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rowarrior The Littlest Thistle
Glasgow
Posts: 6,212

I've only made one mini bear a couple of years ago, and at the time I used mohair and had to fray check the whole thing before cutting out (it was a kit, and this was recommended).  Now I'm itching to get going on some more, but although I've bought some mini velvet (and am eyeing up a whole bunch more) and it says the backing doesn't fray, do you guys trust that, or do you fray check the lot anyway?  I'm afraid I've also only ever really used mohair for big bears too, and I always fray check the openings, do I need to do that for the minis if I don't do the whole lot?

TIA  bear_flower

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 5,975
Website

I never use fray check unless I accidentally nip into the fabric edge while trimming the pile from the seam allowance. (I almost always use mohair fabric, but I have some mini fabric that I've used for paw pads and it doesn't fray either. My velvet paw pads, on the other hand, I cut with pinking shears and line with interfacing so that they don't fray.)

Becky

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 19,847

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

In my experience, velvet, velveteen, and similar fabrics always fray.  If it were me, I'd fray check.  I make bigger bears and always fray check the opening edges of any fabric I use, whether it be mohair, alpaca, synthetic, or something else.  I think it gives a little more strength to the material when closing with the ladder stitch.

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

This may be more a question of - how closely do you sew to the edge of your fabric?

I always sew my minis approx 1/16" in from the edge, hardly even worth calling a seam allowance, and I need absolutely NO fraying out.
In some instances, I've had to sew in as far as 1/8" but that seems like a huge honking large seam allowance to me, as my sewn work is rarely larger more than 3", so overall size of your work is also relative and very much part of the equation.

All that being said, if you are sewing miniatures and/or need to sew anywhere near where the sealing is, the brand 'Fray Check' is the last one I'd recommend. (Please don't sling too many arrows; I need all the energy I have for company & cooking this week!! LOL)
I've found Fray Check turns too stiff after drying to stitch through, it bleeds into the fabric instead of staying put along the edge and is too difficult to apply with applicator tip as supplied.

I prefer the Aleene's line of white glues: they dry clear and flexible, can be hand-sewn through easier and don't wash out even after machine washing & drying before stitching (accidentally left in a pocket...)
'OK To Wash It' or 'Stop Fraying' are both excellent products.
I transfer it into the Monoject 412 craft syringes
http://www.kitkraft.biz/product.php?pro … DAodHTyPmw
because the curved tip is really great to let you see where it's going.

To seal the end, push out a drop of glue and insert one of those plastic T-hangers that sox or gloves are displayed on.
They're the perfect size to fit inside the curved tip to keep the glue at the tip from drying out and curing. After pulling off to use the next time, just squeeze a bit more glue down inside that little blob and push the tip back into the blob again. Eventually it builds up to a point where you'll begin again with one small blob.

Trace your pattern pieces on fabric and then 'draw' around the lines with a very fine bead of the white glue. Blot with a piece of paper /kitchen towel very firmly. This will remove most of the excess glue, push the glue into the fabric backing and slightly spread it onto both sides of your drawn line.
Allow all pcs to dry TOTALLY (overnight if possible) and then cut out your patt pcs and you will never have one bit of fraying no matter how you twist and turn the pcs or how much strain is put on the pcs as they are sewn and pulled right-side out and stuffed.

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Hi SueAnn,
Are you using 'fray check' as a verb? I sure wouldn't wish to fly in the face of reason here - we were typing at the same time - and your work turns out beautifully. But we work with such different sizes and materials that I get the feeling that you are saying that certain/particular fabrics need 'sealing' no matter what size design one will create with it.
Is that closer to what you are thinking??

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 19,847

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

rkr4cds wrote:

Hi SueAnn,
Are you using 'fray check' as a verb? I sure wouldn't wish to fly in the face of reason here - we were typing at the same time - and your work turns out beautifully. But we work with such different sizes and materials that I get the feeling that you are saying that certain/particular fabrics need 'sealing' no matter what size design one will create with it.
Is that closer to what you are thinking??

Ah, Bobbie, I was afraid I wasn't very clear with how I worded that post after I reread it.  Yes, I'm using fray check as a verb.  I've used velveteen and other fabrics with the 'nappy' texture for paw pads and for making smaller bears (7" - 9"), and nearly lost my mind the first couple of times I sewed with it because I didn't seal the edges.  The seams kept ripping out when I stuffed.  I've used several products as 'edge sealers', including Fray Check by Dritz, which probably works better on bigger pieces than miniatures.  Anyhoo, you did interpret correctly.

kynthia Posts: 140

i just read a book this morning on miniature teddy bears by julie k. owen. She recommends mixing PVA glue with equal parts of water and applying on the backing of the velvet to prevent fraying.

This seems pretty interesting to me, just wondering though, will it work if i use white glue mixed with water? anyone tried this method before?

Linda Benson Bears
Tasmania
Posts: 562

Tia, if the fabric you are talking about is sold as mini bear fabric and has a grid-like backing then you can take really small seams with confidence without using a fray stop. As Bobby says, it doesn't fray at all! If you got it from Sassy or somewhere that specialises in mini supplies and it says it won't fray, then trust it. Have fun! bear_original

rowarrior The Littlest Thistle
Glasgow
Posts: 6,212

Thanks for the advice all!

