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shantell Apple Dumpling Designs
Willamette Valley Oregon
Posts: 3,128

Since this topic came up about copyright...I thought I'd ask this question especially for those of us who are new...like me.

Can/will any of you share any of your design secrets? 

For example:  Shelli shared that she draws a circle, folds in half, etc. for her ears.  I became frustrated when drawing my first bear (which I've since tweeked over and over) and used various size wine glass, water glasses, anything with a circle to start my arm and leg pieces and then connected them...much like you see in a beginning art class.  I still use a wine or water glass to draw my ears...only half and then add about 1/4 of an inch to the bottom (4 pieces to cut out). 

My patterns have been very much hit or miss...and I've only actually accomplished about 3 that are in my limited opinion worth a hill of beans...I've tossed many a crumpled pattern. 

I still know absolutely nothing about adding darts, etc. so those would be of interest to me.  How do you know where to add for what affect, how big, etc.

Thanks for sharing.

Shantell

P.S.  Of course photos would be wonderful...but you already know that right?

Stephanie Sassy Bears & Fabrics
Aurora, Colorado
Posts: 196

Shantell,
Like everything else, it's practice and experience.
I've been sewing clothes since I was a kid, so it just came naturally when I started making bears. I learned to visualize all that stuff in my head. I didn't realize till just a few years ago that not everyone can do that. Some people can see it in their head, some need it 3-D in front of them for their brains to 'get it'. My husband is like that.
Sometimes, when I'm not real sure it will work, I draw out the pattern on paper and cut it out. Then play with it. Having a model to play with can help a lot. Draw a dart and fold the paper there. Bring the 2 'edges' of the dart together. This gives you a pretty good idea of how it will look. If you don't like it, re-draw it or cut out another one. It's just paper! :)
If you want to go 1 better, then make a bear in muslin (with basting stitches) and stuff lightly. You can pinch the fabric here and there and place pins to hold it. Mark the fabric where the folds are and then pull all those basting stitches out. Your muslin pieces will have all the markings for you.
Keep playing and you'll soon get a feel for what they will do.
As for making curves, try 1 of those bendy ruler things.  I think they are called Flex Rulers? That also gives you a great 3-D thing to play with. You can fiddle with it until you get what you like.

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

I use my flex ruler when making my gusset. If I've made the head 'sides' first then I measure from tip of nose, along top of head to base of neck to know how long one side of my gusset has to be, then use the flex ruler to layout and measure the gusset.

I use a similar technique for foot pads... measuring straight edge at bottom of leg first, then drawing foot pad and measuring it with flex ruler.

I LOVE my flex ruler. Got mine from Edinburgh years ago.

shantell Apple Dumpling Designs
Willamette Valley Oregon
Posts: 3,128

Is the flexi ruler the same thing as those old measuring tapes used in sewing clothes?  I have a couple of those...I lose them buy a new one...lose it...buy a new one...you know...those things!!!

Stephanie Sassy Bears & Fabrics
Aurora, Colorado
Posts: 196

A flex ruler is a plastic ruler with a heavy wire in it so you can bend it in shapes and it stays that way. I got mine at Edinburgh too. Since I make mostly mini bears, I don't use it too often, but it is great for big bears.

Stephanie Sassy Bears & Fabrics
Aurora, Colorado
Posts: 196

Shantell,
Here's the page at Edinburgh:
http://www.edinburghimports.com/shoppin … 92364=S016

But I also found them here (cheaper and in 4 sizes):
http://www.suppliesnet.com/Curves/trufl … _curve.htm

shantell Apple Dumpling Designs
Willamette Valley Oregon
Posts: 3,128

Thank Stephanie...that would make drawing the muzzle and footpad easier.  Gotta add that to my "needs list"...I don't have a "want list"   bear_grin

plushkinbear BEAR ME SHOOTKA
Vladivostok, RUSSIA
Posts: 2,139

Shantell, I neve use any tools  (exept pencil bear_grin) to draw my bear and they are always good (I think) :twisted:

I like to sit in a cozy sofa and draw draw draw.... :rolleyes:
I have tons of patterns I drew but haven't sew yet! I have too much ideas... :whistle:

But I do like to use my favotite head's pattern in different style.. I love to draw arms and legs. My pencil just draw by itself.  :dance:
I'm drawing on a paper with squares ( like those ones at school) and since my bears are mostly not very big I count squares..  bear_grin

