It occurred to me that some new designers might wonder what benefits there are for two piece vesus four piece body shapes, so I'm popping this thread up for us to chew the fat out of it, so to speak!
My preference is to design four piece body shapes as I prefer not to worry about darting etc and I like the legs and arms to sit into the body neatly (if you see what I mean!) and I believe a four piece body gives me greater control over my bear design (does that make any sense whatsoever?!!!)
I recall that the early patterns I first used (many years ago!) had two piece bodies and I was very frustrated by the results -but that could just be me!
So, if you were advising bear makers on the pros and cons, what would you have to recommend?
I design two piece bodies simply because I can't figure out how to design four piece ones... I wanted to ask this but didn't want to sound goofy I have a new pattern that I designed and a four piece body would probably be better... but I don't know where to start ....any suggestions on how to design a four piece body? I need help ") my head shape, gusset and legs and even arms look good but I think maybe the body is too small.... I should finish it and get suggestions from you gals...
Ok, I am done rambling.... I would like to see where this topic goes
I used ONLY 4 piece bodies for many years and now use mostly 2 piece bodies. Most all of the 4 piece body patterns that I made have been turned into 2 pieces. The reason? I think sewing 2 pieces (even with the darting) is a lot faster than sewing 4 pieces. I will be back with sketches that show how I make the switch.
Okay, I'm back with the sketches. To make the 2 piece back, bring the front/back pattern pieces together so that they overlap approximately 1/4 inch in the middle. You will automatically form your darts at the top and bottom of the now one pattern piece for the back and proceed as usual for a two piece back. Aaaaccccckkk! That sentence is convoluted, but I hope you followed what I meant.
When I did big bears - it was four piece or darted bodies - I totally agree with you Paula that big bears need that extra bit of shaping otherwise their bodies can look a bit lumpish and their arms and legs don't sit so well.
Sue Ann - your explanation is so clear!
The joy of small bears - two pieces and no darts!! I found that the four piece bodies on small bears tended to create a lot of extra bulky seams that didn't need to be there. and created problems when stuffing.
Only time I do a four piece body now is on a panda - and I manage to do four pieces on a body pattern that measures an inch from top to bottom!
My two piece body originally had a dart at the bottom, but I have eliminated this. I have two body designs that I interchange for my standard sized bear - it took a bit of trial and error to get the shape right so that the bear had a nice butt and tummy but I have it now.
It depends on what I am out to create.....I don't mind either-2 or 4
I kind of like 2 piece ones because I like darts.....I like darts because there is an enormous amount of play with darts, when it comes to shaping bodies....sometimes I want shoulders, so I will make the dart and steam the fabric insuch a way so that it gives more firmness and substance to the shoulder area. I know. Its silly.
I have also played with 3 piece bodies, when I didn't want a center seam, but didn't care if there was a back seam....for stuffing whatever.....
I am a two piece person...but have done 4 pieces...then didn't see any difference....probably coz I am addicted to dense piles and you don't get the shaping so obviously then anyway. When I did some centre seam bears a while back I used a 4 piece body for a more authentic shape...maybe I should re-visit this method....hmmmmmm....
Okay Matilda - I don't know about brilliant tips, but these are what I have for you!
The pics above are for a 4 piece body pattern. You cut two of each, making sure that you have mirror images of each piece ... ie., cut both pieces out first and then draw round them in reverse, before cutting out the final two pieces.
So, as far as designing a four piece body goes, I think the most important thing is to ensure that points ABC and D on the front piece all match up with points ABC and D on the back piece! They need to measure the same distance and be at the same angle on the front, as on the back piece. That way the body will fit neatly together.
Other than that you can play! Why not make a bigger/smaller hump, or a fatter/slimmer body; perhaps you fancy adjusting the angle of the leg shaping/arm shaping, or even making the body longer/shorter, maybe he'd like a bigger bottom! It really is just a case of using your imagination and keeping those four points pairing with their partner points on the other piece.
Bear in mind that too small a bottom (tush/butt I think the Americans among us call it!) will have your bear toppling over backwards. He needs sufficient rear end to sit upon!
As you will see, I stitch to the top point on my bodies because I like the angle it gives my heads when the bear is assembled, but there are alternative techniques ie., you might prefer to design a body with the neck end drawn together with a gathering stitch, or incorporating a flat circle for an additional neck piece in a six jointed bear for example.
Once you've mastered the basics of the body design, you can play to your heart's content and start to think about chopping up your pattern to make inset pieces etc - don't forget to incorporate extra seam allowances for this though or your bear's proportions will alter radically!
I enjoy a two piece body with darts and have only done a few four piece bodies.Lots of great pictures and explanations in this thread.
Can I be so bold as to ask Dilu and Patsy to explain further (and post sketches if possible :redface: ) the whole concept of putting together a 3 piece body. I do understand the benefits and uses and have tried to figure out how to do this in the past. Please help if you can. :hug: :hug: Thanks
Thankyou Paula. There was a spot around the neck and shoulder area I havent been happy with on my designs, that's why I go for longer necks. I would really like to be able to make a more 'standard' bear, so your diagram has helped tremendously. It has shown where my problems lie. SO A BIG THANKYOU.
Sometimes it just takes a picture to finally get it in the head. hahahahah
Years ago when I first started making real fur bears I bought a book by the Mitchums..Making Real Fur Bears. they used 2 ovals for the body...this eliminates pelt seams, seam stress and affords finding the same fur color and length which gets tricky working with real furs. However.....
I did not like the way the front and back seam looked and felt so bumpy going around that curve ...pelt skins do not stretch, in fact you don't want them to....it just doesn't stuff right...so
I designed my own bear from there and definitely wanted a 4 part body to insure not only a better fit but could play around with the shapes more ...no more bumpy curves...now. I have revised that pattern so I am back with the 2 part body but....it has darts like the first drawing up above here....and the pelt fur matches up nicely......
I still use a 2 part body for some bears,..mostly mohair and real small bears , as it eliminates seams and bulk...Winney