There are a series of fact sheets to help with your next Bear Project . Please select from the following
Face Sculpting - (print this page for future reference)
The most important part of bear making is the FACE.
It is the place where the bear expresses his/her personality and it is the first thing most people notice when purchasing a bear. It is important that the bear looks back at you, if he doesn't, there is no appeal.
The art of perfecting a face is the most fundamental part of bear making. A good pattern helps, correct size & placement of eyes is also very important, the nose & mouth are important, but even when you seem to have got all these attributes right, does the bear say what you want it to? Maybe it's time to look at face sculpting - no, not with a hammer and chisel, but a needle & thread!
With just a few stitches in the right place, it is possible to add considerable character to your bear. Describing needle sculpting as it is called, is not easy, but we'll give it a try.
Giving your bear deeper eye sockets or a more pronounced bridge to the nose is not difficult.
The head of your bear must be stuffed firmly, but not rock hard, (the best filling is poly flock or similar) the neck joint should be already inserted and all stitching finished.
Deeper Eye Sockets (the easy way)
Decide where you want the eyes to go. This can be made easier by using a pair of drawing pins or round headed map pins. Using the pins, try several positions until you are sure that their placement gives the look you are after.
Using a long doll needle threaded with double strong thread (use a colour close to the colour of the fabric backing, as this will make it easier to hide the stitches), start as follows:
Thread the eyes on to a long doll needle with strong thread. Pass the needle through the spot marked by the pin and bring it out low down near head joint. Repeat for other eye. It is advisable to bring the threads out one each side of the head gusset seam and tie them across the seam. This protects against the fabric tearing.
Now you will need help. Get someone else (preferably a strong person) to hold the head in both hands with the face towards them. Get them to place a thumb on each eye and push them both in the direction the needles pass through the head. While they hold the eyes in hard, you tie of the threads with a triple knot. You need to push the eyes in further than you want them, as they will come out a bit when the pressure is released. How much you have stuffed the head will make a lot of difference as to how deep the eyes are set. If they are not right, just snip the thread near the knot and try again.
Eyes Deeper (Sculpting)
Anchor your thread at base of neck & bring your needle out where you want to place the eye. Make a small stitch, then back out to base of neck. Repeat, usually 2 or 3 stitches are required to be placed evenly around the socket.
Eyes Closer Together
Anchor thread, bring needle out near eye placement. Make a small stitch, go across to the other eye & make a stitch, then back to first eye. Then just place your eyes as normal. See diagram over page.
Eyes Closer Together
Higher Nose Bridge
This can be done before or after the eyes are inserted. Using a long Doll Needle with double thread, first anchor the thread under the chin, near neck joint. Put a large knot in end of thread, push needle in one side of neck seam and out the other. Repeat again, then pass needle through loop, pull tight.
This will make sure the thread doesn't come loose. Pass needle though head and come out near an eye socket.
Pass needle back through nose coming out at same spot on other side of gusset. Making 3-4mm stitches, work backward and forward, moving towards the tip of nose. Pull each stitch until the bridge is increased in height. It should only take 4 or 5 stitches. Be careful not to pull too tight, as you may tear fabric backing. A practice on a spare head is a good idea.
When you have made the last stitch, pass needle back down to neck seam and do a couple of stitches at neck to ensure that it won't come loose. It is essential to keep your thread tight at all times, so the sculpting stays in place.
The only problem you may encounter is that the fabric at the top of the nose bridge is loose. This is because the stuffing has not gone up into the higher bridge. You can overcome this when putting in the sculpting stitches by angling the needle down till you are half way through the nose, then tipping it up to come out the other side. When the stitch is pulled tight it will lift stuffing into nose bridge.
Anchor your thread. Bring needle out on cheek. Take a small 4mm stitch, then take needle back to anchor, pull to get desired effect and tie off. Repeat for other cheek. This will give you anything from a pimple to a hollow. The point from which you anchor can also make a huge difference. i.e. Base of neck, half way up head or top of head.
You can use these Sculpting Technique to create many different facial effects.
You are only limited by your imagination!