Last, post in the process, sorry, it’s a bit long! Glad people have enjoyed this, hope it all made sense Glenna :o)
The first part of tonight is adding in the eyes and attaching the ears.
The eyes I use are English glass, and Lily is sporting 4mm eyes. I use extra strong thread to attach the eyes, cutting a length long enough to go from the eye to the back of the head 4 times. I fold it in half then thread it through the loop on the eye, and crimp between the eye and the thread at the end.
I then use a large doll needle to thread the eyes through, using an awl if necessary to enlarge the hole. Both threads must go through the same hole at the eye end, but come out of slightly separated points at the back. This means that when the thread is pulled tight and tied off at the back, the knot isn’t pulled back into the head and the eye stays firmly in place. The ends of the thread are then sewn inside the head and the excess cut off.
Once the eyes are in, it’s time for the ears. I use invisible thread to attach my ears and close my seams, it’s invaluable, and something akin to thin fishing line. I ladder stitch the ears on, which makes them stand up nicely.
The second part of tonight is pulling toes. Now I realise this sounds like something along the lines of the Chinese water torture, but the bears assure me it doesn’t hurt, honest!
The first step is to mark out where the stitches are going to go. Now my bears have 4 toes, don’t ask me why, they just do, and it’s nice and symmetrical! You’ll see I use 5 ear pins, and 5 pearl headed pins. I find it easiest to use this formation when trying to match up the other foot pad symmetrically.
I use linen thread for my toes as you can give it a good tug without fear of breakage. I use a large doll needle to sew my toes, starting at the tip of the middle toe, I thread down through the leg and tie a knot at the end then pull it tight. I then mark the middle division and work over to the left, only doing the vertical stitches at this stage, then do the right hand side
Once the last vertical stitch has been done, it’s time to work the horizontal stitches. These are what actually helps give the most shape to the toes.
after the first horizontal stitch, you then go up to the tip of the dividing line you finished at the bottom of and do an extra wee stitch at the top before returning to the bottom of that line for the next horizontal stitch. Pretty much as soon as you do this mini stitch you’ll see definition in the first toe.
I finish mine with a tiny stitch in the centre of the footpad. It should be a French knot, but I’ve never managed to make a knot yet, no matter how many times I’ve read the instructions for a French knot, so it’s just a wee stitch for me!
Okay, the very last bit is the jointing. I’ll hold my hand up now and say that I forgot to take a photo of the nut and bolt joint I used for the leg joints, sorry!
I always attach the head to the body first, followed by the legs and then the arms.
For the nut and bolt joints I use a socket set purchased from the local car accessories place, using the socket on the bolt end, and an adjustable spanner for the nyloc nut. I use the nyloc nuts for the limbs, but non locking nuts for the heads.
The arms and head are cotter pin jointed, and I just use a pair of long nosed jewellery pliers to turn the pins, as I find them easier than a cotter pin turner. I’m afraid the photo isn’t the best, but I ran out of hands to push the fur out of the way more!
Once the limbs are all attached it’s time to finish stuffing the limbs, and then to stuff the body. For Lily I just used bouncifill stuffing throughout as I wanted her to be solid, but not too heavy. Then I closed all her seams and she was ready to head off to my mum’s for mother’s day.
Her official studio shots will follow soon, as I’m afraid I ran out of time, but dad will be demonstrating his table top studio at his camera club on Wednesday, so she will shortly be a very photographed little bear!