When choosing your fur, remember
shorter fur on smaller bears and longer
fur on bigger bears.
Use a permanent marker to trace around your pattern pieces exactly.
Slide scissors under, cutting backing only, just inside the pen lines.
When cutting & trimming fur, wear a dust mask & vacuum each piece to keep fur from flying. You'll know you're allergic if you start to itch and form fur balls in your throat like I do!
As you make holes in the mohair with your tailors awl, reinforce them with a drop of Fray Check.
Use a size 14 Jean needle to sew through the mohair and use a slightly smaller stitch than 12 stitches per inch.
Make a full set of pattern pieces out of template plastic or cardboard to trace around. Store them in a zip lock bag.
Use nylon upholstery thread for attaching eyes & ears and for hand closing openings. It's thin and strong!
Squeeze the loop on the back of the glass eyes almost flat with pliers, this allows it to slide through the eye hole easier.
When tying off the eyes pull HARD, this helps to sculpt the face, it will pull the eyes in and " tip" up the nose.
When tying off your knots, wrap end around loop three timis before pulling knot tight, the repeat for a "double knot".
Use the right size of pearl cotton for your bear! Small #8, Medium #5, Large #3
Don't feel bad, everyone stitches the nose several times before they get it right! Horizontal noses are easier to stitch.
To get an idea of how the nose and mouth will look before you stitch - wrap thread around pins to try different expressions.
After you outline the nose you can cut a piece of felt the same shape and
stitch over top of it.
If your satin stitch isn't perfect and some threads just won't lay right - blend the area in with a felt tip marker.
Use the "Cotter Pin Tool Thing" to secure the disk sets - it really is
soooooo much easier than needle nose pliers!
Glue a washer onto each of the disks before you joint the bear - it makes for less movement when turning the cotter pins.
A "stuffing tool" is anything from a wooden spoon or chop stick to a professionally made stuffing stick.
If you want your bear to look older - weather beaten - stuff it less so it slouches, with the exception of the head.
You can sand the glass eyes lightly with fine sand paper to give them a duller, worn look.
Try stuffing a bear with wood excelsior - keep a spray bottle hand with warm water to keep it soft as you pick up bits and rub between your hands to make small balls to stuff inside. It's an experience!
You can rub blackened fire wood or newspaper on the ears, nose, and paws for that well - handled look.
My favourite tool for creating uneven patches of fur on the bear's snout, forehead, ears, chest, arms, legs is a sweater shaver. It rips the fur out very natural looking, embroidery scissors can looks choppy.
Rub through the paw and foot pads with a rough nail file to expose just a little stuffing - thread bare look.
Blot the bears snout, forehead, ears, chest, arms and legs with a hot tea bag for darker patches.
Dip your whole bear into a tea bath (use HOT water in the sink & 8 - 10 tea bags). I use Red Rose tea, but anything will do. Squeeze out the excess moisture and let him dry. This will compact the filler and give him a slouchy look.
For foot and paw pads use leather, ultra suede, tapestry (blotted with a hot tea bag), virgin wool felt or the same mohair you are using only shaved off.
I find the majority of cute little accessories like hats, books, baseball bats, mits, etc.on keychains, keep your eyes open.
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Last modified on Monday, February 12, 2007