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Past Time Bears - Artist bears designed and handcrafted by Sue Ann Holcomb
Shelli Makes - Teddy bears & other cheerful things by Shelli Quinn

BerLynne Ontario -GTA
Posts: 51

In doing art dolls, I've used both high quality, low quality and everything in between in the faux fur categories, pieces that stretched and shed and unraveled, and pieces that could have been from a real animal, and I've used real animal pelts themselves as well with some beautiful results. But really nice synthetic is hard to get my hands on without ordering internationally, and if I ever get to the skill level I'm aiming for, I need to use mohair somewhere on this journey.

So.. I have this beautiful piece of kid mohair in purple with fuschia tips, and I'm terrified to touch it! The colour was so spectacular that I just couldn't resist purchasing a chunk but on the same note, it's so pretty that I'll be heartbroken if I wreck it bear_sad Is faux fur harder or easier to work with? Am I worried about nothing? Or am I totally justified in being nervous?

Are there any tips for working with mohair that differ from faux fur?  Any help in banishing my fear would be greatly appreciated!

- Amber

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 19,815

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

I, also, was apprehensive about creating with mohair, but the very first time I finally used it . . . the difference was incredible.  So much easier to sew and manipulate on your sewing machine!  I believe that most fur users have a harder time with faux.

Churton M Posts: 39

I agree with SueAnne; I made by first bear with a high quality kit which contained Schulte mohair. My second bear I was scared to buy very expensive mohair as I was worried it was a waste of money as I was not good enough to use it and decided to use cheaper mohair and found it a nightmare to work with. So my experience is that good quality mohair/alpaca and high quality woven backed faux furs are all I will use as the lesser quality ones more often prove to be more stress than it's worth.

Good luck
Karen

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 5,964
Website

Another member in agreement! I posted some tips in reply to your message in the New Members section.

Becky

BerLynne Ontario -GTA
Posts: 51

Thank you so much for sharing your opinions! Your bears are all so lovely, I figured that this crowd would be the best to bolster my courage! And courage I need because I just bought myself some black and some white mohair because I thought the fuschia would look wonderful put into a panda like design but couldn't make up my mind on whether to use it for the dark or light sections.. So I got both! ?

I've learned my lesson over low quality and high quality with the faux furs, and I totally understand the difference now, I wouldn't dare purchase the bottom rung quality fabric to start with again! What a disaster that turns out to be!  I'd be doomed before I even began!

And thank you for the tips you left for me on my intro post, Becky! I'll be honest, i find cutting out the pieces of the patterns the most tedious part and a reminder to snip and don't rush is appreciated :)

Is it safe to assume that mohair behaves like a good quality faux fur? Do  I need to treat the cut edges to keep them from fraying or do the backings vary with the manufacturers, or is it fairly safe to assume most mohair I purchase won't fall apart on me half an inch in from where I cut and leave me finding fur in everything for the next six months?

Actually! I think I'll give the lovely Goldie pattern a go first once I figure out which of my new mohair purchases to pair with the fuschia! There's so many examples of people succeeding with it that design that maybe it will lend to my confidence!

BerLynne Ontario -GTA
Posts: 51

Progress Report! (Update)

Thanks to an absolutely amazingly kind gesture of a wonderful person, (whom I would love to name but won't unless given their permission), I was gifted some pieces of mohair in an array of lovely densities and colour so I could stop completely panicking about ruining the limited amount I did have and learn the difference between the properties of synthetic faux fur and mohair! This person may have hung the moon, in my opinion, I've never been graced by such a wonderful gift given souly because someone was blessed with a sweet and generous personality! bear_wub

So... I did indeed use the lovely Goldie pattern SueAnn donated for practice since I knew it was tried and true, and without the fear of failure my fantastic new stash of mohair freed me from, I went to town on working on this little bear! bear_thumb

What I learned: While synthetic furs, even the high quality ones, are wonderful to touch, they all have a bit of stretch, some minor, some hugely distorting, which indeed affects how the bears features turn out and can, if your Not careful, change the entire shape depending on how you stuff. A mohair bear can be distorted with a sloppy stuffing job, I've found out that quality mohair is much more forgiving when it comes down to it because it doesn't stretch to the same degree. It generally can be trusted to stay in the shape of your pattern, and not warp at seam lines! This means that you must be accurate with the tracing and stitching of your pattern... I admit to having a few seams I had to  , but all in all, the mohair responded wonderfully. I wasn't expecting that sewing through the backing would take a little more push than the softer faux fur backing (though common sense should have clued me in bear_tongue  ) it was still easier than messing with real leather!

Here's a sneak peak of my progress so far, though I think my Goldie definitely ended up being a boy. I'm thinking he might look like a Joey, Louie or Ernie/Ernest! He's by no means perfect, but I'm extremely excited about how he's turning out! I want to try eyelids on him too! Which has been the only thing that has intimidated me this time!

I'm stuffed, unjoined, but I added a tail!


I'm almost pleased with his nose! But his fur has given me a touch of trouble with its wavy texture to shape it. I really like the scruffiness tbh!

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 19,815

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Fantastic work on the Goldie pattern, Amber!  Glad you noticed how much easier it is to work with mohair rather than faux fur.  Looking forward to seeing more of your creations.

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 5,964
Website

Oh, he's definitely a Joey, Amber! I noticed how well you did with that nose, too (even before you mentioned it, tee hee).

I can also see that you embraced the scruffy in this mohair. The texture wouldn't have been right for trying to sculpt "cheeks" etc., and with the pile direction on the head going down/forward, he is true to his roots. Sue Ann's Past Time Bears also had that feature.

The tail looks totally cute, and I'm eager to see him all filled up and jointed!  bear_original

Becky

BerLynne Ontario -GTA
Posts: 51

Thanks so much,  ladies,  your encouragement means a lot to me!  bear_wub   I really hope to be able to create on the same level of skill you all can one of these days! (I've got patience , I know it won't happen overnight  bear_laugh  )

(Sorry for the delay in response ! Semi on vacation...  and preparing to move at the same time. Kinda counteractive!  bear_wacko  )

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