, Pauline, for sharing this talent. I’ve made several of your fabulous critters … Kittens to dogs to bears!!

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Aw thanks Rosemary!

      Reply
  19. Linda M. Ward

    As soon as I saw Panda Ning, I knew he was my favorite because I had the urge to scoop him up and squeeze him!

    Reply
  20. Antje M.

    My favorite bear is Izzy, but Keep me keepsake bear is a close second. I love that the limbs are sewn into the seams and that they both can sit and lay down, a bit like dolls. They are also easier to dress and can wear diapers, which is very important around here, too.
    I definitely will try Preston next, he‘s simply adorable (and has non-jointed limbs).

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Bears in diapers – sounds too cute! 😀

      Reply
  21. Stephanie

    LOVE the comparison! I’m always trying to decide which one, so very useful, thanks! And I wasn’t aware of Preston Polar Bear … I’m so excited to see him!

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Thanks Stephanie! He was hiding away till I had a chance to rework him for quilting cottons! 😀

      Reply
      • Joanna Astbury

        A brilliant comparison with loads of useful information. I have been using Melody Bear for several years now to make memory bears, but I’m thinking of adding Keepsake Bear to my repertoire

        Reply
        • Pauline

          Thanks Joanna. It’s a bit like a family album.😁

          Reply
  22. Tammy

    I love all the bears but Melody is my favorite. I love being able to individualize each bear. It’s like they all have different personalities. I’ve probably used this pattern close to 100 times now

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Wow! So many bears – AWESOME!!!!

      Reply
  23. Marg

    Panda bear. He is cute, a great size and looks great to sew for mother daughter time together

    Reply
  24. Jane

    If I am making a gift for an adult I like Calico Bear. It takes more time to attach the arms and legs but when finished it sits well on a shelf. The buttons add a nice decorative touch. Thanks so much for all of your great patterns!

    Reply
  25. Valerie

    I’ve only ever made Honey Teddy Bear and love the size. All made from the leftover Fireside backing I used on the baby quilts that accompanied Honey. Felt eyes and noses on them. They are very easy to hug and carry when you have little hands. Thanks for the pattern.

    Reply
  26. andrea

    Melody Memory Bear

    Reply
  27. Nancy Carbajal

    HONEY BEAR….she’s one of the first stuffies I learned to sew! Thank you!! ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Hey Nancy! That’s so wonderful for me to hear! So glad I got you started sewing softies!!! ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

      Reply
  28. Judy

    I love #2, the calico is the best!

    Reply
  29. Bridget

    The keep me keepsake bear is my favorite! I love how the arms and legs are set. Who couldn’t resist such a fine bear!

    Reply
  30. Sue Gration

    I luv melody bear, l also shrunk the pattern to make her a bit smaller.

    Reply
  31. janet

    Izzy Insomniac Bear is my fav. It’s baby safe. Izzy comes with her best buddy too. They can nap together under the blankie.

    Reply
  32. Eva Garland

    I Love the Honey Teddy. So easy to make, and you explain it very well in the video, i make 2 infact,
    Beautiful and easy.
    Thanks Pauline.

    Reply
  33. Shirls Smith

    I have made many Calico Bears for when I am going to a celebration…..eg, a wedding, christening or a birthday.
    They are always such a success especially as I know they will never be thrown away due to all the messages signed on them.

    My favourite bear to make is the Melody Memory Bear that I make mainly for newborn children. He is so cuddly and is so cute and always love so much.

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Hey Shirls, ALL your bears are special BUT I have loved seeing your Signature Bear pics! 😀

      Reply
  34. Jenny

    Keep me Keepsake Bear & Honey Bear

    Reply
  35. christine hackney

    I think Keepsake Bear . It has floppy arms and legs for cuddling for smaller children.

    Reply
  36. Bette Lynn

    I like making Honey Teddy Bear. My granddaughters love to put the bear over their arm and carry it around. I sew a little red felt heart on it bum.

    Reply
  37. Beth Bennett

    They are all cute, but Melody Memory Bear is my favotite. I love making them for people that have had a loss. It means so much to them to get something they can hold, made with their loved one’s clothes.

    Reply
  38. Dana Moore

    Thank you for this comparison! It is extremely helpful. The pictures of you holding the bears is perfect to see the actual size.

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Hey Dana, Thank you!!! 🙂

      Reply
  39. Isabel Beukes from South Africa

    I love the Calico and Memory bears. They are not difficult to sew and the kids….as well as the adults…. luv them to. I made 5 memory bears for a dear friend whose husband passed away which she gave to her daughter and grandkids. The luv going to bed with grandad.

    Reply
    • Pauline

      Hey Isabel, those sound like some very special bears!!!

      Reply
  40. Marié Jansen van Rensburg

    Thanx

    Reply

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