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Black panther sitting on its pattern

The Little Big Cats are “teddy bear friends,” which is the clunky term for any jointed animal doll that isn’t a literal bear. The techniques for making the Black Panther are very similar to those of Flower Bear. The exceptions are the tail, the neck joint, and the front paw pads.

Tail-stuffing tricks

It’s tough to use conventional stuffing in a long, skinny tail without it coming out lumpy. There’s a neat product over in the home-dec section of a fabric store, which is long ropes of cotton batting enclosed in webbing. It’s used for things like piping on furniture and pillows, and it comes in a wide variety of sizes. You can find it by the yard or in pre-packaged lengths; if the former, take a lesson from what the clerk does when cutting it. They’ll measure out your length, wrap some tape around it at that point, and cut in the middle of the tape. If you don’t tape it, or tie it off, it’ll fray into nothing. For the end that goes into the tail tip, tie it with thread and cut it off above that.

There are other options - roll up a narrow rectangle of fleece or felt, or use thick yarn.

The neck joint

Big cats have muscular necks, so instead of a gathered head base and a round top seam, the Little Big Cats have an inset fabric disk at the joint. It’s just a little larger than the joint disk size, so when the joint is assembled the body and head contours are continuous.

The paw pads

Both the front and back paws have inset paw pads. The shape is a little unconventional, but they work just like regular teddy bear feet. When the main arm/leg pieces are sewn together, if the top seam is opened out flat you’ll be able to see how the paw pad fits in. (Next time I make an LBC, I’ll take a picture of the paw wrong-side-out to help with this.)

The pattern

As with Flower Bear, the instructions are a work in progress and assume you’re using a more complete bear-making reference as well. I also am fighting some technical hiccups - some of the step-by-step diagrams aren’t being exported into the PDF. Nothing vital is missing, but I’ll upload a fixed version when I can.

Little Big Cat Black Panther Instructions and Pattern (pdf)

Reminder: the Flower Bear drawing is October 1, 2018, so if you don’t want to make your own, sign up!


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