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CHDandMe CHD&Me Originals
Posts: 5

If anyone can help. Why when I cut out patterns exactly as shown do I always get to the back of the bears head and the gusset is too short? or its lop sided. I hand stitch all my seams first before machine stitching so that I can keep the fur out the way and also so that my machine stitching is very neat, but this always happens to me. What am I doing wrong? I can show pics if you would like.

Barling Bears Barling Bears
Nr. Maidstone, Kent
Posts: 1,523

Hi there,
I am not too sure but the first thing that struck me was that maybe you are not "easing" in the fabric enough.  I have patterns where the gusset is longer than the side pieces of the head.  When I hand baste the seams together, I have to ease the gusset edge in to fit the edge of the head.  The extra fabric in the gusset allows for a little "lift" to the head when eased in the right place.  I first of all secure the points together on the gusset and head side where the eyes would be (nose joins forehead) and then secure the gusset and head side piece at the back neck end.  I can then easily ease the longer gusset piece to fit the shorter edge of the head piece.  I then do the same for the other side.  I am not explaining this very well and know I will think of a better way when I have posted!!  But I hope you see what I mean! 

good luck!

Marilyn bear_flower

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413

I do think it depends upon where you start. I always stitch the nose bit of the gusset in at the front seam first then I sew in one side from the neck to the nose tip..then I sew the other side from the nose to the neck. I pin then stitch on the machine..and I ease it as I go. I make sure it hangs together literally...I pin the centre of the nose tip to the centre seam of the head sides and then I dangle the gusset so I can see whether it hangs centrally and then adjust it if it doesn't. I don't then get any lop-sidedness because I check as I go. It is common to get this probem..I think maybe it has to do with right and left handedness!!!!

PS: Get a piece of string and lay it from the centre of the nose tip along the edge of the gusset...cut it to the exact length. Then lay the same piece of string from the nose tip on the head side and around to the neck...if it's too short it means that the gusset is too short and you might need to add a piece into the neck end of the gusset to make it  fit...just a thought.

All Bear All Bear by Paula
Posts: 5,162

I always design my gussets too long and then simply snip to length when I've finished sewing it in.  To echo Jenny's point about lopsidedness, it's really important to the finished result to ensure your gusset is stitched in perfectly centrally ... I like to pin my gussets into place, but ALWAYS secure the centre to the chin seam with a couple of firm stitches, I also baste the nose area to make sure nothing slips around when I machine.  As Ellen says, it's vital to have a symmetrical gusset pattern piece and the easiest way to achieve that is to fold your pattern paper/card and cut while it is folded.

kathytaylor Ruby Mountain Bears
Northern Nevada, USA
Posts: 1,467

Even in little ones this can be a problem, to make sure I start by tacking the nose, side points on the gusset where the muzzle curve begins, then again at the base of the head. This Usually keeps every thing straight and helps ease in the fullness equally on the head. I use this technique on big footed bears too, to keep the alignment of the footpad, I baste a spot at the toe tip and the heel of each foot. It just keeps everything where it is supposed to be. I have had patterns that the gusset was too short. So now I always check before I cut the fabric that I have made the pattern so the gusset is the correct length. I put letters on the nose, muzzle curve, tip of the head and base of head and line them up by rolling the pattern piece around the head piece if the letters dont match up or the gusset is short it shows up then.

Dilu Posts: 8,574

I'm with Paula,

as to why?

there are a number of factors,

1.  you could be taking a slightly larger seam...think about this, if your seam is one thread or two threads wider than the seam the designer's your whole gusset will be taking up more of the side head and will come up short either at the back neck or the nose, though I always tack and baste the nose area first,

in something like a bear the difference can be as simple as one thread- try drawing the sewing line on so that it is exactly the quarter inch seam you want.

However the easiest way to deal with it is to just cut your back next a little longer.

the smaller the bear the more crucial size differences in your sewing will be.



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

I always stitch the nose bit of the gusset in at the front seam first then I sew in one side from the neck to the nose tip..then I sew the other side from the nose to the neck.

Jenny, you must be a Genius!! If I understand (though you take special care in the muzzle area on both sides) if I understand what you're saying - you sew from the nose to the neck on one side and the neck to the nose on the other. That is a recipe for disaster for many bear artists, especially those with less experience!

