Now I can start stuffing, and I usually do this up to the edge of the opening hole when I’m using nut and bolt joints, as I will need access to both sides of the joint for these (with cotter pins I could actually stuff all the way to the top)
Moving on to the legs, I stuff the feet completely first to allow me to create my ‘pulled toes’. Next, I take my T-pins and mark out where the tops of the toes are going to be. I use a ruler to make sure that they come out evenly on both feet, then I use pearl headed pins to mark the bottom of the toes, again wielding the ruler to ensure it comes out evenly. As for the nose, I use #5 perle cotton for this, and I measure it out by following the path I’m going to sew, which is marked out below:
Like the nose, I thread my ridiculously large doll needle and work from the tip of the toe at position 1 above, going into the foot and out the stuffing hole, so I can tie off the end, then I rethread the needle with the other end and pull taught. I work just outside the ultrasuede for the tips of the toes, so that it doesn’t rip through as I pull tight. The tiny stitches at the top are one of the best pieces of advice I have got on a beary forum, as they really help to pull the toes in. I also make sure that after I’ve taken them, I come back to do the next stitch to join the toes together very slightly to the left of where the previous one has gone in, so that I don’t get any obvious holes in my paw pads.
Now it’s time to put a little weight in there, so it’s time to grab a couple of pop socks and the steel shot. I don’t use a huge amount of the shot, I just make up a little bag like this:
I tie the end off with a knot, then stuff it into the leg, before working more stuffing around it so that it can’t be felt on the outside. Then I finish stuffing my legs up to the bottom of the opening as for the arms.
When I’m working on stuffing the limbs of a bear, I stuff all the way up to the bottom of the opening, before putting the joint in place. Looking at where I’ve marked the joint placement when I drew the pattern out, I grab my bradawl and make a hole at that point. I then hold the bolt up against the hole, and snip about one warp and one weft thread from the backing fabric to enable me to thread the bolt through. Before I thread, I add a washer and the joint disc, then push the bolt through. (Note that in the photo below the joint isn’t fully in place so I could actually show where it went)
The end is now in sight, come back next week for the final instalment!