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 Teddy Bear Making Skill Centre
Some Expressions Used In Bear Making

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 The Skill Centre< Bear making expressions


 Bearmaking Expressions...
                    ...what on earth are they talking about?

THE Mohair or Synthetic Fabric

Selvedge... The side edge of the fabric. It is sometimes marked with needle holes where it has been held by the machines which made the fabric.

Grain... The grain runs along the length of the fabric. It is the same direction as the selvedge.

Nap... The direction that the fur lays. If you run your hand over the fur in various directions you can tell which way the fur lays. Look at the cut edge, the fur will lay along the cut edge in one direction and this is the nap.


Seam Allowance: Draw your stitching lines about a 1/4 inch (6mm) from the cut edge unless the pattern tells you otherwise.

Darts: A dart is usually a ‘V’ shape on a pattern piece making a ‘V’ shape on the edge of the cloth. You sew together the two edges of the dart.


Back Stitch: Used to hand sew seams. Make a full stitch forward about an 1/8 of an inch (2mm) and a half stitch back about a 1/16 inch (1mm). Keep a 1/4 inch (6mm) seam allowance.

HIDDEN OR BURIED KNOT... To hide or bury a knot, tie the knot on the surface and run the needle back into the same hole the thread came through.

Bring the needle out at least 2 inches away from the knot, pull the thread tight to pull the knot back through the hole to the inside. Pull the thread tight and cut it close to the fabric. The cut end of the thread will pull itself back under the fabric.

LADDER STITCH... The ladder stitch is used to close the opening after you have stuffed your teddy. 

From the right side of fabric take a stitch through one layer of fabric 1/4 inch (6mm) away from the cut edge. Cross over the opening to other edge and take a stitch there. When you do it properly the cut edge will turn to the inside.

OVERCAST STITCH... The overcast stitch is used to finish the raw edge of the ear and to sew the ear to the head. As its name suggests, the thread wraps over the edge of fabric.

RUNNING STITCH...  The running stitch is used to gather fabric together. You run your needle in and out of the fabric in a line along the seam allowance.

TAILOR TACKS... Tailor tacks are thread markers that you attach to your fabric to show you the position of the eyes and ears. 

They are placed on the outside of the fabric and you insert one stitch at each location that you want to mark leaving an inch (25mm) of loose thread tails on both ends of the stitch with no knots. Remove them when you have positioned your eye or ear.

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Head and Arm JOINTS

SAFETY JOINTS... 2 plastic discs and a metal star washer with one of the plastic discs having a pin or shank moulded onto it.

The disc with the shank goes inside the limb (arm or leg or head) and this is inserted into the other disc which has been placed inside the body of the teddy. 

The shank is placed through the body fabric so that it appears INSIDE THE BODY of the teddy and is then held in place by the metal washer, inserted, very firmly, over the shank, inside the body of the bear.

COTTER PIN JOINTS...  2 discs, (usually hardboard) 2 metal washers plus 1 split or cotter pin.

With this jointing system, one of the metal washers is placed on the split pin followed by one of the discs, this half of the joint is then inserted into the limb or the head.

Once you have inserted the assembly into the body (fur should be against fur here) the other disc, followed by the washer are placed over the pin

To secure, from the inside of the body, the pin is then split and turned down against the metal washer as hard as reasonably possible. Use either your needle-nose pliers or a ‘cotter key’. Remember that limbs will loosen slightly with use over time.

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