Tutorial: Standing bears
Skill level: ADVANCED It might surprise you to learn that making bears that can stand is a lot of work! I tend to prefer the slouchy siting look for my teds -- they seem somehow "cozier" that way to me, and I like my bears to have a comforting, cozy feel -- so I don't make standing bears very often. When I do, though, some or all of the following tips really help. Maybe they can help you, too!
When designing your pattern, make the feet a little bigger than usual, and keep the pawpads kinda "fat."
Skip cotter pins and instead use bolts & locknuts to joint the hips. Make 'em tight!
Create an armature to stabilize the legs. Here's how:
Thread a bolt through the center hole of a "ring terminal" before poking it through the center hole of your disk.
Insert cut end of thick, plastic-coated wire into the ring terminal sleeve and crimp sleeve closed hard, using pliers.
Shape wire, bringing it down through thigh and calf, bending at the ankle and taking it out toward the toes.
Then make a U-turn and curve the wire back onto itself, stopping at ankle.
Wrap wire around itself several times, or use strong tape to encase cut end and bind it there.
Wrap the shaped armature with polyfil pulled into thin strips.
Secure polyfil in place with a few stitches and/or thread wrapped around.Before stuffing, weight the feet heavily and make sure they stay flat.
What works best for me is to begin stuffing the foot with a batting/cardboard/batting "sandwich," THEN add weighted material (glass beads, pellets, or steel bb's.) The "sandwich" create stiffness, keeps the feet flat, and prevents show-through and feel-through of the weighting material. You can skip the "sandwich" if you don't mind feeling the heavy stuffing materials through the footpads... or if you're using a tightly woven or pelt footpad textile that masks them.
Using fingers or a stuffing tool, add wads of polyfil to the space around the wrapped wire assemblage.Stuff the legs REALLY firmly, especially around the ankles. Then stuff the ankles some more. And then again. The ankles are critically important as they're the easiest place for the legs to fold, collapse, and "fail."
Stuff the body to encourage balanced standing. Pour several tablespoons of rust-proof bb's into the toe of a nylon stocking and tie it off, creating a bb pouch, trimming off any excess above the knot. Place the pouch low down in the tummy over a thin layer of polyfil, flattening it out so it fills the pelvic space broadly. Stuff the belly well right on top of the bb pouch, to maintain its position in the body cavity. This will keep your bear's center of gravity very low.
Don't place the head too far forward. If you do, no matter what else you do at hips and legs, your balance will be off and your bear won't stand.
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