Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Starting the Wagstaff Bear Treatment Saga - Part One: Bum Bear

Here is what Bum Bear looked like upon his arrival in mid November 2012, accompanied by his friends Ted Bear and Mohair Bear.  Bum belongs to NickiW, Ted to her sister, and Mohair Bear is their mother's Bear, whom she inherited from her own mother, so Mohair Bear is the oldest of the trio, and has to be nearing the 100 year old threshold!  The other two are in their late 30's to mid-40's - mere whipper-snappers in comparison!

Treatment in the ColdhamCuddlies Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing # 79124185) always begins with an assessment of each patient, and normally attracts a £25.00 Consultation Fee for each Patient (which is applied against the final cost of the treatment when the Patient returns home).  In the case of the three Wagstaff Bears, because two of them really did not require too much effort, and Mohair Bear was such an interesting case, the initial £25.00 Consultation Fee was applied to all three.  (One of the joys of being one's own boss is the ability to make such decisions I find!)

Bum from the rear - you can see how he got his name!
Looking at both photographs, there does not appear to be an immense amount of treatment required - and so it proved.  His right eye needed to be replaced - there was a huge hole where the original one had been and he needed to be given a bath (or undergo some other form of cleansing) to try and recover his original cream plush colour.  He also needed to received fresh stuffing, as his innards were chopped up sponge foam.  This was a familiar stuffing in the 1970's-1990's, before foam stuffing (for toys as well as soft furnishings was recognised for the inflammable material it is).

Thus I took my trusty Quic-un-Pic instrument of Bear torture in hand and attacked his seams, from the top of his head down to his neck on both sides of the body.  The stuffing was removed from head, arms, body and legs - in that order- and then discarded.

The foam rubber stuffing, ready for dispatch

With vivid memories of what happened to daughter Philippa's Bear of a similar vintage - when he was left overnight to soak in cold water and then have a bath in warm soapy water the next day, most of his fabric collapsed -  I decided to give him a dry clean in a bag of bicarbonate of soda.  This involved the soda being tipped into a bag, followed by Bum Bear, and both being shaken vigorously for several minutes.  I then left them together overnight, gave everything another vigorous shake next morning and then extracted Bum from the bag and gave him another, thorough shake in the bath (the soda is easily washed away and cleans the pipes as it goes down!).

The soda, minus Bum Bear - with flakes of dust etc.

Bum was then turned inside out and inspected to see the state of his seams. Before going any further, though, I could not help noticing that my hands were stinging a little - which I put down to the residual soda on his remaining plush and backing fabric.  So, I decided to risk a quick soak in cold water - lasting about 2 hours, rather than overnight.

This resulted in  Bum coming up even cleaner and the stinging sensation disappearing - without any of the disastrous break down of the fabric experienced with Philippa's Tommy Teddy (who was completely re-made using what I could of his original remaining pieces!).  (Bum's fabric was definitely more of a mohair quality originally, than was Tommy Teddy - who was pure plush only).

Bum Bear's seams were, in the main, reasonably free from fraying - although the black fabric was worse than the cream variety.  I thus over sewed those seams that were worse for wear and proceeded to see what we could do with his eyes.  There was a dilemma.  I had two matching eyes which were available for use.  Alas, the good eye already in place was sufficiently rusted as to make it's safe removal a no-goer - it could not be removed without causing a big hole, so I left well alone.  So, I darned the large hole, as well as putting in a patch of black furry material, where the missing eye had been, and attached one of the pair  in stock - it's a little larger than the original, almost a match, but when Bum was completed, the difference does not show, and at least he now has two eyes with which to view his current surroundings.

Cy Bear giving his approval of Bum's treatment

One ear needed to be removed (it was hanging by two or three threads!) and re-attached, and then Bum was re-stuffed and replaced in the banana box in which he had arrived accompanied by his companions.

We'll continue the Saga of the Wagstaff Bears in our next post - when we deal with Ted Bear's therapy.  Meanwhile, good night and good-bye from Cy Bear and myself, Isobel!