Friday, June 28, 2013

Tutorial--Eyes For A Stuffed Animal & The Ladder Stitch

Before I attach Penelope's head to her
body, I want to sew on her eyes.
I use glass eyes that have an attached loop,
just like the antique bears & animals.
I use a very long needle with a large eye and
 a long length of heavy waxed cord that's doubled.
 Any type of strong thread doubled will work.
Waxing your thread adds strength.

Mark where you want to place the eyes.
 My marks are down in the fur.
Insert the needle at the bottom on the head,
just to the edge of the joint disc.  Come out
where the mark is.

I enlarge this hole a bit with my sharp knitting
needle or wooden skewer, just enough
to allow the entire loop of the eye to go inside the head.
DON'T cut the fabric, gently spread the fibers.
If you want to change the placement of the eye, it's
easy to push the fibers back together and make
 a different hole.
Place the eye on the end of the needle and go
 back into the hole.
Come out next to the entry point.
One eye in place.

For the other eye.
Insert the same needle into the bottom of the
 head on the other side of the disc joint &
come out where the second eye is marked.
 Enlarge the hole.  Put the eye on the end of the
 needle and go back through the hole.
Come out next to the entry point.
Both eyes in place.

 Pull both threads, until you like the look of the eyes.
The eye on the left needs to be pulled in tighter.
Make a couple of secure knots.

 Cut the long threads.

 To hide your thread ends, re thread one double-thread,
 insert into the bottom of the head.  Come out
 any place on the head.
Pull tightly and snip the thread close to the fabric.
Do this with the other doubled thread end.
I use my needle nose pliers to help pull the thick thread.
 Attach the head to the body by finishing the joint
inside the body. (previous post)
If I am satisfied with the placement of the joints
I sew up the remaining seams of the body parts
with a ladder stitch.
Here is the ladder stitch done on a pretend
arm made out of flannel and bright blue
thread doubled , so you can easily
see how it's done.
  I have marked the seam line in the photo below,
just for reference.
 Start at one end.  Insert the needle underneath the
 fabric, along the seam line, close to where the prior
 seam stitching ends.
 Pull it through.
 Cross over to the other side.  Insert the needle
through the top of the fabric, on the seam line.
 Move the needle down the inside fold of the seam.
Come out about 1/4 inch away, on the seam line.
 Pull the thread through, leaving a very loose stitch.
 Cross over to the other side.  Insert the needle on
 the seam line, move the needle down the inside fold
of the seam.  Come out about 1/4 inch away on the
seam line.
 Leave a loose stitch.
Cross over and repeat.
See how it looks like a ladder?
Continue this crossing over & moving down the
 inside of the seam,

until you get to the end.
 I use the eye end of a large needle to push the
stuffing and seam edges down and pull the fur
up, as I tighten each stitch.  Start at the beginning.
To tie off the thread, insert the needle
Wrap a couple loops around the needle.
Pull the needle through.
Stick the needle back into the fabric next to the
 knot, come out anywhere.
Pull tightly
& cut the thread.
Finished seam.
 You can also tighten your stitches as you go.
When working with bulky fur, it seems to go
smoother for me if I do that last.
On Penelope's arm, the seam is virtually
invisible after I pick out the remaining fur that
was stuck in the seam.

Thank you ladies for your comments,
I'm glad you enjoy these lengthy silly
 tutorials of mine, but hopefully they help your
doll or animal making a bit easier.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tutorial--How To Make Movable Joints In A Stuffed Animal Or Doll-Old Fashioned Cotter Pin Joints

I have been asked to do a tutorial on
how to install movable joints in a doll
or stuffed animal.  I hope you find it 
Little Penelope the elephant is 5-way jointed.
Her head, arms & legs have movable joints.
There are several types of joints that can be used.
CR'S Online Craft Store has a selection.
I use the old fashioned cotter pin joints that were
used in the original stuffed bears and animals.
Edinburgh Imports has a beginners page with lots
of tips, as well as charts for determining the size
of joints and eyes needed.  
Edinburgh Imports-Beginners Page
This package of 3/4 in. joints (enough for 1 animal)
was purchased at CR'S crafts for under $2.00.
It consists of  5 cotter pins, 10 discs and 10 small washers.
These are the components used for 1 joint.
The discs (fender washers) & cotter pin below were purchased
at our local hardware store, they work just as well as the
 others & the larger sizes are cheaper!  Just make sure the
 head of the cotter pin doesn't slide through the washer hole.

If your pattern calls for joints, placement for the
joints will be marked.  If not, you can just eyeball it.
Be careful to mark the inner leg pieces and inner arm
pieces.  You don't want to end up with 2 left legs or
2 right arms!
This is one of Penelope's arms marked on the inside.
Start by making a hole on the wrong side of the fabric.
Use something sharp to make the hole for the cotter pin.
A knitting needle, wooden skewer, or ice pick works fine.
DON'T cut with scissors, gently make a hole by spreading
 the fibers.  If the joint needs to be moved, it's very easy
to push the fibers back together & make a new hole.
You will need 1/2 of the cotter pin joint.
Take a cotter pin, put on the small washer, then the disc.

Turn your piece to the right side.
Find the hole and insert the joint.
The joint goes INSIDE the arm.
Only the cotter pin shows from the outside.
Stuff the arm.
I generally sew my remaining seam section with
a ladder stitch after I have attached it to the body,
 just in case I want to change the placement of the 
joint.  It's much easier if I don't have to remove stitches!
 (Link to tutorial on the ladder stitch is at the bottom of this post.)

Do the same for the remaining arm and legs.
Notice that the cotter pin comes out on the inside
 of Penelope's arms.  Paw pads face toward the

Heads are done slightly different.
Using strong thread, I use carpet or button hole
thread doubled, make a straight gathering stitch
 all around the bottom of the head.  Leave a length
 of thread on both ends for tying knots later.
This is Penelope's head.

Straight stitches for gathering.
Stuff the head.
Penelope gets a bit of stuffing in the end
of her trunk followed by some stainless steel shot
 for added weight, then more stuffing.

Her head is now ready for 1/2 of the joint.
Cotter pin, small washer then the disc.
Place the joint inside the head,

then pull the gathering stitches tightly and make several
secure knots.  Hide thread ends inside the head.

 Body parts are ready to be attached to the body.
Make holes for the arms, legs and head from
the inside of the body, just like before.  Turn
to the right side.
This is Penelope's right arm and the remaining 2 parts of
the cotter pin joint.  1 small washer & 1 disc.
Find the hole, insert the cotter pin.

On the inside 
 place the disc then the washer onto the cotter pin.

Using a cotter pin tool or needle nose pliers, roll down 1 leg
of the cotter pin.  The tighter you roll, the tighter the
joint.  If  you want wobbly joints, leave it loose.
Roll down the other leg.
The joint is done.  Finish the remaining arm,
leg  joints and head the same way.
Penelope just needs her head. 
I always sew on the eyes before I attach the
head to the body. (Link to tutorial on eyes
is at the bottom of this post.)
 If you want a wobbly head for the antique look, use a
 smaller disc in the body side of the joint.  Be sure to make
the underneath of the head very neat as it will be seen
with the wobbly joint.
 I sewed a flannel bag filled with steel shot
for Penelope's tummy for more added weight.
I put steel shot in her feet too, to help her
stand up.
Ladder stitch the open seams, add ears and
clothing........she is done!
How easy is that??
Click below:
Tutorial-Installing Eyes & The Ladder Stitch 

For a complete list of all my tutorials
click below:
Tutorials List 

Some of my stuffed animals.

 Happy Sewng!