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ThReAdTeDs - Traditional, crochet, fiber, patterns, supplies by Berta Hesen-Minten
Barling Bears - Designed by Marilyn Lambert

Beth Anne Beth Anne Bears
New River, AZ
Posts: 73

Hi! For as long as I've been making miniature bears, I've used string jointed limbs with a disc/cotter pin neck joint. It was so easy to get the limbs in the right place with string joints. Now I've decided I need to move on and start doing disc/cotter pin joints on both the limbs and neck. I've been joining the limbs to the body before anything has been stuffed, stuffing and sewing the limbs closed and then attaching the stuffed head at the neck and finally stuffing and closing the body.

The thing I'm having a very frustrating problem with is getting the limbs lined up properly and the right distance from the neck or bottom. What happens is that one or all of the legs or arms is too far forward, back, up or down. I can't seem to see if they are in the right place until everything is stuffed and sewn. It is so annoying to have to take everything apart again to try and fix it. bear_angry

Is there an easy way to get everything in the right place the first time? I've tried making marks on my pattern piece and transferring them to the fabric, but that doesn't seem to work. They are still uneven.

ANY help would be most appreciated.  bear_grin

teeeej Brisbane
Posts: 623

With Cotter pins I like to insert them into the leg/arm, then stuff the leg/arm and close the opening. I don't attach them to the body until they are stuffed. Then I joint them to the body. This allows you to alter the position of your arm/leg without bending over the cotter pin. You could always insert the cotter pins and add some stuffing to the body to check joint position. This way you dont have to pull the whole joint out and start again.

I always mark my joint positions on my patterns. When I started designing my own bears I always tended to put my arms too high. I ended up having to study many of the patterns I had bought to see how joints should be placed.

Here's a couple of old topics on jointing..
http://www.teddy-talk.com/viewtopic.php?id=935
http://www.teddy-talk.com/viewtopic.php?id=2828

tcfolk TC Folk Originals
Tempe, AZ
Posts: 1,553
Website

Arm and leg placement can be a little frustrating!  I start with my pattern just like Pink and I go about placing the arms and legs like Therese once they are stuffed.  It is important to put a little temporary stuffing in the body to make sure the placement is what you want when you use this method.  It is very easy to move the limbs this way!  Hope this will be useful to you.   bear_original

Beth Anne Beth Anne Bears
New River, AZ
Posts: 73

Thank you teeeg, Pink and Thelma! The idea about temporarily attaching the stuffed and sewn limbs and partially stuffed body is great! I wish I had thought of that. Would have saved me a lot of frustration I think bear_grin Pink - Your drawing and website info is wonderful (love your bears!) and I'm sure I'll find all of it very useful.

And the info is just in time for my current pattern design trial. I'll post a pic when it's done.

Thanks again!  bear_flower

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Beth Anne, I will chime in to say that the ladies have given you excellent advice!
First I will say that I sewed my limbs shut across the top of the curved section because I found that easier than trying to get the needle in and out along a straight section or even along a slightly curved back or front of a leg or arm. With my way (tucking the seam allowances inside right in front of where I was sewing with each st) the needle emerged after each st and I could easily grab it to pull it on through. It made it very easy to keep the tension tightly pulled closed on the seam too, as the seam was right there along the exposed curved top.

When I switched to cotter pin (minis) limbs, I stuffed the head and attached it to the body, working through the body opening. Then I stuffed the legs/limbs completely right up to the tops where the disks were to be inserted. I placed the disks against the fabric on the inside the limb so that they would stay down from the sewing line approx 1/4".
This spacing is MOST important so that the disk will exactly fit under the seamline of the sewing once it's sewn shut. (Be sure to keep the left & right straight!!) I'm sure you've seen some bears that have a bulge sticking out across the top of the leg; this is not so bad on an arm because it would create the illusion of a shoulder but it looks amateurish on a leg, as if too small a disk has been used.

This now allows the leg to fit "into the body" and into any leg socket you may have created with a dart or seamline shaping. You can put a little stuffing into the bottom of the Body and push the cotter pin through where you think it will go, as on Pink's drawing, because yo want the bear's bottom to touch the seated surface as well as the whole back of the legs. They shouldn't be too low (the bear isn't touching) or too high (the bear's bottom is seated but both legs aren't sitting flat to the surface as well.)

When you're satisfied, turn the cotter pins off over the Disk inside the body, place more stuffing on top of the cotter pin in the legs and close those limbs.
Finally, close the arm tops the same way. Place the arm joints approximately right above the leg joints and experience will guide you in how far down to place them. After turning down the pin ends over the disks inside the body you can stuff the body and close the seam.

Here's a link to a (longish) post I did in the past on the easy and correct, non-puckering way to do the Mattress St, as brought from the sewing, knitting and other textile fields):
http://www.teddy-talk.com/viewtopic.php?id=16910

Beth Anne Beth Anne Bears
New River, AZ
Posts: 73

Hi Bobbie - Thanks for the great info! I especially like the part about fitting the limbs up to the body without the "broad shoulders" or "wide hips" look. I'm still having a bit of trouble with that part. Do you have any pics of bears you've made using this technique? I looked at your website, but it seems you've started making bears with needle felting instead of fabric and cotter pin joints. Love your bears, by the way! bear_thumb

I looked at your lovely ladder stitch demo. I've been using the ladder stitch for a long time and I really like the results, as long as I don't pull the stitch too tight  :0)   I'm definitely going to try sewing my limbs shut along the top instead of the back next time to see how it looks.

