I did a search hoping to find some answer but found notta...
How does everyone sew on their bears ears? I feel like mine aren't secure enough and will just pop off...no matter how I do them. I feel like my stitching shows too much...although I've been told that my stitching doesn't show at all....HA...I can see it. I've read several books and they all basically seem to say the same thing...but thought I'd get some insight from you.
Hi Shantell. You are a curious girl. I like that!
I sew across the bottoms of my ears first, by hand, with a whip stitch.
Then, I hold them up to the head and mark, with ball-headed straight pins, where I want them to be. I mark in two places for each ear; at the top of the ear, and at the bottom.
I then tack down top and bottom points for each ear.
After the top and bottom points are tacked in place, I find a mid point, and tack there. If the bear is REALLY big, with REALLY big ears, I might tack twice more... for a total of five tacked points across the bottom edge of each ear.
I secure each tacking stitch with a knot before moving on to the next, so any one tackspot could hold the ear in place if necessary.
When all that pinpoint tacking down is finished, I return to the top corner of one ear. Then, using a ladder stitch, I secure the ear to the head. I do this from the backside, and I go through both layers of the ear (back and front) when I take my stitches.
Pull really tight, and you get a wonderful curved shape to boot! Then secure with two final knots, bury the thread, and voila!
Hope this helps.
Thanks Shelli...yeah I am kinda curious...or perhaps it's just plain nosey It's nice to be able to come here and find/get answers. Everyone is so helpful, friendly and encouraging.
Is there some secret technique for eliminating the "thick" corners after you turn your ears right side out. It seems that the corners have alot of bulk from sewing them and I wonder if I'm missing something simple.
The tacking idea is wonderful...I'll try that on my next bear. I've been pinning them but not tacking them down first before doing the ladder stitch which has taken some getting use to.
Nancy Tillberg has a great suggestion for avoiding bulk on the edge of the ears. In her book "101 Bears to Make " she says to cut out the ear in one piece. mark the fold line, fold in half and sew the curved edges. Then slit along the fold line to turn the ears. I tried it and it worked great.
Shelli, thanks for the tip on tacking the ears. I always have had trouble with ears too. I have been trying to sew them on by just pinning them in place. Tacking them makes a lot more sense.
My bear making has improved so much since I joined this forum thanks to you wonderful, talented ladies.
I too don't like sewing the ears on. I seem to hold the bear so tight that Im afraid of hurting him/her!! Good idea about tacking them down I sew the ends together as well but then just pin them in place, sew and hope they are even. Im going to tack them from now on. - Thanks Shelli.
As for the bulk one of my friends was asking about that problem as well. I did suggest the ear folded over to her and she said it worked a lot better. But on some ears depending on the shape you can't do the fold over. Any suggestions for those types of ears?
I know that one about cutting the ear as one piece...but it works best on small or tiny bears as the nap will go down on one side of the ear and up on the other side...which is OK if you want that but I like the nap to go up on both sides, especially if the fur is straight or short.
What I do on any size ears to reduce bulk in the corners .... is to stitch the curve but then change your stitches to small per inch on the ends...and back stitch there a few times.
Now, I can clip almost all of the seam off the ends and fray check.
I then trim the fur off the bottom seam, turn under and ladder stitch closed.
I found Jennifer Laings method of sewing the ears on to be the best I have found ...Winney
Yes, Winney....please explain. I have Jennifer Laing's book "The Art of Making Teddy Bears" and there really isn't much of a description on how you sew them in. I've also have Nancy Tillberg's book and have used her method. I was just wondering if there was any sneeky little tricks out there...
It is in her first book' The Art of Making Teddy Bears " I since have added my own tricks that have worked out even better. I was having " Ear Wars " until I figured this out.
I will explain where I like them then you can revise my directions....
My way is to stitch the ears in " 3 parts" in order to control each corner and the cup of the ears...so they MUST turn out the same....
I like my ears to sit along the top seam... actually 1/4 " under it on the side head pieces.
First...I play around with the ears to get an idea just how I like them to look...place a long quilt pin where the top edge of the ear corner will be....
I install the eyes first..They are on accurately and so I can use them as a reference point for the ears.
With one long 2 ply strands of artificial sinue waxed thread I CLOSE the ear bottom first with a ladder stitch ...let the thread hang..
Using my trusty 6" ruler..I measure from the CENTER TOP OF THE EYE and UP ALONG THE SEAM to where I chose my inside edge ear to start. Stick a quilt pin there....Write that measurement down...