(ps, Linda, my name's Katy, TIA was Thanks In Advance, sorry, mustn't use text speak!)

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

PVA is the same as the Aleene's brands we have here in the States, though we don't need to dilute it, just use it straight from the bottle, which makes it really easy and less messy to apply.
I too used the white grid backed fabrics but sewed virtually on-the-edge, so I needed to seal all of the edges in advance of cutting out and sewing.

I always felt the the amount of stuffing (the degree of firmness) was sort of the determining of factor as to whether or not one should seal or not. If the creation was to be very firmly stuffed, it would almost seem to be a no-brainer that eventually all of that pressure from the inside would pop a seam somewhere, as one couldn't how a recipient might handle or treat the teddy over time. It's just better to be prepared in advance as it's impossible to fix afterwards.

If you leave enough in seam allowances, say - 1/8" - 1/4" or more, then you probably wouldn't need to seal them.

Linda Benson Bears
Tasmania
Posts: 562

DUH! Sorry Katy   bear_rolleyes

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

She recommends mixing PVA glue with equal parts of water and applying on the backing of the velvet to prevent fraying.

Did Julie recommend coating the entire fabric with sealant?

I've worked with Julie in the past in one of her books (may even be on the one you were reading) and found her to be a thorough researcher.

The times early on in my career that I thought to coat the whole fabric in advance of tracing and cutting out - turned out to be disastrous, because I found that I had lost all of the natural biasing of the fabric when I was stuffing.
As a beginner, one tends to 'just stuff'. But later on, one realizes that very judicious placement, especially using the curved tipped forceps/hemostats allows one to slide just that bit extra stuffing between already-firmly-stuffed-ted & fabric into all of those extra places that were built into the pattern pieces - to bell or bow out to bring out the character that was designed into the creation.

Sealing the fabric up into a totally non-biasing fabric wasted several yards of fabric, as I tended do whole sessions of just drawing out pattern pieces, then cutting out and stringing together teddies in sewing-together-order, bagging them up and then always having some ready to grab & go. It wasn't until the 'grab & go' stage that I realized what a mistake I'd made!
Don't coat the entire backing! If you're using a really fragile fabric and feel the need to stabilize it with another fabric underneath, glue still isn't the way to go!

rowarrior The Littlest Thistle
Glasgow
Posts: 6,212

Hmm, I've only ever used Fray Check either on the openings or round sensitive areas like if I'm plucking the muzzle, but that's it.  Never even ocurred to me to coat the whole thing, I'd no doubt end up with a very sticky bear!

kynthia Posts: 140
rkr4cds wrote:

She recommends mixing PVA glue with equal parts of water and applying on the backing of the velvet to prevent fraying.

Did Julie recommend coating the entire fabric with sealant?

I've worked with Julie in the past in one of her books (may even be on the one you were reading) and found her to be a thorough researcher.

The times early on in my career that I thought to coat the whole fabric in advance of tracing and cutting out - turned out to be disastrous, because I found that I had lost all of the natural biasing of the fabric when I was stuffing.
As a beginner, one tends to 'just stuff'. But later on, one realizes that very judicious placement, especially using the curved tipped forceps/hemostats allows one to slide just that bit extra stuffing between already-firmly-stuffed-ted & fabric into all of those extra places that were built into the pattern pieces - to bell or bow out to bring out the character that was designed into the creation.

Sealing the fabric up into a totally non-biasing fabric wasted several yards of fabric, as I tended do whole sessions of just drawing out pattern pieces, then cutting out and stringing together teddies in sewing-together-order, bagging them up and then always having some ready to grab & go. It wasn't until the 'grab & go' stage that I realized what a mistake I'd made!
Don't coat the entire backing! If you're using a really fragile fabric and feel the need to stabilize it with another fabric underneath, glue still isn't the way to go!

re-read that portion again. sorry, realized that she did not mention to coat the entire fabric.   :redface: she only mentioned that we can try using PVA. if you hadn't pointed that out, i think i would have gone & coated the entire backing!  :crackup: thank you!

i have this very stretchy and fray-able piece of velvet, i tried interfacing on it but it doesnt really stick on well. are there any other methods that i can try? PVA would only work for the edges but wont solve the stretchiness issue right?

baildon bears Baildon bears
west yorkshire
Posts: 114

I hate fray check, it smells horrible and bleeds into the fabric and make your seams really stiff. I only use it if I have to, I make minatures and I find schulte Mohairs needs no fray check, I also use cashmere fabrics for paw pads that does not fray, if I was useing velvets I would definatly have to fray check, I also sew very close to the edge. Hannah

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Most bear makers just won't use stretchy fabrics for the actual ted, Kynthia. They are too much trouble. There are of course ways to line the fabric and tack it in place to stabilize it, which comes with experience, but it's difficult to express all of the possibilities in the limited amount of space given here, and in the abstract - not knowing the particulars of each fabric.
If they really love the fabric they'll find a use for it in clothing or accessorizing.