I would like some more info on creating a leg socket with a dart or seamline shaping. If you could direct me to a tutorial or give me some info yourself, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Thanks!  bear_flower

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

You know, we do need a section in the Library on - Sewing! It's what all of us do in one form or another. It's the one basic thing that we all have in common and brings all of us together and yet there is no category for it in the Library. I had to look through my past Posts to find that one on the mattress st. I'm going to suggest it to Admin.

There are so many ways to dart to add fullness or roundness to a body part. It's really just a matter of experimentation. If you look up in Pink's sketch you'll see that she has an upper body dart: neck to arm joint. That will give her ted's body a nice broad top side-to-side and a rounded front to back.I'm not certain about the other black vertical lines as the limbs cover them up.

The same type of Dart from the centerline bottom to the spot near the leg joint will give a wider bottom, but with the creation of leg sockets, especially if the dart is 'shaped', that is to say that the dart is drawn and sewn in a concave line. It sort of replicates what needle sculpting would do if you were thread-jointing but since you can't get at those areas as easily now you need to inwardly curve them to be able to 'seat' the top of the legs into the body there.

But a 'thread'/topic on darting would be excellent, especially for mini & smalls; we don't have the luxury of design space to cut the 2-part body apart and make (4) full seam-lines like standard-sizes bears because that often puts too much extra fabric inside the ted, plus more stiffness when turning and stuffing sometimes due to those extra 2 seamlines. Often, bodies are cut into 4 pieces and shaped along every line. In the smaller sizes this would add that extra bulk I referred to, so the darting along the edges is used instead, as Pink shows.

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

I've been using the ladder stitch for a long time and I really like the results, as long as I don't pull the stitch too tight  :0)

If the Mattress St is done as a proper Z instead of the H, it's impossible to pull it too tightly. The thread will straight out into a perfectly straight line between the sts and the sts will intermesh like 2 sprockets and the 2 sides will not pucker; that's the beauty of this st.

Keep in mind the look of mesh fabric while you're sewing this st. In knitting you are going under 2 horizontal bars on each side (with the exception of 1 st on the beginning and ending sides) and you MUST go BACK INTO THE SAME HOLE you exited for this to work.
It works the same in fabric, whether it's woven or knit: all can still be seen with as warp and weft threads.

You make entrance and exit sts of the same relatively short length and ENTER THE SAME EXIT SAME HOLE you came out of on each side. That's is what creates a more Z looking st instead of the standard straight across thread - H or Ladder st - which most individuals are calling the Mattress/Ladder St.
I use to teach bear students this in large mesh, rug-hooking fabric and rattail cording, so they would get the idea of translating this stitch into a fabric instead of a knit. It's done from the front of a knit or a woven fabric but it's the same thing!

You can see that by putting your needle back in on the opposite side just slightly ahead of where it exited last time, you've created a very slight gap between the sts. This is the typical manner that the Ladder st has been taught - straight across to the other side with your needle.
When these sts are pulled up snugly, that is what creates a puckering. One must keep just the right amount of tension on the thread: too much and the fabric puckers, too lightly and the stitching thread shows between the fabric edges.
But with the Z st, all of that is taken out of the equation!

Interweave Press℠ publishes several publications—Threads, Piecework, Interweave Knits, Quilting Arts—and they have all shown this same Z st configuration. I'm pleased that I learned this 35+ years ago when my knit store employer took me for teaching credentials in Knit & Crochet.

rikkisbears NSW Australia
Posts: 209

Hi,
have to chime in.

Bobbie's brilliant, she helped me out many , many years ago with string jointing (disks were too difficult for me in my little 1 1/2 to 2 inch mini's).

Plain couldn't figure it out, until Bobbie stepped in & patiently explained it.  I also ended up buying one of her patterns, which  almost had a MANUAL,( not just an instruction sheet) on how to do things.

Lucky to still have members around like Bobbie , with their wealth of experience.

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

blushing BLUSHING here...
(Instruction Sheet Kits drove me C R A Z Y!!!)

Ta, Rikki....So good to see you out of Lurkdom!
Me, too, come to think of it, Thx to Becky...

tcfolk TC Folk Originals
Tempe, AZ
Posts: 1,553
Website
rkr4cds wrote:

Here's a link to a (longish) post I did in the past on the easy and correct, non-puckering way to do the Mattress St, as brought from the sewing, knitting and other textile fields):
http://www.teddy-talk.com/viewtopic.php?id=16910

Hi Bobbie -I would love to have this in hard copy - tried to print it from link, but couldn't get it all - maybe not good enough with the computer - couldn't find it on your website or blog either.  Does it live somewhere else where I can print it?  Would love to try it next time I do ladder stitch.  In order for this to happen, I have to tack it on my cork board above my machine and then have it by my side so I can go step by step!  In all my years - and there are plenty - I have not heard of this.

rikkisbears NSW Australia
Posts: 209

Hi Bobbie,
seriously though, your instruction sheets  were brilliant.

I've sort of started checking in again once in a while, luv seeing what members are creating & selling.

Going thru  a bit of a  Bunny phase at the moment ( not mini's though ) plus I've been doing some bodies for some apes. A friend has done some wonderful little polymer clay heads, hands & feet for me & I'm adding a soft body, bit of fun, and something different to add to my cabinet collection .


Are you still needle felting & selling your creations?

tcfolk TC Folk Originals
Tempe, AZ
Posts: 1,553
Website

Thanks for the PM, Bobbie!  I'm dying to try this mattress stitch! tc

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