Friday, March 7, 2014

Trying a new fabric...

I saw this 'cabbage rose' minky-type fabric at the local fabric store and once I touched it I just knew I wanted to try a "Buckleberry" teddy bear in this fabric. Now this is taking me out of my usual range of woven fabrics but it is a good thing to try new stuff, right?


They had a wonderful baby pink but since I don't know if this is going to a baby girl or boy I had second thoughts and chose a beautiful honey brown (not sure what colour this will be on your computer).
To give this little fellow a bit of definition, I found a soft satin in a similar colour.

The sales girl and I tested the pile to be sure it didn't pull out should the baby put it in his or her mouth. (We are now learning to think of safety first in all we sew) She tore the fabric instead of cutting it - quite a surprise in these days of rotary cutters. It tore like a dream, again a surprise as the foundation of the fabric seems to be a type of knit fabric. 
At home I started cutting out and quickly found I had 'fall out' everywhere. (When torn, there was no fallout!! so this mess came as a bit of a surprise.) But it became an easy clean-up job for my trusty hand vac! Working with it close at hand, I could keep things well under control and not end up covered in bits of brown pile.  Even each piece that I cut shed as I picked it up!

Lessons to learn: Cut single thickness with the backing side up for more accuracy. I am a strong believer in grain and this makes it easy to know how you are laying the pattern pieces.
Pins seemed to work better than weights - just don't forget to flip the pieces to get the left versus right sides.
Work with a longer stitch length such as 3 rather than 2.5. Makes it easier to see the stitches and lets the machine glide over the fabric.

The satin worked out beautifully for the soles, the inner ears and the underarms to give a bit of visual definition.

If you have ever sewn fake fur coats (does that date me terribly??) or even real fur you will appreciate how the seams can slip and slide and how the fur pokes out of the seams. What I found was that if I basted (yes, the 'B' word) the tricky seams like setting in the legs, arms and neck it took far less time than fighting with the pins as I stitched with the machine. When you pin to baste, you can push the pile out of the seams so you are lining up the raw edges accurately. So much easier!!

When I was finished I took some time to remove the basting threads, tie off and clip all the threads before stuffing. One more thing to do with this fabric is to turn bear right side out and with a pin or seam ripper go around every seam and pull the pile out of the seams. Give the seam a little rub with your hand and it all but disappears!

So here is the finished little bear. Would I make another in this fabric? You bet. It is very forgiving if you don't get a perfectly straight seam. You are lucky if you can even see a seam!

I stuffed him with a bit less polyester so he would be softer and more cuddly than some of the others. I am hoping this Buckleberry will become as loved as the Velveteen Rabbit.

Hmm, I think I might try a pillow for the new mom from the left overs of this fabric to put behind her back in the rocking chair. One side cabbage rose and the other side - well this might require another little shopping trip; there are so many ways to go: corduroy, satin, velveteen, and on and on......

So till next time, keep stitching....

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