Meet Jean Paccagnon of
I am so excited to introduce 'So Treasured' by Jean Paccagnon. She designs teddy dollies, including Flopsy (the larger bunny), Matilda (the smaller bunny), Rose (the daschund), Teddy (the Teddy Bear), Lucky (the elephant) and Kittie (the cat). She also designs wonderful fabric bowls in multiple sizes and fabric lanterns. Jean's patterns are so thorough and well written. You do not need to be an expert bear maker to make one of her teddy dollies.
You can purchase the patterns and use your own materials, or buy complete heirloom quality kits which include the digital pattern, mohair or viscose, in the colours Jean has selected for each doll. The kit includes joints, cotter pins, glass beads to add weight to the dolls, and German hand blown glass eyes.
You can add sweet fabrics from your stash to make some clothes for your creations. We also have wonderful shoes that fit Jean's dolls.
I asked Jean a few questions about her business and creations. She is absolutely the sweetest lady, and we have spent hours on the phone together, chatting about all things teddy dollies and more. I hope you enjoy learning more about this wonderful lady. With that, here's Jean!
Q. Please tell us a little more about yourself?
Jean- I am 60 years young this year! I live in West Vancouver, BC, Canada with my husband. We are fortunate to see our two grown boys often. We enjoy walking the ocean and mountain trails in the the famous "sea to sky" nature we are fortunate to be immersed in.
I went to the University of Alberta in Edmonton and graduated as a specialist in early childhood education. I loved teaching kindergarten, grade one and two, and always had many "craft centers" creative talents and imagination to bloom. I still believe that when humans are allowed to play and create, they become problem solvers and enjoy life more. Some of my students have written to me that they have become teachers because of me, remembering how it felt to be allowed and encouragement to "make things".
Encouraging creativity (or creative adventures) is so important to me. I hope my dolls continue to encourage creativity, whether it's using the simple methods to make a jointed doll, and their clothes, pose it, personalize it, make a scene, and play with! (I have always loved playing with dolls!!)
If you search for me on social media you will see that my Instagram name is '@whatsmatildawearing' which doesn't match my company name. I started posting on Instagram on a whim after a wonderful artist in Calgary posted her teddy doll made from a So Treasured pattern on her Instagram. I was so happy to see it! I thought it would be fun to join. I posted what my first dolly pattern (Matilda Bunny) was wearing. (I couldn't stop making her little wardrobes.)
If you scroll back on my blog at sotreasured.com, to the very beginning in 2016, you can see where it all started - with "Matilda and her tutu! "
Jean- I have loved making crafty things with my hands since I was a young girl. My mother taught me how to sew at about the age of eight. I thought sewing was magical. To create something useful from cloth is still something I love today. While she sewed beautiful Sunday school dresses for me (with matching dresses for my doll) and taught me how to sew "practical/useful" things (as she called them), I drew ragdoll and animal patterns and I sewed and stuffed them up. Some of these dolls were gifted to the Red Cross during a toy drive. I am not sure how good my creations were but I sewed a lot of love into them.
My mother taught sewing lessons and sewed beautiful tailored clothes, she could make anything really. A wool winter coat for Sunday school, dresses for special occasions. I was the girl in school, so proud of my handmade clothes such as trousers with studs down the sides. I thought they were so cool looking. She even made me a gown when I was involved in a Venetian ballroom dance. 😂 I still have the Barbie clothes she made as gifts for me, full outfits such as a teeny turtleneck with a set in collar and sleeves to go with some radical 70" print pants and skirts.
My mom, grandmother, and great grandmother (all from a German farming background) had a big influence on me. The original recyclers necessitated by the economy in the 30's, they cut up and saved any usable cloth from clothes or other items to make "new" clothes for children as well as useful household items such as rag rugs, foot stools, and quilts. They also did crochet and embroidery, supplying aprons, tablecloths, and table runners for Ladies Aide. I loved to stick my head into my grandmother's linen closet, just to smell the lovely aroma of her old quilts and embroidered tea towels. My great grandmother did a bit of tatting when she was older, I have her supplies still. I remember visiting her in her later years in a nursing home in Medicine Hat, Alberta after her many years of slogging it out on the farm in Cypress Hills (south of Medicine Hat). She was blind and sitting in her chair, crocheting beautiful threads around rubber jar rings to make hotpads (things to put your hot pot on). She was happy and I thought wow, she had her own room and got to do crafts all day - it seemed like a good thing to me! 😘
My father's family is Italian so generally speaking, I think my passion and love of beauty (my romantic side comes from my father's side and my dedication to detail and hard work comes from my mother's German side). My mom made me rip out those messy seams when I was a girl and always had unique ways to solve any sewing challenge! I learned to sew on her Bernina 731 and she still sews on it today.
Jean- Since I was about 5, sewing simple things, and then bears off and on since the late 80's! I literally FELL IN LOVE with making the jointed bears and went to all the doll shows and conventions.
I took my first quilting course in Montreal, Canada. I made a quilt for a boyfriend. My second quilt was a log cabin quilt for my husband who I met when I moved to Vancouver, BC. My mom thought it was strange that as a twenty something, I would join a quilter's guild. My first guild was the Fraser Valley Quilter's Guild in Surrey, BC. She didn't understand "cutting up perfectly good, new fabric" just to sew it all back together". Going to those guild meetings was so much fun. I admired and was inspired by the wealth of knowledge and talent in the large room and feel so grateful for the legacy of sharing, knowledge, and love that is sewn into quilts.
