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Norvelle - A Miniature Bear Kit for Beginners

A Miniature Bear Kit For Learners

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Two inch high miniature bear made from plush.

Miniature 2 inch Bear 'Norvelle' from a Josephine Parnell kit, shown on a dolls house chair.

Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
Josephine Parnell makes dressed miniature bears and other animals in scales suitable for doll's house residents. She also teaches miniature bear making and has a range of kits for various levels. Norvelle is her thread jointed bear kit for beginners which makes up into a 1 3/4 inch (44 mm bear) made from English plush.

Kit Contents

Josephine supplies a generous amount of fabric, instructions, pattern, beads for eyes and silk thread for the nose. The maker must supply a fine needle (size 10 or 12 recommended) and thread to match the color of the bear. A small amount of batting or toy stuffing is also needed along with heavier waxed or quilting thread for the bear joints and a fine darning needle 2 inches long to joint the bear.

Completing Your Bear Kit

This miniature bear is simple to cut out, the pattern pieces are not complicated. The kits come with the direction of the fabric pile shown, a help to complete beginners. The arms and legs are folded so there are less seams, and the size of the legs and arms make them not too finicky to turn, although you need hemostats or fine tweezers, which are also useful for stuffing your bear. The parts must be cut out carefully following the instructions, but the pattern is easy to follow. A 2mm seam allowance is allowed for all seams.

Only two stitches are used to complete the bear, the back stitch and the ladder stitch which are both clearly explained in the instructions. Understanding of a satin stitch is useful for finishing the bear's nose.

Final Results

This is a pleasing little kit to finish in a short period, with a satisfying result. The little bear can be posed, although his head is attached and does not turn. This is an excellent kit for a beginner, or young sewer who can make small stitches carefully, although these kits are not recommended as toys for children.

Depending on where you joint him your bear may be larger by up to ½ inch than the 1 3/4 inch size given. This makes him a good size for dolls house scenes or useful as a Christmas Tree decoration if he doesn't get the full treatment as a collectible Ted.

Things to Look For in Beginner Kits

If you are just starting out with miniature bears here are some things to look for in kits:

  • Fine, short plush materials fine plush has a tight woven backing, but is flexible which allows it to be sewn easily and shaped with stuffing.
  • Simple shapes for arms and legs One piece arms and legs with simple smooth curves mean less fine sewing, and easier turning of small parts.
  • Opportunities to express your personality Noses and mouths as well as eye type and spacing can change the way a bear looks. Simple kits should still allow you to express your bear's personality.
  • Clear instructions For novice sewers, stitches to use assembling the bear should be clearly demonstrated, as well as ideas for noses and mouths, a description of how to stuff, and an organized series of steps to take to complete your bear.

I've made several little bears over the years but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this particular kit to a complete beginner. This is also a great kit for an experienced sewer to create a lot of attractive small bears fairly quickly.

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