The layout below shows
how to get a 16" bear out of a fat quarter.
You can always
"shorten" the limbs and body a smidgen to avoid
purchasing a bigger pied of that precious mohair
Make a template
- to have pattern pieces that can be used over and over again.
Cereal boxes, file folders, used X-ray film can be used to
make a template. Either glue your pattern to the cardboard
or trace onto film. Transfer all the markings and punch
out joint holes. Straight of grain arrows are important.
You may choose to make a template for every piece you are
going to cut (i.e. both side heads, two inner and outer legs,
Establish the direction
of the pile of the fabric by stroking it. The fur lays
smoothly "with" the nap and stands up when brushed
against the nap. Mark the nap direction with arrows
on the backing.
Lay fabric fur side
down on a clean work surface with the nap running down.
(cardboard pattern pieces) on the fur backing. Check
that the pieces are aligned with the nap according to the
is just as important as the nap. A piece which has
been cut off grain can twist when sewn and stuffed.
Lay out the pattern pieces so that the grain line arrow
is parallel to the grain of the fabric.
the pattern templates as close together as possible to
conserve mohair. We've learned that many a "Beans"
or "Little Beans" can be made from the leftover.
create a bear with a different look, consider placing
pattern pieces against the grain.
Using a soft lead
pencil, crayon, china marker pen, or permanent laundry pen,
transfer your pattern pieces to your fabric. Be really
cautious about ball point ink and felt tip marker. The
colour may travel or bleed, especially with light colour fabrics.
pen vertical as you trace to get a best proportional bear.
you have not made a template for each piece then reverse
pattern pieces as needed. When a pattern says "Cut
1, Cut 1 Reverse" trace around the piece once and
then turn it over and trace it again.
joint and eye placement.
Before you cut,
do a final check. Are there enough pieces? Did
you "reverse" all pieces except the gusset?
2 or 4 arms
2 or 4 legs
2 side head
Treat yourself to
a pair of small bladed, sharp scissors. The "gold
standard" are Gingher which cut mohair like a knife through
Cut only the backing
by taking small snips just inside the traced line. The
small snips guard against "offcuts" or gouges out
of the fur fibers.
Once your pieces
are cut, then gather them carefully and give them a good shake
outside to loosen the fur fibers. Nice if there's a
Place the pieces
carefully away until you are ready to pin.
Some bear makers save the
scrap and use as part of the belly stuffing.
If you need to do repairs or replace an ear - voila!,
matching fabric right at your fingertips. Think
about small pieces that could be incorporated into
the figured bear of many fur finishes.
- For bears under
8 inches, cut ears in a circle (subtract seam allowance from
the pattern along the bottom edge). Using this circle
technique helps reduce the excess fabric on the corners.
To finish, sew curved edge, slit along center of the folded
edge and turn.
- If fabric is loosely
woven, then add 1/4" to "openings". This
extra allowance will help get a clean edge when closing.
- Fray check helps
create a stiffer edge and reinforcement. Use very sparingly
at "opening" edges, side head and gusset muzzle area
and along bottom of legs where foot pads will be inserted.
You can also use watered down white glue.
- If the fur is
synthetic with a stretchy backing, then use iron on interfacing
to strengthen the backing and stop your bear from bulging out.
- If you have purchased
a piece of mohair - keep if looking beautiful by hanging it
by the selvage edge.