Quilt making turned into old fashioned jointed bear making when I saw some antique teddy bears in a calendar and thought - I could make that! That became a decade long period of designing, making, and teaching traditional jointed bear making. I did my first line of patterns under the name "Bear Co". I designed 11 antique style teddy bear patterns and 1 teddy bear head quilt block pattern.The bears were all jointed and ranged from 4" - 21" tall. They were made with the specialty fabric (mainly mohair) imported from the original factories in Europe that still provides the heirloom quality used in collectible bears still made today. I used to make about 21 bears before finally deciding that the pattern was good enough to share. It was important to me that others could have fun making the bears, that the joints were in the right place, and the instructions were thorough (like taking a class).
I took a break from school teaching and teddy bear making to raise my two boys but taught school for a while during this time as well. I remember lining up the bears on my kitchen counter to study what needed tweaking and my young son sat at the end. They all look cute in the line-up picture. "
Now that they are grown and flown, and I am thrilled to be back sharing my love of the craft of jointed dolls & bears once again under the name of So Treasured Bears in 2016!
Jean- My first bears were a wider size range and had a more traditional or antique style/proportion. For my second line of teddy dolly patterns, I wanted to design a smaller line of animal friends, still traditionally jointed but smaller but easier to sew using the block method and no gussets! I really enjoy making the new designs because they use small amounts of fabric, take less time, and are easier to make with simple sewing methods for the dolls and clothing designs. Making them is like playing dolls again because these ones are balanced and made to stand and pose!
My new pattern line, called So Treasured, came about after I wrote a small felting book called "Felted Treasures" when I did a stint in needle-felting and realized I really missed sharing creative endeavours. I knew I wanted to design a line of little animal friends, traditionally jointed with a modern twist. I wanted the dolls to have bigger heads and to be able to stand and pose for play value again. I asked my niece what I should call my new pattern line and she said: "Jean, it seems you like to teach and encourage people to be creative while making something special, something to treasure. Hence the So Treasured name, ("Sew" Treasured was already taken.) 😅"
Jean- I also offer two fabric bowl patterns and a lantern pattern. This foray into epp, simple hand-stitching projects that could be completed without a sewing machine (while travelling or waiting in a doctor's office,...), began after a neck injury! The Pretty Little Fabric Bowl was my first fabric bowl pattern. I wanted to make something I could finish in a short amount of time and be able to use more of the gorgeous fabrics that I was seeing! (Honestly, how blessed are we with the variety of fabric to choose from - fabric seems like art in itself to me! ) My first bowl pattern is a flatter design and has scalloped edges. I wanted to have a low, stackable container to hold my teddy dolls parts in progress (I literally stacked the bowls one on top of the other). I needed something to do with my hands ALWAYS, to heal, and to keep my sanity through challenging times. Both epp and dolly making can be picked up and put down and I found I could be creative for a little time each day, even when recovering, which cheered me up. The second pattern, The Goodness Bowl, was designed because customers requested another bowl pattern! It is a deeper bowl design and was born during covid when I wished for a little more "goodness" for everyone. I enjoyed paper piecing but soon transitioned in Pellon piecing and then lantern making when the dolls and my neighbours children wanted to make little lanterns!"
Jean-I LOVE crafts/art (and have dabbled in almost everything. (I always wished I could knit or embroider better but I think it takes a lot of patience or concentration which I don't have!). I have always loved to dance. I did ballet, jazz, and tap for years. I used to be part of the UBC ballroom dance club. Now, I dance privately, just to feel less stiff! 😋 I used to love to ski and hike but now I am happy to take short walks by the ocean near where I currently reside in West Vancouver, BC. Most evenings you could find me in my studio in my brightly lit basement, sewing a teddy dolly, dolly outfits, or one of my EPP bowls made with Pellon (and listening to audio books). Autobiographies and memoirs are my favourite."
Jean- I have so many designs waiting to be put in pattern form. I have a new teddy dolly FOX friend just waiting to greet you and a delightful epp boat made with pellon (in a similar method of the fabric bowl patterns) that I can't wait to share! I also have a wee teddy berry bear, a Winnie the Pooh style bear, and a more antique style bear - all wishing to be born and shared. (If only I had someone to do all the digital work and business side of a small business so I could just design and teach.) That is the dream."
I have been hoping to have Jean out to the studio to teach an in person class. Jean and I both hope that we can make this happen in the future!
Thank you Jean, not only for taking the time to answer my questions so we could learn more about you, but for creating such wonderful patterns. I am so excited for your new ideas to take shape (a fox? YES PLEASE!), and we are honoured to carry your beautiful patterns and products.
For those of you who want to keep up to date on all things 'So Treasured' keep scrolling for information on where to find Jean as well as some of her patterns.
"Customers are welcome to contact me anytime via my email: email@example.com.To see more about what I am up to, my 4 main social media links:
3. My main Instagram is@whatsmatidlawearingnamed after my first Matilda bunny pattern.
Below are two galleries that I set up. Makers are invited to post their creations made with So Treasured patterns to share and inspire others. (I love looking at these galleries, it makes me feel so happy.)
Jean also offers several free patterns on her blog and her newsletter. Here's a few examples that she provided links to: