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Preciousprimates Posts: 4

Hello
I’m not a teddy bear maker but I make ape soft toys and am learning a lot from this community to refine my skills. For my next chimp baby I’d like to create a “skeleton” or armature to slip inside my pattern and wrap with wool, just to create some structure and weight. I don’t want to do that with wire (though might like to try at some point) just wool roving. Does anyone have any tips?
Also, I want to try needle felting the entire face and feet/fingers/toes this time (I usually sew those with wool felt from my pattern). Would you recommend I just shave down the faux fur and needle felt directly into the fabric (and wool stuffing?

Thanks!

BerLynne Ontario -GTA
Posts: 37

Sorry if I misunderstood but are you asking about creating a skeleton out of just wool roving? With out the wire?

I just started experimenting with needle felting my teddies (mostly to try to return some facial expression to a bear I trimmed a bit short  bear_laugh  ) but what I've picked up so far is if your using faux fur, trim the area well, I find the natural felting fiber doesn't mingle well with the synthetic , and it helps to stuff the area your adding felting to with roving.  bear_original  I've heard it's a bit easier with mohair but I haven't had a chance to try it myself..
It's not much, but it's less than  nothing, but I hoped it might help, evening just a smidge  bear_original

Preciousprimates Posts: 4

Thank you, this does help! I was thinking too that it would be important to shave down the fur so that I can poke through the backing easily. In my experience it can be hard to stuff firmly enough to get good contact but I’m going to try. I’ll be doing the face, ears, hands and feet.
My only other thought was to felt those things separately and somehow attach, but I hate the idea of using glue and it would be difficult to stitch...

Preciousprimates Posts: 4

Thank you, this does help! I was thinking too that it would be important to shave down the fur so that I can poke through the backing easily. In my experience it can be hard to stuff firmly enough to get good contact but I’m going to try. I’ll be doing the face, ears, hands and feet.
My only other thought was to felt those things separately and somehow attach, but I hate the idea of using glue and it would be difficult to stitch...

Preciousprimates Posts: 4

Oh and yes I was thinking of tightly wrapping roving as the “skeleton” and then covering and completing the stuffing with the other kind to wool stuffing (carded wool??). Just thought that would bake a nice hard center kind of like how they make waldorf dolls with a tightly wound wool ball in the head to make it heavy and firm

BerLynne Ontario -GTA
Posts: 37

Glue can actually be your friend! I've used both superglue  and liquid stitch stuff to attach clay horns and such with pretty good results.  The gel superglue worked best for my purposes, but as long as you use a thin layer spread evenly, it shouldn't stiffen up horribly. The only thing I found to really watch for is bleeding out around the edges.. with felt, maybe needle it in around the edges? I'm not entirely sure how the experts get that perfectly smooth transition from felt to fabric, I've been needling straight to the fabric, but I'm failing at the  smooth edge so far 

I've never thought of a felted skeleton! bear_shocked I use poly quilt batting wrapped around wire, which is just super quick. I'm still working on my basic shapes, I don't know if I could pull off a felted skeleton!  bear_laugh

Preciousprimates Posts: 4

That glue info is helpful, thank you! I wasn’t thinking of felting armature, rather taking wool roving and tying it tightly so that it’s kind of a hard core to wrap the rest of the stuffing around. Just a thought

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 5,914
Website

It’s an interesting thought, Preciousprimates. I’ve always liked to stuff quite firmly, but your idea might allow a softer, squishier feel that still had some substance at the center of it.
I don’t think you would get any bendability or standability, which is what armatures are usually for, but if you do try it, let us know what you do get!

Becky

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