( I will measure for the OTHER EAR CORNER later ).
I now move that pin to 1/4" UNDER the seam..
TIP:I leave the pins in for as long as I can while working in case I make a boo boo...then I don't have to remeasure.
Stitch once into the head then into the INSIDE EAR CORNER and pull the ear on...stitch once more in the head then knot to " nail " that ear down...there is not a chance that the corner is going to shift later on ...
Cont. ladder stitching for 1/4 the ear bottom (Jennifer does 1/3, test it ) ...now, stitch in the head and knot there...let the needle and thread hang...
Here is the part about measuring for the OUTSIDE ear corner...
Curve the ear with your hand forward into a cup... TIP: the outside edge of the ear should curl around to end not as much forward as the top edge ..make it about 1/4 " to 1/2" less.
Put a long quilt pin there.
To be sure both ears turn out the same...
Using my ruler, I first measure from the TOP edge of the ear pin STRAIGHT DOWN to that pin I last placed. Lets say it measures 2 1/4 " ...write that down...
Also measure how far that pin is from the outside CENTER edge of the eye.....write that down.
Now...I can go place the pins for the other side of the head for the ears...or do it later.
One thingI do... is write these measurement onto the head pattern piece...I draw a diagram on the pattern...for the ears and the nose/ mouth .
OK..I stitched 1/4 the ear and the thread is hanging ...so now I go INSIDE the head and OUT where the last pin is for the OUT SIDE EAR CORNER then go into the EAR corner ... then pull that ear edge onto the head.... take another stitch in the head and then knot..."nail it down "...
Pull the center back of the ear towards the back of the bear ( the cup ) and stick a pin there to maintain the ear cup.
I now cont. ladder stitching on the BACKSIDE of the ear bottom to the top ear edge where I started...I only stitch thru the top layer of fabric as I have already secured the ear layers at the bottom...
Look over to see if the ears are on the same..if I find one corner does not match the other ear I simply go inside the bear head then catch that ear coner then Pull it towards whatever direction it need to go to correct....then secure it with a stitch and a knot...
I will feel and check over my stitching so there are no unstitched or loose areas...if its OK...then I knot off and bury a long thread but don't cut it yet...
...I will bunka brush all around the ears first then cut the thread . This is so I don't pull out the thread end while bunka brushing...
Another thing I found out that helps me..I am right handed so I stitch the ear on the right facing me first...its harder stitching up rather than down on the backside of an ear ..altho since I have developed these steps it is less of a problem as I said...I stitch the ears on in 3 sections so the areas are " nailed' down " so they do not shift when stitching the other areas...also it really helps a ton using waxed artificial sinue...
Hope this helps any of you who have been having " Ear Wars".... and may the force of stitching in parts go with you......Winney
Thanks Winney...your a peach!!! Can you tell me what page Jennifer Laing's ear directions are on...I still can't find them other than a small paragraph where she talked about leaving the thread hanging to be used to sew the open edges under and attached the ear to the head. I'm trying to picture all of this and am probably making it more difficult than I need to...typical for me. I'm printing out your instructions and putting them my book... :D ..so I can find them later.
Thanks so much....between these and Shelli's tacking suggestion I should have perfect ears... okay I'm laughing now... I'm off to conquer the Ear Wars!!!
To get rid of the bulk in the corners of the ears...I start sewing around the corner...just leaving enough of an opening at the bottom to turn the ear thru. It's a similar idea to cutting the whole ear our as one piece and sewing then cutting a slit on the fold to turn it thru..only like Winney said..that method is really only suitable for mini fabrics or fabrics which don't have a nap.
So cut your two pieces, pin together as usual, then start sewing at the bottom of the ear (the straight part you normally leave open), around the corners and finish at the bottom...just leave a space big enough to turn the ear through. Then cut off the corners, turn the ear thru..and all you are left with is a little opening to ladder stitch shut and your seams are already tucked in and all. I ladder stitch the opening shut and use the same thread to stitch the ears on. Just take an extra stitch to secure the closing stitches before stitching the ears on though...otherwise when you pull your ladder stitching tight after sewing on the ears, it can gather the ears a bit.
There..clear as mud!
Shantell...Its on pg. 45..no pictures tho. My directions may seem too detailed , many people need the pictures when trying to figure something out.
Just think of sewing the ear on in 3 steps . You only need to focus on one step at a time and it will be clear to you after you do it and you see how simple this is. Read the directions I wrote then do some little drawings of the ear on the side of your paper.... Winney