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Just Us Bears Just Us Bears
Posts: 940

I was wondering if some of you would share how you tie off your bear heads to best reduce the bulk at the joint?

I have always been a 'gatherer' and seeing as though my disks are usually a fairly snug fit, I rarely have a huge amount of gathers anyway so generally don't have much bulk. But despite this..on occasion I still have enough bulk that when the head is attached, it catches a little bit when I turn the head from side to side, which is incredibly annoying. It also sometimes prevents me from tightening the disks as close together as I would like to.
Some things I have thought to do as an alternative method are to:
1. Turn under a seam allowance around the neck edge and then gather on the fold of the seam allowance so that the bulk is inside the head.
2. Make a circle of mohair and stitch into the opening much like one would when making a double neck joint...therefore elmininating all bulk. I know Jennifer Laing does all her bear heads this way....but it is more fiddly and time consuming.

So what does everyone else do??I know some people's designs actually require the top of the body to be gathered in too, and would imagine that you'd get double the bulk at the neck doing it this way. bear_wacko

Cleathero Creations Cleathero Creations
Ripley, Queensland
Posts: 1,925

I ladder stitch my bear heads closed I will find the piccies for you

Cleathero Creations Cleathero Creations
Ripley, Queensland
Posts: 1,925

I use a screw set like this I call them grub screws but I have seen them called set screws.   But it works for any type of joint.

I use strong thread knot the end and start at the back of the head.  It doesn't really matter it is just what I do.

I have exaggerated the stitches in the next few steps so you can see what I am doing.  Start ladder stitching like normal.

you can see how I stitch around the shank (stitches would normally be closer together)

I tighten the stitches as I go but as you will see there is a little bit left under the chin.

Now i take my needle (you can see the end near my finger and the tip poking out the other end) and thread it through the bit that is sticking out and push the needle through to the other side.  Sometimes I will go over it again, but with small stitches and strong thread I don't think it is necessary.
As you pull the needle through it tucks it all in neatly

Here is the finished product.  The shank is very secure and it ends fairly tidily.  I am able to tighten the neck discs nice and tightly too!

I hope this makes sense.

All Bear All Bear by Paula
Posts: 5,162

Hi Hayley, I ladder stitch around my head joint too.  The only thing I can think of to help, is to suggest you add more stuffing to the head, so that there is less spare fabric to gather around your joint. 

Also, how about adding darts to the side head pieces - that will reduce the joint space and might help.  I find it helps to trim away the spare pile under the joint area too, once the joint is sewn in.

matilda Matilda Huggington-beare
Posts: 5,551

Hayley, I do your #1 and then I also ladder stitch.

#1 to get the fabric closer and ladder stitch to hold it all together.     Something like that.
Sorry not very clear. :doh:    Matilda

kbonsall Kim-Bee Bears
Posts: 5,645

I use to ladder stitch but now I gather... it is much easier... I also make sure to stuff the head firmly and never really have a prob with bulk  bear_thumb   I also gather and then do a few ladder stitches to hold my gather but you probably do that..  bear_original

Judi Luxembears
Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,379

Great photos!

Hayley, Another thing you could try is to add darts around the neck edge.  This will  also take up some of the bulk and will leave less area to be bunched/gatehered up.   You could also do this around the body top.

gotobedbears Posts: 3,177

I just cut the bears head off - et voila! no bulk  bear_wacko

ha ha ha ha ha ah....

sorry folks - having a silly half hour  :redface:

Marion Acid Attic Bears
Posts: 2,284

Penny :  bear_grin  bear_grin  :hug:

Winney Winneybears and Friends
White City, Oregon
Posts: 1,103

I don't have a problem with bulk..the body top is not gathered.
I clip away all pile from the neck edge for about 1/2" on larger bears...this removes a lot of bulk plus I can see better what I am doing.
Then I double thread with waxed linen  thread...and just gather all around  1/4" from the edge...pull tight.... then I go back and forth with stitches directly across from one another until I think everything is caught and pretty well lays FLAT..... then knot several times and bury the thread.....Winney

patsylakebears Patsy Lake Bears
Posts: 3,442

I tend to gather and then ladder stitch .......... Penny you really are in one tonight aren't you bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh

Eileen Baird'sBears
Posts: 3,873

bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh bear_laugh 

I just cut the bears head off - et voila! no bulk

bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh  bear_laugh

Penny, you've reminded me of that old joke from the olden days: "Want to lose 10 pounds of ugly fat? Cut off your head!"


Just Us Bears Just Us Bears
Posts: 940

Thanks for all the ideas folks! I pretty much do the same as Winney does...but still find that there is just enough bulginess to stop the disk moving freely like an arm or a leg would. I think it's really just the 1/4 inch seam allowance as I always stuff the head really firmly and close to the neck edge before adding the disc and closing.

Judi and Paula...I added a dart at the neck edge on the last one...but then my neck hole was too small for the disc ( bear_wacko ) so I had to make another head...don't we all love doing that!!!  bear_wacko  I guess you have to make the whole head wider when adding darts huh. bear_rolleyes My bodies always have darts at the shoulders so I have no body bulk at all.

I think I will try #1 like Matilda does and then ladder stitch closed like the majority of you seem to do. Bronwen, thanks for the is true that a pic is worth a thousand words. I use epoxied bolts which works with the same principle as grub screws...only easier IMHO....but that's another thread from the past. bear_tongue  bear_laugh

So no-one uses Jennifer's circle of fabric method??

I'm grateful for all your responses....have to close a head this morning so will let you know how I went. bear_thumb

Eileen Baird'sBears
Posts: 3,873

bear_original  I do. I think it gives the bear more of a neck, if you're going for a neck.  bear_original

When I finish the pesky little guy, I'll post a pic.


psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

Hayley, I have used Jennifer's idea of the circle fabric.
I did only use it because my pattern was funny and I need to. But I found it was fast and easy to sew, and did make the most wonderfull neck joint.

I don't usually do it, but it is worth a try.

Kelly Blondheart
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 289

Many of the old bear companies used fabric circle jointing for their bears necks, also Steiff uses it for most of it's animals with jointed necks and in other areas.  If you are having a problem with bulk that might be worth giving it a try.

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