Okay, we left our bear at the end of week 2 at the point where we could start sewing.  Now the thing with bears it that they’re very curvy (it’s all the honey you know).  I found, through much experimentation, that the easiest way to ensure that the small, rounded pieces didn’t slip against each other during sewing, was to tack them together first (remember that the mohair will make it slippy).  I start with any darts that I’ve added to the pattern, so in this case, I have 2 darts in each side head piece, and 2 in each body piece.  Then I move on to any other free pieces that have no darts in, adding the paw pads to the inner arms, putting the ears together, and putting the legs together (leaving the bottom open to insert the foot pads).  I use a whip stitch when tacking rather than the usual running stitch as it seems to, again, prevent slipping:

I take these to the sewing machine first, so that I can then do the main tacking in one sitting.  A good rule is to start your darts at the edge and work in to the point, back stitching a little at the edge, but tying off at the point.

Now I remove the tacking stitches and snip down to the point, because I want to sew the main pieces together with the dart seams open.

Round 2 of the tacking is to do the chin section of the head, putting the arms together, and putting the body pieces together, then back to the sewing machine again before a final round of inserting the head gusset and foot pads.  For the head gusset, I originally used to only hand sew the piece, although lately I’ve built up to machine sewing down to the muzzle part and finishing by hand.  I always do the foot pads by hand, because, try as I might, I can’t get my footpads in nicely by machine, I think because I do very shaped pads, which have a sharp turn in them on the ultrasuede side, but not on the mohair side.  For all my hand sewing I use tiny backstitches:

Now you have all the major sewing bits done:

It’s time to break the seam ripper out now.  No, not to remove any stitches, but to release any trapped fur.  Although I trim my seam allowances, I tend to sewing a tiny fraction onto the fur side, so I like to go round and ease any strands back through from the stitching to prevent seam tuftiness.

At this point you might think that we’re ready to stuff, but alas, there’s one more stage, which we’ll cover next week.

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