I finally have a bear in a new pattern cut out. She's still sort of a flattie but with a different shape, but there is a separate muzzle piece that is a triangle and separate ears. The two ear pieces that you sew together are little bitty half circles that you're supposed to sew together wrong-side-out and leave a whole so you can turn. After you do that, do you ladder stitch them closed or leave the opening? Should I sew them onto the head before or after the bear is turned? I just really need someone to tell me how to do this. Those things are so little that I like to have someone with eyeballs there when I'm working with them because if I drop them, they're gone.
I'll tell you what I do, then I'll half describe an easier way and see if someone else can elaborate.
First, you turn and stuff the bear first. Then after I turn the ear so it's fur-side-out, I tuck the bottom edges up and inside and ladder stitch them closed. Then I ladder stitch each ear to the head.
In another method, which I tried during one of Nancy Tilberg's online courses, you leave the bottom of the ears open. Then you place the ear on the head with the bottom quarter inch or so folded back and lying flat against the back of the head. The folded part is now behind the upright majority of the ear. You ladder stitch that folded part to the head, and it worked beautifully for her.
I sew my head, turn it and then stuff it completely. Then, I add my neck joint (if you have one) and sew up my neck opening to keep it in place. I put the ear pieces right sides together and sew around them and then turn them. I have done it both ways - ladder stitched them together and I've also just left them open at the bottom and sew them on the bear. I actually prefer the latter. I usually sew my ears on at a 10 and 2 position if you think of a clock. I start at the seam at the bottom of the ear and pull some thread through and secure it. Then, I find the 10 position and starting at the top I slowly work my way down the front of the ear using a ladder stitch to secure it to the bears head and then up the back of the ear until I reach the point where I began. I secure it by knotting it and then I run my needle through the bear by pushing it in at my end knot and coming out the bottom. That's where I cut off my thread so I don't have any threads sticking up around my ear. I repeat the process at the 2 position for the other ear. I hope this all makes sense!
When I sew my ears I like to start and stop my seam in the bottom flat part of the ear. I leave enough of an opening I can turn the ear through but not much more. So I will have five stitches at least before I come to the side of the ear, turn my corner with the stitches and go up around the curve down to the other side and then turn the corner and do several stitches across the bottom of the ear. Tie it off. Turn it right side out and you have two nice neat corners on your ears that you don't have to worry about raw edges poking out. I sew them to the head using the German method where you have your thread at the corner of the ear go into the head and across to the other corner of the ear. Take a stitch in the ear corner and go back through the head to the first corner of the ear. Do that three or four times then take a stitch in the center of the back of the ear and tack it to the head. Slip the needle to the front of the ear take a small stitch into the front of the ear and stitch it to the head at the back of the ear. You have now closed the small opening of the ear and given the ear a nice cup. Hard to explain in words. Hope that helps some.
Sorry for being blunt. I really don't know the names of a lot of stitches because I sort of taught myself how to do this. I don't know what stitches are called. I think that's the biggest thing that I'm having trouble with. I'm trying to picture doing what I call a ladder stitch, don't know if that's the right one, on the outside of the bear's head. It might be better if someone would call me. Sometimes it's hard to explain things like this only using words and I really appreciate all your help.
I think the majority of us are self taught...its all about trial and error. I wish there had been TT when I first started. It would have saved me a lot of time and frusteration being able to ask questions. A teddy bear making book or a store bought pattern might be a good way for you to start and learn techniques and terms. Its always helpful to see how other people do things. Sometimes they work for you and sometimes they dont. Its a matter of getting comfortable with your own style.
As far as tiny ears...uughh I feel your pain there! When I am making a super tiny set of ears, I will sometimes draw out my ear on the fabric, then fold the fabric over and put one pin to hold it in place. Then I sew directly on the trace line of the ear. I like to leave a small opening at the bottom. I find that if I leave the entire bottom open, its hard to fold the corners under when I need stitch it closed. I use a long length of thread to sew my opening closed. Once I sew it closed, I run my leftover thread to the corner of the ear and use it to stitch my ear in place.
I hope this helps you a little....good luck with you bear!!
I think the majority of us are self taught...its all about trial and error.