When I need to sew a big bear I draw a pattern of my regular size and then enlarge it. But can draw a really big patterns too, just when i am in the mood of waisting some paper... bear_grin :P
Julia

matilda Matilda Huggington-beare
WA
Posts: 5,551

aaaaapatternpiece.jpgI work similarly to Stephanie. I'm a great one for putting my pattern pieces in boxs. I usually start with an idea in my head. Then design the pattern pieces in there as well. It usually starts with a type of body part. As I finish a body part I transfere the finished pattern piece to a fresh piece of paper. Outlined in dark ink. Then as each body part is finished it goes on to its own piece of paper and I layer the paper on top of each other to ensure that the proportions are correct. If it is something that is new to me then I cut out the pattern piece('s) in paper and check how it is to be designed further. Where to put darts, how to make the pieces into one piece when the seam is wanted on the bottom, that sort of thing.
When I first started I went through the patterns in the only bear making book I had and measured the proportions of the pattern pieces. My third bear was wholely my design. My second bear was a combination.
I keep all my pattern pieces and my workings . Even the ones that were'nt successful.  I have the workings for a dragon. I had bought a pattern at a fair and when I got it home saw that the pattern was constructed rather poorly. So put it away and started to design my own. I still have to do his head. But these workings inspire me to go a little further with my bear making. When it comes down to it, we will always work our own way.  Workshops are good because they will give you a solid base from which to develope from.
I love to sketch and draw so designing creatures comes easy for me.
OH! when I said box's I mean draw a box about the size of the body part, and then draw the part in the box.
I'll draw something up for you to help to explain. OK.
Sorry but scanner not working so took pix instead. This is how I go about it. I use darts when I want fullness in a certain area.  I have found in bear making that you dont just do something one way. You use every which way to get the job done.   I prbably havent helped any but this is one of the ways I go about pattern making.
Matilda

Helen Out 'n About Bears
Poole, Dorset, England
Posts: 88

Hi All

Nancy Tillberg does an online course called "Designing Teddy"-------at www.kranbearys.com


It's good--I've done it.  It will show you proportions, darts, bent arms and legs, how to draw bear parts---the lot!!


Helen

psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

I agree with Helen,
I'm taking the Designing teddy course, and I can tell you it helps!!!
I can't draw to save my life, but somehow I have learned how to draw great patterns now. It's all I seem to doodle now.
If you can afford it Shantell, I would highly recomend it.

Heather

shantell Apple Dumpling Designs
Willamette Valley Oregon
Posts: 3,128

Thanks Ladies,

Actually I was just looking for tips or little secrets that you might use that helps you with your design...like Daphne's use of the flexi rule...and not just for me but for anyone who was interested.  I've already taken several of the Ebear U classes and they are wonderful...I would recommend them to anyone new or experienced.  And of course Matilda's sharing of her drawings is wonderful...yeah...I love photos....being the visual (or lack there of) person that I am.

Thanks again...  :love:

Shantell

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

Shantell... I use clay models and pattern draping to design my patterns, it's a very labor intensive process, but it's about the only way I can do it since I am "dimensionally challenged!"  I can't draw 2-D for the life of me!  Actually, I can do it, but when I really want to get a specific shape that I see in my mind in three dimensions, the only way for me to do it is to make a 3-D model and then lay a bit of tissue or light fabric over it... trace where my seam lines will be, and put the darts in where I have to gather the fabric to fit the model piece. I am so envious of folks who can translate a three 3-D mental image into something that is 2-D on a paper pattern, but works up into that same 3-D image once stuffed.  It's just beyond what my mind can grasp!

Beary truly yours,
Kim Basta
Wild Thyme Originals

Helena Bears-a-Bruin!
Macclesfield, UK
Posts: 1,291

I can't really provide tips, Shantell, because drawing a pettern is just that for me....I just sit down and draw it! I was discussing this with a friend recently (who incidentally is a writer and very creative) and when I explained that I can transform a 3D image to 2D in my head she looked at me as if I were some kind of alien!!!! I realised then that this isn't something everyone can do. I honestly didn't realise it before!

So I don't follow any rules. I draw freehand what looks best to me, add darts where I want 'chubbiness' and the proportions (head to body to leg/arm length) are not precisely measured in my bears. Of course, I don't usually get it right first time and the patterns are constantly being tweaked :D, but this part of the fun!!!

By the way, I like the sound of the flexi ruler. At the moment I make my first pattern out of thin card and just bend it along the various seams (head gusset, for instance) to get the correct fit bear_happy

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

I do have one of those flex rulers.... I got mine in the area where they sell archetecture type drafting tools in Staples..... for anyone who can't wait for a package to arrive from one of the bear supply places. 
Yes, Helena, it's an absolute gift to be able to back and forth 3-D to 2-D.... you use it very well!  Not all of us are so blessed!   :love:

Beary truly yours,
Kim Basta
Wild Thyme Originals

Stephanie Sassy Bears & Fabrics
Aurora, Colorado
Posts: 196

Helena, it's nice to know there are other aliens out there! bear_original I get the same look from people!!

shantell Apple Dumpling Designs
Willamette Valley Oregon
Posts: 3,128

I'm with you, Kim...although I would never look at Helena & Stephanie as aliens...just gifted. 

