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Ev Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 13

Hi All, I was just wondering what a true center seam head is. Designing a new bear pattern and I would like the nose area quite short; something I haven't managed to acheive with a gusset. I thought I should make the  head pattern  in four parts with a seam running down the entire front of the head to the neck joint and then the back of the head in two pieces. I can use darts to add any further shaping I would need. Is this right or is a center seam face just a gusset that is divided in two? Help please!!
Blessings, Ev

HeidiBears florida
Posts: 321

Hi Ev,
I've never done a four part head like you mentioned , I'm sure that the other bear makers can help you with that.. but from my experience working with a gusset I think that it just makes the head/ snout wider... the side pieces themselves seem to be what make the nose longer so I would think that if you were to just shorten the front part of your side pieces and leave the gusset the same width but end it where the side pieces end then it should help.. I'm still pretty new to bear making so please correct me if I'm wrong...

karenaus Melbourne
Posts: 694

Originally yes, I think the term centre seam referred to a gusset that was cut in two lengthwise. I've heard that when Steiff was laying out their patterns on the fabric, to have less waste, every 10th or so bear had a gusset with a seam in the middle. So because there were fewer of these bears they became desirable to collectors... How true all this is I don't know! bear_grin
     I dont think there's a hard and fast law whether your 4 piece head idea can be called a centre seam, it *does * have a centre seam so to me, you can call it that..l I don't think anyone will haul you over the coals for it.
     I designed a head similar to what I think you're describing, in 4 pieces, it was a bit of a challenge to get it right and it took a couple of revisions but I am pleased now. One thing I found was the head pieces needed to be bigger in proportion to the body, than the head pieces for a traditional 3 piece head. It's fun to add another look to your collection tho, and I'm glad I persevered.
     As far as the short nose is concerned, I don't think the gusset itself would make your snout too long, if you make the snout piece on the gusset the size you think you want and make the head sides correspond, you should be able to make the nose as short as you like.
     Relly, I don't think there's any "right or wrong" way to do things as long as it doesn't affect the workmanship- if you want to do something and it works, go for it bear_grin

dangerbears Dangerbears
Posts: 6,021

From your description, I thought immediately of Kelly Jo (Joibears) bears:

She definitely makes it work. bear_flower


Ev Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 13

Thanks, ladies!! Yes, that was the difference I was looking for. I looked at Kelly Jo's bear and yes, that is kind of the picture I had in my head as an actual center seam bear. It seems so easy to get the shape of the nose the way I want it with just one seam. I have tried to shorten the gusset and the sides but I can't seem to tweak it to get exactly what I am looking for. I think it would be easier to tweak the rest of the head. I am going to give it a whirl and see what pops out.  bear_thumb

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

Oh, what Wonderful things you can accomplish with a center seam! I think that most (and I so hate to generalize... ) artists cut the seam on the straight grain and let it go at that: but when you begin to add darting for rounding out particular parts - back of the head - slots where the ears will slip into.. you really begin Design Class 101.

Here's 'Grandfather', who I used as a Logo bear for almost 8 years. He had enough slits cut along the center seam, in the bridge of his nose and forehead area to qualify him to play The Elephant Man.
Yet he turned out to be one of my favorite bears. That amount of added 'width, in tiny fanned-out & then taped-down increments, allowed for very deep set, needle-sculpted eye sockets.
And he had a straight line from top of forehead to tip of nose; it was my first lesson in Realistic Design!
It was definitely an unexpected learning experience for me, by just taking a pattern and saying "What if...?"




Ev Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 13

Thanks, Bobbie~I remember Grandfather!! I love that old bear and I'm so glad to see him again. Yes, I guess I am looking for room to experiment. And truth to tell, my gussets have generally been on the straight of the grain and then I have tried to work the sides of the head into what I am looking for. I have not been unhappy with my bears. I am just in a place where I know I have to change how I've always done things. What better time to try something entirely new and learn through the experience. A few years ago I started sculpting with clay to help ease the stiffness in my hands. I just love it. So to create a new pattern, I started sculpting my heads, legs, etc. from J-mac clay and took a basic pattern from that, sewed a vintage rayon prototype ( I have a huge bedspread that I bought that wasn't really good for much else) and then I start tweaking. I am hoping I will still have the ability to do it this way. Guess I won't know until I dive in again. Everyone's technique has evolved so much in the last few years it is almost scary!!! Brilliant but scary!! Ev

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