Hi Everyone! So grateful to have found this forum, with such knowledgeable and talented bear makers, especially now as I begin my third real-fur bear. I'm a seasoned doll artist, but pretty new to teddy bears--it took me a year and eleven bears to get up the gumption to tackle real fur. My first real fur bear was tan mink apparently cut from the bottom of a discarded stole. Next a bunny from a rabbit coat a dog chewed up. Then I bought (on ebay) a gorgeous gray mink jacket, described as damaged, with some tears across the back seams. Here's the question, and my dilemma: The pelts on this coat are very fragile and tear easily--they're soft enough, and flexible, but a little tug will see them rip particularly along seam lines. Is there any way to use this fur--of course I would line it as I did my other two, but is that enough to make it usable? Is there anything else I can do? I've read through all of the real-fur-forum Q&A's, and notice some artists use leather conditioner. What brand leather conditioner should I buy, and would it help at all? I've also considered just making and stuffing one body part and lengthening my stitch length to see if it holds up. I don't have a lot invested in this fur, but still, I hate to throw it out--the fur is lovely and isn't pulling out from the pelt backing at all--but the pelts are just not as forgiving as the rabbit and tan mink fur that I worked with. So very grateful for any advice (even if it's, gulp, what I don't want to hear). Lynne
Hi, Lynne . . . I've made a few bears out of mink and used fusible interfacing fabric for lining material. There are many kinds and weights and the trick is to use the right one for your pelt. And, of course, you need to be careful so that the iron isn't hot enough to damage the fur. Someone else may have a different suggestion - hope you find a solution that works for you.
Ah SueAnn, thank you so much for your prompt response! Fusible interfacing could be a solution for making the fur stronger (as long as I'm veeery careful with the iron), or I noticed in the fur forum that somebody had used Sulky+ --are you familiar with that, and could one use it in place of the muslin lining? There's no iron involved with this product since it's kinda like contact paper from what I understand. So many questions in trying to resuscitate this old fur and bring life back to it! Thanks again for your help. Lynne
There are several kinds of Sulky stabilizers that I was not aware of when I made my mink bears. The particular one I think you are referring to is the sticky tear-away that requires no iron and you might prefer it to the interfacing I used. Here's a link for you to consider. Good luck. http://www.sulky.com/products/stabilizers/tear-away/
Well, that will be a first . . . a bear named after me.!! I do hope you find something that will work for you, though. I took a look at your website and wow, girl, you make a fine-looking doll! Very creative and obviously well made. I look forward to seeing the bears you create.
Well, Sue Ann, if I can coax a bear out of that fur, I just hope it's cute enough to 'bear' your name:). Here's what I've decided in terms of breathing life back into the fur: I've ordered a leather conditioner called "beesbutter"--it has no chemical smell which I was concerned about with the other conditioners that smell like shoe polish; hopefully the softening will be helpful, if not curative. Next, I will attempt a light weight fusible backing (I'll try a sample piece first to be sure I can apply it without damage.) I checked out all of the Sulky sticky brands (site you mentioned) and while I like the concept (no heat), I'm concerned they might not be strong enough, since they are more of a paper thing, meant to be torn away, it looks like. Thank you again for your encouragement and advice, and thank you for your kind words on my website--I'm afraid I don't do a very good job of keeping it current (I tend to forget about it). I'll attempt to post a pic of my two fur bears, "minky"--named for obvious reasons, and Boscoe-the-bunny--named for the dog that ate the coat.
Pasting this is from the Technical Help section. I hope it works!
Your photo must be a .jpg file type, and must be fairly small, with a maximum pixel width of 185. If you only have large digital photos of your work, and don't quite understand what "maximum pixel width of 185" means (!), try using your photo editing program to downsize your picture to a resolution of 72 dpi (dots per inch) and a size of 2 x 2 inches. That sizing generally works as a first attempt; if your photo's still too big, though, you can adjust down from there.