Needing to ease some fabric in in certain areas, it's darned near impossible to get it done evenly done when sewing in 2 distinctly different directions! You are AMAZING if this works for you!

I've only ever made minis, where every 1/16 of an inch off would show, and the only way to be absolutely certain that nothing shifted and everything  stayed matched perfectly,  would be to tack the center chin seam to the center of the muzzle and the 2 points where the gusset and side pieces flared away from each other, which was usually about where the eyes would go later.

Both sides then got sewn from nose tip to neck.
shaking head.... Amazing!!

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413

It's not a recipe for disaster Bobbie...and I hope my bears are testimony to that. In actual fact the stitching goes in the same direction all the way from the neck opening on one side of the gusset, to the neck opening on the other. I just do it in two sections. Easing is never a problem sicne I design my patterns to fit but it even works on synthetics.

I have never had a problem with it and the seam stays on the correct side of the presser foot without having to turn the work upside down to sew it as I would if I went from nose to neck on both sides.

I suspect if you sew everything by hand that's different...but I don't and never will, I have used a machine since I started as a beginner.

This is precisely why I rarely interact on these things any more because there is always someone to say what people do is the wrong way and that their way is best.  Maybe I misread the meaning which is easy to do.

I don't believe that this method is a 'recipe for disaster' ....I know I am not alone in using this method..

I would assume that beginners know that there is more than one way to do things.

Chico, California
Posts: 9,939

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

For what it's worth, I pretty much sew my muzzles exactly as Jenny does.  In fact, my method might be even weirder.  Does that make me a SUPER GENIUS?  I hope so, because I swear, the older I get, the dimmer my bulb seems.  Laughing here...


What I do is:

--  Place side head pieces wrong sides together. Pin.
--  Starting at the nose area, stitch just the first inch of the two side head pieces together.  Fold open and finger-press seam flat.
--  Fold gusset piece in half and mark center point in seam allowance
--  Matching up center of gusset with seam of two side head pieces, place gusset and sidehead pieces wrong sides together
--  Pin across tip of gusset (where nose will go)
--  Sew only the line/curve at the very tip of the gusset from end to end
--  Pin one side of gusset to one sidehead piece
--  Stitch along gusset side
--  Pin other side of gusset to other sidehead piece
--  Stitch along gusset side
--  Pin lower part of side head pieces together, below stitching line from before.  Stitch to neck.  Et voila!

Since I'm always stitching along the gusset side (with the gusset side UP) when I'm machine sewing the head together, this means that, like Jenny, on one side I go from nose to neck, and on the other side I go from neck to nose.

I do pin everything before sewing to get an exact match with my pieces (I use alligator clips and a zipper foot, actually), so all the easing is done before any stitches get laid, and I sew really slowly on the head.

So many ways to frost this cake!

Hope these tips are helping out, CHD&Me!

Laurie Laurie Lou Bears
Posts: 3,246

I think I understand what you mean Jenny bear_happy   
You sound like you work similar to me although I handsew all my bears.I pin all my head together making sure that it is even all over and I then stitch one side from nose to neck and the other from neck to nose.By doing it this way the stitches all look the same from the top.It was really awkward when I first started to sew like this as I found it hard to sew backwards but I remember reading somewhere that this was the way to sew the gussets so I persevered and now it is second nature.
Laurie :hug:

All Bear All Bear by Paula
Posts: 5,162
Dilu wrote:

in something like a bear the difference can be as simple as one thread- try drawing the sewing line on so that it is exactly the quarter inch seam you want.

This is a great tip!  I always draw my muzzle seam in first and sew along the line I've made ... mind you, it's important to get this line exactly placed so that the seam allowance is accurate and everything drawn is symmetrical; it's also very important to use a marker which won't penetrate the fabric backing over time.  I don't bother drawing a seam line right along the entire gusset, just around the muzzle, but I guess it could be useful to draw a seam line right round if you are having problems getting your seam allowance even.  Kathy mentioned using markers ie., 'a', 'b', 'c' etc to match up the points on the side head pieces with the relevant parts of the gusset ... another really handy tip!  bear_thumb

Loads of useful info on this thread, now it should just be a case of drawing it together and seeing what works best for you ... good luck! bear_flower

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