Fixing up my teddy

(March 2008 – October 28, 2012)

I was reading week-end newspaper and happened on an image that totally blew me away. The eyes, the bottoms of its feet – that’s my bear! OMG, is that my bear? As you can see from the image on the right – it is perfectly preserved yellow bear from 1970s beginning. So mine would be now 40 years old…

I’m a great believer in patching, repatching, patching the repatch and repatching patches where the patches need repatching until in the end he’s grown a new skin. Teddy bears can go for years like that. It is one awesome bear who has gone through zillion fights, tea parties, doctor visits (with water injected to its veins) and few swimming lessons and flying attempts and and… you name it- the bear has done it. Such teddies have earned their right to be saved.

So, here we are. Meet Mõmmik. Mõmmik is one tough teddy, who has lived through my very active childhood. It was given to me and my sister (who later on had little right to touch it – kids as we were) by our uncle and if the information given to me is right, this teddy is reaching the age of 40 in the next few years.

Just for the warning, I usually refer to it as him, though I seem to dress it as her – no jokes on that matter, please. Estonian doesn’t have him or her, just one word for both, so I’m not used to referring him in any way. I just hate saying “it”, because this is one too special teddy.

sweety_week_1_by_astritn6.jpgAs you can see, the years haven’t been kind. Nor the rats or moths, which was one very bad surprise to me few years back, when I checked him up on the shelf. Now, with it sitting in a box for 7-8 years, I felt it was about time to do something with him before I watch him vanish for good. The arm was off already when I put it in there. Most of the fur is off (can’t really remember him having much of it in most time, but the stories told that when uncle had it, it did have some fur and blue ribbon around his neck, which I actually remember) and there are holes where the rats snacked a little for their nesting.

Also, the fabric itself was in truly bad shape, making me worry if I pulled a needle and thread through it, I might end up tearing it off for good. As shown on the picture on the right – I had repaired sweetie several times in the past. At the age of 12. With whatever I could get my hands on. So I went for the smallest needles I had and the most quality thread I could get my hands on.

Oh, the red fabric you see him on has value of it’s own – it’s one of my dresses from when I was three or four made by our aunt on a hand sewing machine. The teddy is about 50 cm (about 19 and a half inches) tall, so most of the baby dresses fit well if you make the bodice smaller and this red dress was one of the last thing he wore. Yup, sweety was in bad shape, but look at those red eyes – one had to see there was still life and hope.

Little did I know I embarked on a journey in 2008, that took me four long months of daily sewing and gentle recreating the fabric itself. When possible, I added new stuffing, where necessary, I wove the new skin. At some point I felt like archeologist, because of all the old threads and fillings I found from there. The coolest thing? I got the hands and legs moving again! They move! It’s been years since I managed to move them even enough to get it sit and now I can, which is marvelous result considering I was ready at some point in the beginning, when it all seemed very overwhelming, to follow friend’s advice and tip it in a wax for preserving purposes. It gave me chills just to think about it, but I did end up making her a dress to give him some protection against the dust.

End result? He’s been sitting on his own special shelf since, in dry, mould-free place with daily dusting and few other dolls. Right under my nose, where I can look in his eyes and smile back to him.

Still, hard to believe that this teddy on the first image is really him. So much fur! Mine is rough under fingertips, but the heart of this bear is just as golden as the outside :).

Officially we’ve had teddy bears as toys for 110 years. Mine is 40 years old. Take care of your teddies! They are worth it.


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