Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Project 52 - Miniature Bear Making - #9

Ladder stitch for closing openings 

Ladder stitch is one of the most useful stitches for teddy bear making.  Miniature bears often do not have a lot of fur to hide their seams.  Being able to close openings neatly is important.

Here is how I do it.
Thread a needle with strong thread.  Start with a knot. (Try to find a thread that closely matches the colour of your fabric.  Mine is red so that you can see what I'm doing!)
The knot is lost inside the opening by bringing the needle through from the inside of the limb when you take the first stitch.
Take the next stitch in and out through the fabric on one side of the opening.  The needle stays parallel to the opening. 
Take the thread across the opening, and make a small stitch on the opposite side.  Then over to the other side and take a small stitch, and so you carry on.
Be careful that the threads running over the opening stay parallel to one another.  Can you see where the term 'ladder' stitch comes from? 
If the threads do not lie parallel to one another, the fabric will pucker and make an unsightly bundle when you pull the thread tight.
After every two or three stitches, pull the thread tight.  If you wait until you have sewn over the entire opening, the stitches might be too many, and the thread won't pull.  Before I pull the stitches tight, I use the tip of my hemostat to make sure that the raw edges of the fabric are turned under, and that no stuffing is poking out between the threads.
When the opening is closed, pull the needle through the loop of the last stitch to make a little knot.
Lose the thread through the limb and snip it off.
When ladder stitch is done correctly, you really can not see where the opening was.  Even using red thread, my stitches have disappeared after pulling tight.

This is my book page for Week 9.
In this miniature bear making series, we are using the Angus pattern, which you will find in my Etsy Shop, and on the Tin Soldiers Website.
Some of us are making a book or a set of note cards with techniques for miniature bear making.  I have made page templates if you would like to copy mine, but it could also be fun to make your own.  Every week, you will find printable templates for Project 52 HERE .

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