When Big Koala arrived as an in-patient at the ColdhamCuddlies Soft Toy Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185) in mid-summer 2011, he was a very heavy toy indeed and really could not be described as either cuddly or soft. He was very heavy and hard and as his Best Friend, RE told us, had sat on a bed for all the time he could remember - never having been played with at all. He really did not encourage cuddling or playing. He just SAT - as this picture of him shows:
|In the garden, with his friend Ed Ted|
|Koala's back pieces ready for a template to be drawn|
|The rest of Big Koala's bits and pieces, with his base on the right|
I then separated the skin from the stuffing - which was absolutely rock solid, felt somewhat sticky to the touch and had a very faint whiff of eucalyptus or some such odour. This caused me to conclude that the stuffing could well have been eucalyptus bark. I had to use my hand-held "Dust Buster" vacuum to clear it from the hide and collected some of it in a plastic bag - shown below - prior to discarding everything to do with the original Koala toy.
|Koala's original stuffing|
Cy Bear taking over from here - at Isobel's insistence! She found the reconstruction process a lot easier than taking Big Koala apart had been. The sequence of putting the parts together is also completely different, apparently, to the way she does the rest of us Bears, but in the end a lot easier. There are a lot fewer seams involved and, of course, no joints to be taken into consideration. His eyes went in much easier than Isobel has found to be the case when making some of the other Cuddlies, so she is very pleased with the new pattern she now has to offer friends, family and visitors to our Etsy shop at www,coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com.
She made the head first - and to begin with wasn't too sure that she had got the seams in the right order.
As it looks here, his muzzle is far too long and pointed, and she was somewhat concerned that the leather nose would not show up properly. When she came to put the head on the body (shown below), she realised her mistake - she had not sewn up enough of the neck area, apparently! - quickly corrected it and the result was much more satisfactory.
|Body, without stuffing, but with claws in place|
Isobel then had to stuff both pieces of the new Koala frame. His eyes were put in before she began stuffing the head and ears - the other Bears' ears do not need that treatment, but Big Koala's do. Then the two bits were sewn together, leaving an opening at the top of Koala's back through which the stuffing has to be pushed.
|Please ignore the electric tooth brush, and broadband connection hub in the background, if you can!|
When measured up against Hairy Bear 4 and me, he is just about the same size in height - 36cms from his base to the middle of his forehead over his nose (14-1/4 inches). He is actually fatter than any of us Bears, but doesn't have the separate arms and legs like us. However, his girth is 58 cms, if he is measured between his arms and legs (22-3/4 inches) and Isobel says he took as much, if not a little more, polyester fibre to complete.
|Showing the different shape that Big Koala is|
As a final picture - here is one of the ColdhamCuddlies' Koalas all together.
Good night to you all - Cy Bear and Isobel.