Bear Making Tips

And here some tips on bear making. If you're a novice or want to start
one, keep them well. Some of these things also work fine with
Santa Clauses or dolls.

Stuffing:I've already posted something about my technique on stuffing.
Today I give you some ideas of what to use. First you have different
types of polyfill, which is fully washable and good for kids toys.
Be careful what you buy. Don't go for the cheapest. It is mostly so
soft, that you can't stuff a proper bear with it. Feel it and look if
you can press it firmly together with your hand. Then it is fine.
If you want to make a more traditional bear not for a child (or for a
child, yourself, hi, hi) then you can also use kapok or cotton wool.

Both stuff very firmly, but be aware, a bigger bear can become extremely
heavy. Cotton wool tends to clump, so be very careful. Best is a mix.
I stuff paws, bottom of body (that the bear sits properly) nose and head
with cotton wool. the rest with poly fill.Small bears can be filled with
plastic pellets(not child safe!)in the belly and maybe the legs, if you
want to have it sitting or even sleeping. Remember, heads are always
stuffed firmly with polyfill or cotton wool.

Once you've chosen your fur and cut, prepare the edges with fray
stoppa. Even if you use a very strong mohair which does not look like
fraying at the first side, use it. It starts at the moment you put the
first needle in. And you don't want a fraying bear.

Make an arrow on the back of the fur in the direction of the nap.
Make always sure to lay out the pattern in the right nap direction. It's
always marked on the pattern. To make the best economic use of your fur,
it's better to have all pieces which need 2 cuts (legs, head sides, arms
and body, ears (4!)), cut out. Stick the pattern on cardboard before use
and pierce the jointing holes. This way you can lay out the complete
pattern and play around with it, until it's most economical.

After all the fur is expensive. A guideline: with careful planing you
get 2 33 cm bears out of 1/4 m of fur for example. Trace around the
pattern with chalk or a permanent fabric marker. Make sure the marker
doesn't bleed when in contact with the fray stopa. Otherwise you end
up with dark spots on light fur on the right side. Put a different
coloured thread through each marked joint hole and pull it through
on the right side (don't forget the knot on the left side). This makes
it easier to make the joint holes after the pieces are turned right.

Mainly in use 2 different types of joints:cotter pins and screws
with self locking nylock nuts. Cotterpin joints are very soft and not
useful for bigger bears. The screws need a little bit of practise, but
hold much better. Cotter pins loosen after a while.
Happy crafting and big bear hugs.

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