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Teddy-bear style black panther

What do you call a teddy bear that isn’t a bear? “Jointed plush” covers the on-all-fours type (which technically so does “teddy bear,” I guess), but “teddy-bear style big cat” is a mouthful.

Black panther face

Whatever you call it, that’s what this week’s brag is. I had hoped to get one of the unicorns or dragons done to show off in the first week, but I’m still figuring out some technical issues so that didn’t happen.

Black panther standing

The panther wasn’t without its technical issues either. I started with a spotted leopard from my old (2005-era?) pattern, and wasn’t happy with the bearishness of its head. I revised it to be more leopard-y, and changed the neck joint from a gathered base to inset disks.

Panther and leopard comparison

Somehow, though, I managed to not grab a pair of matching disks, so I put the body disk in, cranked the cotter pin down… and realized the body disk was visibly larger than the head disk. I’d already sewed the head seam closed, so I decided I would carefully re-straighten the cotter pin and reuse it. I cranked the cotter pin down again… and popped it right through the head disk and out.

Teddy bear joints

A traditional bear joint has a disk in the head/limb and a matching one in the body, and a cotter pin is threaded through a washer, disk, and fabric, then through the fabric/disk/washer on the other side, and bent into either a spiral or a “crown” joint to hold it. Those are two complete joints, plus the guilty party.

So I ended up opening the head seam anyway, put in a fresh cotter pin, and re-tightened the joint. And then realized that despite putting just the next size down in, this one was smaller. I inherited a bunch of hand-cut, mismatched disks from one of the ladies in the Wichita bearmaker guild, so apparently I put a non-standard one in. Oh well, smaller is better than larger here.

Black panther back

This isn’t quite the final pattern; somehow while focusing on getting the face shape right, I goofed up the neck joint so I had to adjust the body or it would be star-gazing. I’ll fix the neck in the final.

Watch for the free pattern, and pre-printed cut-and-sew versions, in a couple of weeks. And watch for Flower Bear’s pattern on Friday - are you signed up for the giveaway?

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