Poor TBB II is getting a complex after last week’s comments, and he’s only a piece of mohair right now! Anyway, picking up where we left off, we had the pattern marked out on the fabric. At this point I use Fray Check (I use Prym brand) between the points where I have all the openings marked where the fabric will be turned through:
Initially the backing fabric will look very dark, but it does dry lighter:
You will have noticed that I applied the Fray Check to either side of my cutting line, this ensures that when I cut the pieces out the Fray Check goes right to the edge that it is meant to be protecting. I don’t apply huge amounts of it, just a thin line from the bottle (which will spread a bit) – you want to protect the edge, but you don’t want to see it on the finished bear! As well as between the openings, I usually add a drop to the nose pieces as well.
Once the Fray Check is dry, It’s time to start cutting. I use small embroidery scissors for this job, as you need to slide the bottom part of the scissors along the backing on the fur side, to avoid cutting through any of the fur. Below you can see the difference between a piece of mohair which has been cut properly (head piece) and a piece that has been cut through, fur and all:
The problem with you cutting directly through the fur is that you would end up with unnaturally short fur around the seams, which would emphasise the seams rather than hiding them, which is what you would ideally want to achieve. The longer the pile of the fur, the worse the problem would be, and it would be especially noticeable around the face. On the head piece above, you can see how the fur curls over the edges, which lets the seam blending happen.
Once the pieces are all cut out, I then move on to trimming the fur on the seam allowances. This is one of those things that no-one ever writes on a pattern, in fact they don’t ever mention how to cut out the pieces either! Trimming the seam allowances reduces a lot of bulk when sewing, but it also saves you from having tufty seams. This is Oracle, my very first bear.
I used a pattern I’d bought at a tiny fair from a now defunct bear supplies shop – I should point out that he looks nothing like the bear on the cover photo, and no matter how I have examined both the photos and the pattern since, I still can’t work out how you would achieve the cover photo, which makes me think that perhaps there had been a bit of a photo-sticking mishap when packaging the pattern! Anyway, at least he looks like a bear, but if you look at his muzzle you’ll see that around the seams there are very thick bits of fur that no matter how hard I tried to trim them back once he was finished, would not disappear!
In comparison if you look at this photo of Glinda you can see that there is no tuftiness on the muzzle:
Taking the scissors that I use to cut the fur out, I then carefully trim back the fur on my seam allowance, which you can just see round the top of this head piece:
Now we’re ready to start assembling the bear. Next week we’ll be looking at all the tools I use when making a bear, and the following week we’ll start on the assembly.