I've been doing alot of playing with patterns lately...just haven't applied any of them to fur.  And...it seems that no matter what you do with your pattern it's the personality that you give it or it gives itself perhaps that really makes it come to life.

Thanks again everyone for tips...or just comments.  I know it's all trial & error, practice practice practice...I just get too impatient for perfection...RIGHT NOW!!!

bear_grin  bear_grin

And, I'm headed into town today anyway...so Staples here I come...I'm thinking I could really use a flexi rule...for more than just bears.   bear_thumb

Pipa UK
Posts: 971

Well what i do for things like footpads is.. when i have drawn my leg pattern, along the foot (the straight part at the bottom of the leg pattern) i measure it.. i cut a piece of string to the same length. stick one end of the string onto a piece of paper with blue tack. and then i make the shape of the footpad (one half of the footpad)  i want with the string sticking it down with tack as i go to keep the shape. draw around the string.  fold the paper in half cut it out and open up the shape. that gives me a perfect fitting footpad in the exact shape i wanted

as for arms and legs etc i just draw them how i want them to look freehand and try them out. if they don't work i bin em ! and tweak my pattern till it looks right bear_original

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Pipa, I use string, too; for footpads, and also, for gusset design.  It helps me "measure" the muzzle part.  But I ordered a flex ruler, feeling like it was the more "grownup" way to do things.  We'll see.  My string worked pretty well, except that once I got the curve I wanted, it would inevitably flop to the side.  I'm hoping the flex ruler has a bit more staying power!

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

You can also use a thin wire instead of string the way that Pipa & Shelli described... if you don't want to use a flexible ruler, or don't have access to one.  Wire will tend to keep its shape a little better as you try to draw out the shape onto your paper.

Beary truly yours,
Kim Basta
Wild Thyme Originals

Judi Luxembears
Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,379

Shantell,
It looks like you are getting lots of good tips.  The only thing I can say is I wing-it.  I draw what I envision.  I start with the body.  Then place  the body drawing under a white sheet of paper and draw the arms and legs.

Before I ever  draw up a pattern, I have thought through every dart and curve in my head.  In other words I finish the bear in my head.  I have been drawing , paitning, and sewing since I was very young,.  I think this has helped a great deal being able to draw what I visualize in my head.

This does not mean that every time I make up a new design the bear comes out entirely as I expected.  I do think that the more you design them the more you know what you need to do to get the end result you are looking for.

You probably already know this but I find it very helpful to fold a head gusset  pattern in half before cutting so that both sides are indentical.

Sorry not much help here.

shantell Apple Dumpling Designs
Willamette Valley Oregon
Posts: 3,128

Yes, there are some great tips...I hope others will use them as well.  I'm just not quite brave enough to go from new pattern to fur yet.  In time I'm sure... bear_thumb

Jare Hares & Bears Jare Hares & Bears
Polo, IL
Posts: 983

I say go fur it!

I usually, start with an idea in my head. I recently put a small notebook on my night stand so that I could write things down during the night. Plus I can do rough drafts of designs. When designing a new bear it is helpful to take one of your own patterns that you know "works" and just make modifications to that. Many times I am pressed for time so that is all I do. But I have made some "interesting" bears over the years.
With totally new designs I start with a muslin bear and then see where I need to make corrections. Then when I am done with them I rip them apart and reuse the bits.
The flexi ruler is a big help with gussettes and foot pads.
But after sewing for most of my life I am able to "see" where I need to put darts. It comes with practice. I say try the extreme shapes and then you can see how to modify them to get them to fit your bear.
My designs are always changing.

Here are some simple design rules that can help.

1. If you take the head side pattern piece and stack on top of it self 2.5~3 time this will give you a body that is in the "normal" size range for the head size.
2. Arms & legs should be close in overall length, but the arms can be longer.
3. If you are making a 2 piece body, add darts at the bottom to give fullness. Remember you can add more than one dart, I use three small darts.
4. If you are using a 4 piece body remember that the side seam on the body front and the body back are the same length.
5. If you are wanting to make a "Big Head" bear no rules really apply, so just toss them all out the window.

6. JUST HAVE FUN! How's that saying go... "Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things"

Pipa UK
Posts: 971

hee hee yep string is bit floppy but it's something you always have around the house that come in handy :)

Shelli wrote:

Pipa, I use string, too; for footpads, and also, for gusset design.  It helps me "measure" the muzzle part.  But I ordered a flex ruler, feeling like it was the more "grownup" way to do things.  We'll see.  My string worked pretty well, except that once I got the curve I wanted, it would inevitably flop to the side.  I'm hoping the flex ruler has a bit more staying power!

Pipa UK
Posts: 971

Kim  thin wire!! i never thought of that ! you could use gardening wire. they are lengths of plastic with thin wire in the middle and can bend to any shape you want and will stay in the shape you make  bear_original

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