kynthia Posts: 140
rkr4cds wrote:

Most bear makers just won't use stretchy fabrics for the actual ted, Kynthia. They are too much trouble. There are of course ways to line the fabric and tack it in place to stabilize it, which comes with experience, but it's difficult to express all of the possibilities in the limited amount of space given here, and in the abstract - not knowing the particulars of each fabric.
If they really love the fabric they'll find a use for it in clothing or accessorizing.

unfortunately, i learnt it that hard way..  bobbie bear_laugh haha.. i bought some velvet to make my first ted previously, but it was a disaster... i have since bought mini bear fabrics and it was MUCH easier to work with.  bear_grin since this topic came up, i just wondering if my velvet could still  be salvaged for teddy making.. guess i can carry on making more cushion covers with it then!  bear_tongue

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

unfortunately, i learnt it that hard way..  haha.

and you should have see the thick woven plaid upholstery fabric I bought (for 2 & 3" patterns) when I first began in 1990!
:crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:
I should have bought enough and re-upholstered the couch!

kynthia Posts: 140
rkr4cds wrote:

and you should have see the thick woven plaid upholstery fabric I bought (for 2 & 3" patterns) when I first began in 1990!
:crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:
I should have bought enough and re-upholstered the couch!

bear_grin  it's nice to know i'm not alone!!  :crackup:  :crackup:

WildThyme Wild Thyme Originals
Hudson, Ohio
Posts: 3,115

I think we've all done a few "experimental" things that have ended up going disasterously wrong.   :doh:  Experimenting is great... sometimes it's just a live and learn thing, but sometimes you end up figuring out a whole new way to do something!  :dance:  The great thing about this place is, that you can try avoid making TOO many of the live and learn type mistakes.   Without words of wisdom from those who have gone before me, I think I would have thrown in the towel on bearmaking years ago!   bear_wub

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

And I will add a HUGE Amen! to your comments, Kim! I cannot agree more!
We always stair-step on the backs of the workers ahead of us, as will those behind us on our experiments; it's on the collective experimenting of each & every one of us - and SHARING that gained knowledge - that we ALL advance!
And the speed of advancement is accelerated, in every field of endeavor, from bear-making to computers to agriculture through every other thing that humans have tried.

Now that reads like something out of a 'worthy tome', but I didn't mean it to come off so High Brow!
I was leading up to a short TY acceptance for a TOBY which I gave a decade or so ago which addressed this very thing, and oddly enough is sitting right in front of me, because I came across it last week in another purge before company came from the holiday:

The first half is a Henry Ford quote -

"Coming Together is a Beginning,
Working Together is Progress
and Staying Together is Success."

My friend and I (this was the bear that had won) thank the Artists who have gone before us for laying the groundwork -

And those bearmakers to follow for pushing us to new heights.

nealabear Teddy's Treasure Chest
Toronto
Posts: 61

Does anyone have a suggestion for something to use in place of freycheck.  Some of the fabrics that I have do frey but I'm having a hard time getting frey check here.  I don't know what is going on here in Toronto and whether or not others are finding the same thing but most of the fabric stores are going to home decorating items and it is getting harder and harder to get fabrics for clothing and threads and accessories including frey check to make things.  Is no one sewing their own clothing any more???  I've been making my own cloths (everything from underwear to winter coats) for 35 years now and now I can't find fabrics that I would want to wear anymore.  I can't understand what is going on with these items.  Do schools not teach young people to sew anymore?  I'm beginning to think that sewing is an art that will soon be lost if you can't get the materials you need to make things.

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 19,847

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

It's still readily available here in the US, Neala.  Do you have a Hobby Lobby, Michael's, JoAnn, or Wal Mart in Toronto?  You can also order it online at many places.  Or dilute just plain white glue with a little water and use it as a substitute.

nealabear Teddy's Treasure Chest
Toronto
Posts: 61

Hi Sue Ann:

Thanks for your help.  I have a WalMart near me but they have pretty much gone out of sewing supplies. They use to be really good for getting stuff like this and they use to have really nice fabrics but they've gone out of fabric all together and the sewing supplies that they have a very limited.  Half the time when you go to get something like frey check they either have a very limited amount of the smaller bottles or they're completely out.  It's sort of hit and miss I'm afraid which isn't much good if you're doing something and need it like yesterday.  I'm sure you know how that works.  You get into the middle of doing a project and you run out of something that is necessary to the project and you can't go any further until you get more.  I wondered if the white glue would work as well.  I use to use that combination to make a stiffener for crotched items and it worked well for that so I'm glad to know that it will work here as well.  At least white glue can be gotten just about anywhere and you don't have to wait for some stores shipment to come in.  Thanks again

Neala

Laniebears Arctophilia
Shropshire UK
Posts: 1,429
Website

Darren sells mini bear mohair that really does not fray much at all, and if you want added confidence he also sells fray check...
http://www.moahirbearmakingsupplies.co.uk

Hope this helps some...

Kind regards
Lanie

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