TIPS FOR PINNING,
STITCHING & TURNING
& Hints | Bear
PIN, PIN, DO NOT SKIMP ON PINS !
- Place pieces to be sewn
"right" sides together, tuck the fur between.
- Use long shank quilters
pins to pin your work. Place the pins at right
angles and use lots of them, sticking out as show on
ear sample below.
- Leave a wide enough opening
on the body parts that will be easy for the turning
and jointing. Hand closing with the ladder stitch
is a breeze!
- To reduce the bulk for
ears, try these tips:
bears under 8", cut each ear in a circle
(remove seam allowance from straight edge).
Sew around edge and slit along the center of
the folded edge to turn. Just remember
to match the ears on the bear to be sure the
fur is running in the right direction.
larger bears sew "around the corner"
as shown above. Clip the corners off to
get rid of the extra fabric.
- Add 1/4" to the openings
on the body parts for loosely woven fabrics tending
- If you plan to shave the
muzzle, then consider removing the fur before stitching.
This step will eliminate the "row of fur"
or "rooster tailing" that can happen along
a seam line.
- Use a 90/14 needle on
your machine and a stitch size that is slightly smaller
than normal. Double stitch along pressure points
especially along nose, eye corners, bends of legs and
- Double stitch every piece
of every bear if using mohair. First one side,
then turn over and stitch again. Even with careful
pining there are slight imperfections you can correct
the second go around.
- Double check paws and
pads for smooth curves and that the sizes are matching.
Consider drawing a stitching line before you pin to
guide these critical stitches.
- Always, ALWAYS
use a matching, closely coordinated machine sewing thread
that is good quality. Avoid disappointment with
threads breaking at the stuffing step. Use a balanced
stitch and back stitch at the beginning and end of every
- Whichever way you stitch
the gusset and head, consider the following:
the center nose clearly. Fold gusset to
find the true center.
a ruler, draw a line where the gusset changes.
pinning and stitching, be sure that "the
line" ends up at the same spot on the side
head pieces. Sometimes this line coincides
with the place where the side head changes, sometimes
not. The important thing is that the line
is at the same place on each side head.
- Ways to handle sewing
#1 "traditional method":
Sew the seam from neck to nose (C-A), then
set in gusset piece and stitch each half first
from A to B, and then A to B2. Leave
#2: Sew seam from neck to nose (C-A.
Then stitch gusset across nose portion A1
to A2. Ease in remainder of gusset then
from A1 to B1 and A2 to B2.
#3: At the drawing out and cutting
stage, square off the end of the gusset by
extending parallel lines as shown
Fit the new
squared end gusset to the side head pieces
first A1 to B1 and then A2 to B2.
Pin the side
head pieces together and push the gusset
into the same (a pleat will form).
Stitch from C to A. The result on
finished ear forms a "triangle"
which also helps with getting the nose in
just the right spot.
the head is so important it's okay to think
about basting the head gusset in place before
- Pesky foot pads vs. Paw
#1: Use lots of pins to put foot pad
in place as shown below. Stitch in place
from the pad side being sure to get a nice rounded
curve. OR stitch from the leg side - the
assembly will "set up" because of the
pins and allow you to get a nice smooth rounded
- lay leg
- snip a scant 1/4" into bottom of leg approximately
- match heel on pad to center of leg and pin around
- snitch 1/2 of curve then other 1/2.
- close leg seam
#3: Use lots of pins to ease foot pad
into place as shown ((a) above). Stitch
using backstitch being sure to get a nice rounded
stitching the ends of curves, taper the seam
rather than ending abruptly and ending up
with a "squared off limb"
- Purchase a Teflon foot
for your machine. This really helps your machine
glide over the stickier materials such as ultra and
leather on the paw and foot pads.
- Curvy limbs will tend
to torque - sew them twice - once each in opposite directions.
"reinforcing" makes it really easy
to find the punched hot at the jointing step
- After stitching, and before
turning, reinforce the jointing holes as follows:
small 1/2" x 1/2" squares of ultra suede
(use white craft glue) these squares directly
over the joint mark
holes through with an awl. For arms and
legs, hole on one side only. For body, you
can push awl through both thicknesses at once.
This also makes sure that legs and arms are attached
evenly on both sides of the body
- Sometimes it is desirable
to make the teddy bear seam lines "disappear".
To make the fur at the seams the same as the fur on
the body, remove the trapped fur in the seam.
You need to pick the fur before turning and again
after the pieces are turned. The fur can be
picked out of the seam with a needle or a bear brush.
- TIME TO TURN:
sharp scissors, snip tight curvy areas to the
are very useful to turn pieces. Chopsticks
or stuffing sticks also help get the pieces turned
right side out.
- Once pieces are turned
right side out, you may wish to snip the fur around
the holes very slightly so you can quickly locate joint
stable fabric can be used for paw and foot pads.
Commonly used ones include felt, velour, soft
leather, ultra suede and upholstery fabrics. If
fraying is a concern, iron on a fusible interfacing..
This opens up the possibilities to include tartans,
patterned silks, velvets, satins - just think
of the possibilities that will make your bear
even more special, perhaps one of a kind!