The Sew Cal Bear Pattern is the perfect sized block for a mug rug* or small wall hanging! This is the perfect quick and easy gift for a fellow Californian or a former Californian who is missing the sunshine and beaches! If you haven’t ever tried Foundation Paper piecing I encourage you to give it a try! It is a great skill to have in your tool belt and it is a fun way to get some interesting angles without having to hassle with Y seams.
Being born and raised in California I wanted to create a block that symbolized the state that I am SEW proud to live in! My aim was to create a modernized and geometric version of the historic California Flag.
A few things about the California flag:
The bear on the flag was modeled based on the the last California grizzly bear in captivity (his name was Monarch)
There is only three other United State Flags that don’t contain the blue!
The bear on the flag was not standardized until 1953, prior to that the bear varied based on the company producing the flag
For my Sew Cal Bear block, I used a variety of Kona Cotton Solid Browns, White and Red to create the perfect representation of the California flag. But if you are not from California using a different colors for the bear and background gives this block a completely different look! Here are a few suggestions:
Create a Polar Bear by using a white for the bear and a Navy or Sky Blue background
Create a Black Bear by using black fabric for the bear and a forest green for the background
If you are looking for a way to quilt your block, one of my favorite ways is to draw a star where the star would traditionally be on the California Flag and then echo around the star. This gives your block the ultimate California touch. Expanding the space between your lines as you move farther away from the original star gives your quilting a modern touch. I add a ¼” between the stars until the space between the stars were 2” apart.
A note about Foundation Paper Piecing
Now, I know that Paper Piecing can be seen as a scary word in the quilting community but I promise it won’t be that bad! Once you get the basics down it is very easy to do! If you have never Foundation Paper Pieced before here are a few tips:
Make your stitches smaller, this will make pulling the paper off at the end easier
Use a quarter inch ruler or mark a quarter inch with tape. Using a ruler with a specific quarter inch mark makes things MUCH easier when you are trimming down your pieces.
When you print the pattern make sure “Do Not Scale” is marked, this will ensure that all of your pieces are the correct size
This video by Angela Walters is a great introduction to the skills that you will need to use in order to create the perfect foundation paper pieced block.
A HUGE thank you to all of the pattern testers that were so willing to test out my first ever pattern! I am SEW in love with all of the variations of the pattern you all came up with!
Want to get your hands on the pattern?! It is free! Simply sign up for our newsletter and you will receive a free copy of the Sew Cal Bear Pattern! I would LOVE to see what you all create with the Sew Cal Bear pattern, SEW please use #SEWCALBEAR on social media to share your progress and final objects with everyone!
* A mug rug is an item that is bigger than a coaster but smaller than a placemat. It is the perfect size for a cup of coffee, tea, or milk and a small snack.