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 Teddy Bear Making Skill Centre
Bear Making Fabrics

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 The Skill Centre Index< Fabrics - an overview

 

Of all your bear making supplies, choosing the fabric is perhaps the most important. It can make a tremendous difference to the look and feel of your teddy bear.

Mohair Fabric or Synthetic Fabric - Choosing Your Fur Fabric

The choice is endless when it comes to choosing fur fabric to make your bear.

If this is your first attempt at bear making, it may be advisable to start with a cheaper synthetic fur, until you feel confident enough to commence with Mohair.

MOHAIR FABRIC / PLUSH FABRIC

Mohair fabric is the "Rolls Royce" of teddy bear fur. It is made from mohair woven onto a strong cotton backing. Teddy Bears have been made from mohair for around 100 years and is still the most sought after fabric for teddy bear making. 

It is available in a huge range of colours and styles. The sparse fabrics have very little pile but they can make the most wonderful old looking bears.

Synthetic Furs

This is a cost effective way to make bears and it can produce some wonderful results. Do choose a good quality synthetic fabric - there is a wide choice of colors and styles available. There are even mock mohair fabrics that look and feel very much like mohair fabric.

TIP... back the cheaper synthetic fabrics with interfacing as they can stretch and pull your creation out of shape when filled.

Pile Lengths

When choosing your fur fabric, take into account the size of the bear you intend making. As a general rule, the smaller the bear, the shorter the pile you should use. This, as in so many things however, is not always the case and you can also make some delightful big bears in very short fabrics and some charming small bears in long pile fabrics.

Give it a try. Keep the same pattern but change the fabric. You will be surprised at the differences. With slight alterations to the eyes, nose and mouth, completely different bears can be produced. With a change in size as well, it could surprise you.

Fabric Finishes

Both mohair fabric and synthetic fabrics come in a variety of finishes. Be aware that fabric finishes are sometimes referred to differently in different places.

For example a fabric could be referred to as crushed but could also be described as distressed or sparse could be referred to as vintage.  People try to use words to describe what can only be accurately judged by seeing and touching or sometimes from a picture and you can therefore see how many names can be invented to describe one fabric.

Fabric Sizes

Normally when you buy a quarter meter piece of fabric off a roll it would be a long piece. In bear making it is usual to cut in "fat quarters" as this gives you a more useable area to cut out your pieces from the bear pattern The pieces are referred to as "fat" because they are cut in a square shape.

Fabrics are usually (almost always) sold in sizes of…

Synthetics: fat - quarter meter, half meter, and 1 meter

Mohair: fat - eighth meter, quarter meter, half meter, and 1 meter

A fat eighth of a meter measures about 50 cm x 35 cm. It is usually enough to make up to a 25 cm (10 inch) bear.

A fat quarter measures about 50 cm x 70 cm and is usually enough to make up to a 40 cm (16 inch) bear.

A half meter measures about 50 cm x 140 cm and is cut straight across the roll.

A one meter piece measures about 100 cm x 140 cm and is cut straight across the roll.

These measurements are a guideline only, and the size bear you will get from your fabric depends on the pattern design and how well you place your pieces on the fabric before cutting. As a general rule, always order a little too much than too little. You can always make a small bear out of your leftovers.

Most fur fabrics are easily sewn on a domestic sewing machine but a lot of quality bear artists sew their creations by hand. In practice, there is very little difference. Machine sewing is just as durable as hand sewing. 

For very small bears, sewing by hand is often the only way. We have spoken to people who sew the large parts on the machine and the footpads and head gusset by hand. Obviously, you choose the way that you prefer of feel happiest with.

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The basic tools - Some of the tools that you may need
Bear making expressions - What are they talking about?
Fabrics - an overview
Fillings - High quality polyfibre from Camtex Ltd
Patterns - laying out
Sewing up - Joining your pieces
Teddy Care - Caring for your teddy bear.

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