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Your Bear Making Tips

If you have a idea to make life easy let us know...

 

   
   
Sheila Robinson

Cider Press Bears

Before embroidering your bear's nose and after marking the shape, stroke a paper gluestick inside the marked area. This will hold your embroidery stitches perfectly in place side by side..
Alison Jones

Melbourne

While I love making bears of all sizes, my favorites tend to be under three inches. I was finding it hard to keep paper pattern pieces in good shape...they seemed to fold, tear and generally become tatty after a few tracings. So, I solved the problem by going to Office Works and buying a package of acetate sheets....like the ones used for overhead projectors. Using a permanent fine texta, I can easily trace the patterns from the original. The sheets are easily cut with regular scissors, and I just use the end of them to poke holes where the joint markings are (just big enough to fit a pen or texta tip through). The acetate sheets last forever, and never tear or otherwise self-mutilate, so you get a nice tracing every time! I hope this helps others who make miniature bears. (I also use it to make my larger bear patterns.)
Judy Hager

USA

I was having a lot of trouble pinning ears onto a larger bear. Using straight pins or "T" pins they still kept coming off before they were stitched. I spotted a long doll needle and tried it. Going from one side of the ear, thru the head, and out the other side of the ear worked great. One large doll needle on each ear and the problem was solved.
Jayne Walton 
UK
If you accidentally cut a piece of mohair with the pile in the wrong direction (I usually end up doing it with a head piece!), don't scrap it. Simply wet the fur, and gently brush the pile the other way, and carefully blow dry it and it should lie right!
Ree Tornabene
UK
I keep my patterns together with a picture of the bear I made, so I know exactly how it looks if someone else wants a similar one. If you make adjustments to the design of a bear while stitching, always remember to make the same adjustments to the pattern. I just changed the head of a bear I didn't like. Forgot to change the pattern and can't remember what I did. I put her up for sale and had 7 people ask me to make another one. I can't.AAAAAAAAArgh
Maree Wright
NZ
When sewing a bear that has long or wispy fur - pin together then hand overcast the edges together using your needle to tuck in the fur as you go around the piece. This makes it easy to sew the quarter inch seam either by hand or on the sewing machine. When you turn your piece right side out it is easier to hide the seam and the fur is not tucked in the seam.
Jacki Baker When sewing a bear I always use two threads. One that matches the fur and one that is either a little darker or lighter depending on the fur color. This way if I miss a spot I can see it immediately or if I might have to reverse sew I can also see the thread.
Susanne Mensing Varila You can use liquid candlepainting wax (available from hobbyshops in plastic bottles with a small opening, many colours) for bear noses. Just apply directly from the bottle, warm the waxed nose with a hairdryer or hold it near to a lamp bulb for some seconds, let it harden overnight and polish with faxpaper. It gives an interesting effect if you stitch the nose in one colour and use a different wax colour on top.
Gerry Schipper
US
When doing tiny bears...about 1 1/2" - 3", it is not feasable to use nose templates so I will take a black sharpie marker and draw the shape nose I want on the bear. Then I just stitch over the area with my black thread. This helps me to get the shape and size I want plus if my threads should miss a tiny spot, the black camouflages the "missed" area.
Leanne Morris
Oz
I found it a great idea with creating the right shaped nose.Draw a heap of noses in different shapes and sizes on to a piece of calico, cut out and color in with the preferred colors so when you want a nose you can then place each nose template on and secure it with a pin and choose the one that suits the most. When happy with the chosen one you can then outline it with a fine marker and then you have the perfect outline to work with. A bit of work to begin with but worth it when you can have many original noses to choose from.
Sandra Puyo
Oz
My bear making tip is very tiny but I've found it useful. When you've finished stitching your bear's body part (be it a limb or other) most good patterns will tell you to push your needle through the body part (in a most painful fashion) and, while pulling on the thread, cut it therefore burying the thread, however you do risk cutting fur when you cut the thread, so instead of cutting the thread pull it against one scissor blade. As you are pulling the thread not only cuts away but should sink into your bear becoming part of his/her inners!
Mary Tornabene Christmas is coming. Why not add a few bear making essentials to your list? Or better still just direct the family to the right pages on the Bearycheap site. There's something in everyones price range, and you could try something new to get the creative juices flowing.
Kathy Sewell

Oz

My best lesson in Bear Making that I've learned is as follows: If you're not happy with something or know it's wrong, take a deep breath and undo it and correct it (where possible). If you continue you could either encounter a further problem generated by the original error.... or you'll never be happy with the finished result because deep down you know something's not right or you've done a botch job on it. Sometimes mistakes happen, especially when you're learning, and they can't be fixed (c'est la vie), so just do your best to recover the situation. But where you can remedy, put the extra time/effort in... you'll be so pleased and proud of yourself that you bothered. When I didn't redo something I was unhappy with... and I don't like those bears... so ultimately they end up a waste of materials and my time.
Clare Fuller
Oz
When I make smaller bears I leave the top of the limb open rather than leave an opening in the seam. This makes both stuffing and jointing a lot less fiddly.
Moira Salter.
Oz
I have two Bear making tips they are as follows
1/. A mix of 50% craft glue and 50% water, painted thinly on a stitched nose, will keep the stitches in place, and also enable you to move them around a little to help close small gaps or flatten some of the stitches that are not quite sitting flat. The finish will remain matt and you can add as many coats as you like to obtain a hard nose.

2/. I iron the lightest "iron on interfacing" onto the backs of all my fabrics, both mohair and synthetic, as it stops the fabric stretching when the bear is stuffed, and eliminates the need to use fray stop.This is a particularly useful tip for stretch or light weight synthetics.

   
 

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