ello, my name is Lesley Mallett and I have been making teddy bears for over twenty years. When I gave up my job as an occupational therapist to await the birth of my first child, I began to make hand-crafted bears to donate to charities and to sell. I kept one for my firstborn.

Even before that, I do not remember a time when I was not sewing or “making things”. As a child I made doll’s clothes, then later made my own clothes, right up to my wedding dress, then baby clothes and eventually prom dresses. Maybe one day I’ll make a wedding dress again for the next generation? My mother was a tailor and I learned a lot from her, except backwards because she was left-handed, and I am not. Her legacy of wonderful fabrics, buttons, jewellery etc. can still be found in my work even nine years after her death. I wish she could see the bears I make today, I think she would be proud.

As a child I had a special bear. He was stuffed with excelsior and got eaten by bugs. When I was 16, my parents bought me a new bear. For reasons I cannot remember I called him Fred (pictured left). My father’s middle name is Fred but I do not think that’s why I chose the name. Several years later, I met a tall, dark and handsome man. When he told me his name was Fred and he had the birth certificate to prove it, I decided he was the one for me! I’m not sure Fred had much choice in the matter, but he seems quite content two children and twenty-seven years later. Since my childhood I have been an avid collector, probably in an effort to recapture early memories. I have over 400 teddies in my hug and can always hear my childhood ghost bear whisper ‘just one more’.

So my daughter Emily has one of the first bears I ever made. Since then I have made hundreds! Seven years ago I turned my bear-making hobby into a business. FredBears seemed to be the logical choice for a name especially since old worn out bears are often threadbare or FredBear (pun intended). I make teddies from 1 1/2 inches to 32 1/2 inches. Inspiration comes from many sources and I always keep a notebook handy for when a new idea will pop into my head. Working with fabrics and fashioning new bears is just something that is within me. I hope you enjoy seeing my newest hug.