Giving it a try is probably the best bet. One thing about Wubbie is that she isn't able to see, so videos are out unless the script is awesome, but I wonder about books? Are there any titles available for visually impaired people? (Wubbie, you're a pioneer for sure, and you may be the one to write the book someday.)
I've been trying to get audiobooks and braille books about bears and have been hitting dead air. I think I may try closing the ears and then sewing them onto the head after she is stuffed. I think I may have found someone to show me how to embroider so I can do noses and mouths also, but I don't know when that will be. I have to finish this flattie that is in the works right now before I start on this new pattern. The flattie that will be on facebook and TT will have a plastic nose and probably the new bear from this pattern will too because this lady is very busy and I don't want to leave her waiting that long. You can't stuff your bears before you put on the safety noses I use and I don't want to leave her sitting here flat for several weeks because she's going to be my bear and I want to be able to enjoy her. The lady that said she may be able to teach me is my pastor's wife and she stays very busy. I hope you guys can tolerate plastic noses until then because I don't want to try something like this until I have someone to walk me through. Oh man, I just hijacked my own thread.
Maybe instead of sewing on ears after you have finished the head (as this is very intricate and I can't imagine trying it without seeing it) you could instead cut darts, little triangles, out of the side head pieces and while the bear is still in the wrong way, sew the ears into the seam of the dart/triangle, facing outwards which will be on the head when the bear is turned.
Still sew the two half circles together and leave the bottom open ~ attaching the ears into the dart/triangle means you don't have to ladder-stitch the base of the ear shut - which cuts out a lot of tedious work but still gives a good result.
Sewing on ears after the bear is done is what most of us do, but I have sewn ears into the darts for mink bears as it's horrible sewing anything onto mink on the outside using ladder-stitch.
Please let me know if that didn't make sense I'll try and re-word it..... I think sewing the ears into darts might be your best bet.
The thing about this bear is that she is sort of a flattie, but from a different pattern than I've used before. Joanne Livingston sent me a book of a bunch of teddy bear patterns. The lady from church that helped me cut it out thought this might be the easiest pattern for me to start with because it's basically a flattie except the face and ears are sewn on separately. There are no darts in the pattern and I don't want to make the poor lady cut out anymore pieces unless she can see them. I have a major scissor phobia, so I havwe a hard time cutting patterns.
Hey, I just got a bright idea. What would happen if I kept the ears open and then after I've sewn her up, before I turn her, I backstitch the ears onto her head? I'll probably stick some pins in the spot where I want them to go so I'll know where I'm at. I'll probably still have to have some visual assistance to make sure I get the stitches small enough and don't wind up dropping the ears, but if I stitched them on the outside I'd have a time trying not to get the knot to show. What do you guys think of this? Or should I get the lady that cut it out to read the pattern directions first???
OK I am having trouble visualizing what the pattern looks like too, but being a flattie there aren't that many combinations of what it could be. So, if the head is 2 pieces with a seam up the middle of the head, then to attach ears you could do it the way you suggested, or you just cut a very small triangle the length of the ears into the pieces of the head about the middle, and sew the ears into that.
OR, if the head is two pieces with the seam running around the top and sides of the bear, then you don't have to cut any extra darts all you need to do is sew the ears into the seam where the two head pieces join together. This way is the simplest I sometimes use it on minis.
I don't think your pattern sounds like a 4 piece, but if it is then once again you don't have to cut any extra holes just sew the ears into the seams that already exist.
I have backstitched ears directly onto the head only once, as the ear was just one layer of ultra-suede and the fur was very dense and thick - so hard to see stitches. It could work for you, and of course if that's what you feel most comfortable doing then that is probably the best way to go. There's nothing good about sewing when you're scared of just what you're doing - so choose a method that you will feel comfortable with.
I hope this has helped and not made things more complex lol.
Thanks. I think I'm just now starting to visualize what you're talking about. A flattie is when there are two pieces, a teddy bear shaped front and back. Everything is already drawn out and you have two flat teddy bear halves to sew together. You backstitch around the side of the bear. This one is a flattie of a different shape than I've made, but there's a separate face piece and separate ears. I figured I could start with this one since it's sort of what I'm used to, but with some extra steps rather than going straight from flatties to patterns with a bunch of pieces right away. I can't work on her right now because I'm out of thread and I have another flattie that I need to finish and then I can work on her.