My name is Melissa, I'm a Textile Artist and I live in Cheshire, UK. I studied Textile design at the Manchester Metropolitan University and graduated in 2003 with a BA (Hons) Textiles degree.
I design and make collectable teddy bears and other art animal/ doll keepsakes sewn out of mohair, velvet, wool-felt and decorative vintage fabrics.
I started making and selling my textile pieces in 2004 when I set up a small business called Melissa Jayne Bears, making handcrafted collector's teddy bears and other stuffed animals.
I sold my creations through my website and also at collector's fairs throughout the UK; Hugglets in London, NEC Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, Pudsey bear fair in Leeds and lots more local ones in the Northwest including at Stockport, Bolton, Buxton and at Arley Hall. I was lucky enough to have some success and many bears found homes both in the UK and overseas.
I continued making and selling up until 2007 then had a break from selling when my first son was a baby. This was because I was also working full time for a bank and I felt that I didn't have the time I needed to spend on making the bears and was focused on my new little family.
I carried on my sewing purely as a hobby, and this is the time when I started designing and making other fabric products too such as cushions and lavender bags.
In 2013 I officially started selling my handmade creations again to include colourful scatter cushions, personalised family trees, animal shaped pillow toys and bears.
How it all began...
I always remember when my sisters and I were little in the 1980s, we would visit our Nan and sometimes she would take us to jumble sales where she would buy us preloved toys, games and books that were mostly from the 1960s & 1970s. I vividly remember that she also had a pretend teddy bear hospital at her house where she would sew repairs on some of these soft toys.
I think this is probably where my interest in sewing originally came from, and a few years later I started to try out sewing myself when I was maybe about 10 I used to spend my pocket money on simple to sew plush animal kits from a craft shop in my local town.
This love of soft toys has always stayed with me because of all of those childhood memories that have given me a lifetime appreciation for the magic that teddy bears and stuffed toys can bring. I also think going to those jumble sales as a child, later sparked an interest turned passion for vintage preloved items, printed fabrics of the 60s,70s & 80s and of upcycling too.
Vintage children's toys and whimsical fairy tale books (many of these I still have from my own childhood in the 1980s), along with a growing vintage fabric collection from my adult years, have always been the inspiration for my work, both for my designs at college and university through to everything that I create today. I feel that this gives the things that I make a whimsical and retro twist of child like charm.
It really is a dream come true to be able to do what I love by designing and sewing cute keepsakes and I'm so grateful to all of you who follow me on my Instagram pages, my Tedsby shop or who have bought something from me.
Thanks for visiting my Tedsby shop and taking the time to read this.
To see what inspires my designs and my work in progress you can follow me on Instagram
> @melissajaynedesign <
For pictures of all of my handcrafted art bears and animals please follow Instagram page
> @melissajaynebears <
If you need any help at all, please feel free to send me a message using the contact tab on my shop home page.