Friday, February 21, 2014

Five More Random Teddy Bear Making Tips

Today I marked out on fabric the arms and legs for Panda. 
The longer I looked at the legs, the less I liked that tiny footpad.  This bear is going to have sculpted toes.  A bit of extra width on the footpad will be useful.
A bigger footpad means that a bigger foot is needed for it to fit in.  We have to make the foot first.  Here you can see how much bigger I made the foot.  Do you see how the bottom of the foot is curved and not straight?  This also gives more space for the footpad to fit in.  When bears have very big footpads I usually curve the bottom line of the foot.
Here's the much better bigger footpad.  All parts of the bear should be in proportion.  When I made the foot bigger, I made the arm slightly bigger as well.
How do I know that the footpad is going to fit into the foot?
Tip 1.  Measure the distance half way around the footpad, and compare it to the distance available at the bottom of the foot.  Take into account that the foot will have seams already sewn.  In the photo you can see where I have drawn in the seam allowance.  The green lines represent the two areas that will correspond when you sew the footpad into the foot.  You can use a rubber band or piece of string to measure.
Then of course, I had to re-mark all the pieces on the fabric since I already had it done when I changed my mind about the foot.  Fortunately I did not start cutting yet!  I was too lazy to get up and find another pen, so I just used the same one to mark over my existing pieces.  The result was a maze of lines that hypnotized me.  Even as I thought I should be careful not to make a mistake, twice while I was cutting I started following the wrong line!
Tip 2.  If you need to re-mark pattern pieces on the fabric change to a different colour pen!
Tip 3.  Make a small hole in the template plastic where arm and leg joints are indicated, and be sure to transfer the markings accurately on to the fabric.  This will prevent your bear from having one arm or leg higher than the other.  Be sure to mark the spots clearly, once the limbs have been turned right side out, it can be very difficult to spot the dot... If you are scared that you might lose them, use a strand of brightly coloured thread to sew an X over the joint position.
The footpads for Panda are cut from mohair.  I have something special in mind for the footpad detail.  Notice the green arrows that are pointing to small lines at the toe and heel of the footpad. 
Tip 4.  Always mark the centre of the heel and the toe with a small line, and stay stitch these two points into the foot before you start sewing in the footpad.  Not only will it make it easier to sew in the footpad, but the foot will be perfectly symmetrical when you are finished with it.
Tip 5, for dummies.  Which is the heel and which is the toe?  The wider part of the footpad is always the toe, unless you are imitating an early Steiff bear.  With your bare feet, step in a puddle, then on  to a dry surface.  See your footprint?  Toes are the wider part!

This is as much as I'm going to do today.  It is overcast and sewing black fabric when the light is not good causes eye strain.  That's my excuse anyway.  I found the elusive Easter bunny from yesterday, and we are playing on the clay table.


  1. Yes you are right about having bigger foot pads for Pulled toes. I'm sure the Panda will be wonderful.
    Hugs Kay

  2. The little panda is gorgeous! Any chance of this little guy becoming a Panda Making Course?

    1. This is going to be a pattern soon, Coraleen!

    2. I will be watching out for it on your website!!! Hugs