Teddy Bear Making (Day 2)

October 1, 2012

I’ve transferred the pattern to some grey-brown, smooth acrylic faux fur. This will show the extent of my sewing skills because the acrylic is very thin, so thin in fact that it shows pin holes, so I’ll be sewing it without the aid of pins. Since it has no pile, the seams will show so they need to be neater than usual.

No sketching today – somewhat frustrated by both the cancellation of the SketchBook Project’s exhibition in Melbourne and my inability to post photos to the website of SketchCrawl International. So what better way to deal with life’s frustrations than to get out a needle and thread and let it all wash away? I think it’s been a weekend of frustration, what with the Meagher murder in Melbourne, yet more mysogyny from the Liberal Party of Australia and Mardi Gras’ astounding support for homophobic Jeff Kennett…

The felt is a tiger-striped design, in yellow with blue-black stripes, and somewhat perversely, I’ve decided to go with this for the paws. The second version has more conventionally-coloured paws. I’ve been very careful in cutting it out to get the stripes to show just so. In sewing the paws, I’ve learned from the past not to sew in a circle in one go around each paw, since  that can add to distortion of the attached limb, so these days, I start from the middle of the paw and work out in two separate lots of stitching around each.

I managed to sew most of the seams today without pricking myself on the needle at all. Perhaps I’m more relaxed than usual, I can’t say. I’m using Chinese “Birch” sewing thread from Spotlight, with proper overcast stitch all around the edges then a reverse stitch for the seams a quarter of an inch in. Everything is precise and not at all rushed.

Tomorrow, I’ll finish off all the seams ready for jointing and stuffing. I have to go back to Spotlight for stuffing and will probably go back to get joints which are slightly larger. I’m reading my bear making magazines and books more carefully regarding jointing, wondering if jointing affects the ability of bears to sit up straight or not. I have a bear I bought at an outdoor fair in Amherst, Massachussetts twenty years ago, made by Lynn Gatto of Limerick Bear: it is a small 11″ bear in sparse mohair, German black button eyes, warm grey felt paws – just as perfect as any bear can be. I can feel that Gatto’s bear definitely has wooden joints and if not’s the joints that can make him sit up straight, then it must be the stuffing which is incredibly firm – so firm, I can only assume it must be Excelsior/wood shavings because it has a feel totally unlike any synthetic wool stuffing which I’ve used in the past. I’m eyeing off local bear making classes even more where I’m sure a lot of unpublished secrets will be revealed.

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