Footpads and Paws
These can be a tricky part of bear or soft toy making. I recommend a strong cuppa coffee : ))
Assuming the leg you are using has seams running front an back, pin the center toe of the foot pad to the front seam . Then pin the center back to the back leg seam. With smaller bears, you may find it easier to tack the center back and front and forget the pins (much less painful : )
Next, add pins (as many as you need) around the foot pad or on the smaller footpads, use an oversew stitch to ease the pawpad in place.
TIP: Always pin at right angles to the edge (hopefully you can see what I mean from my picture).
Start stitching (and this is much easier done by hand). Work each side separately, starting each time at the center front seam and work back to the heel seam. Remove any pins as you go :)
Trim any bulk at the toe and heel, then turn through - Voila ! you should have a perfectly formed foot complete with pad in place : )
To finish,simply embroider toes and try shading with a pencil or specialist marker : )
Needle felting details
Hand shading toes
When we embroider bear's toes, we dont actually stitch the toes, we are creating the separation between them : )
On medium/large bears glass headed pins can help to mark the bottom of each stitch. You can also lightly mark the footpad, but if you make a mistake there is the chance that this will show.
Colour is your choice, depending upon the type of bear you are creating. Traditional bears will probably look best with simple black embroidery thread, whilst a modern bear may have wear colourful thread toes : )
Anchor your thread to the foot (I like to start at the base of the larger toe) You can anchor by stitching through the foot a few times (using the same point each time until the thread catches in the stuffing (this avoids a knot that might unravel.
Take a long stitch, taking the needle in at the foot seam directly above. Exit at the base of the next toe. Repeat until you have all the toes you need : )
Add a dimple
When you have finished all the toes, dont cut and finsh, bring the thread out at the center of the foot and go fro this center to the top of the foot two or three times, taking a small stitch on the bottom. If you gently allow the the thread to pull a little you'll see a cute dimple form. (And you can trim the thread safe in the knowledge that your bear's toes are not going to unravel : )
The stitches on the green bear above allow the toes to splay out slightly. Try using different stitches until you find your own signature feet : )
I love giving my bigger bears round, chubby toes :) they are not difficult to do and add a whole new dimension to feet !
You'll need to use strong thread that will take some tugging without breaking. Best to use a colour to match the footpads so your stitching wont show too: )
Make sure the toe area is well stuffed before you start. I find sculpting easier if I work ont he toes, then stuff the rest of the leg. this allows me to poke more stuffing into the toe as I stitch if needed, keeping them nice and round
Anchor the thread at the base of the largest toe. Unlike embroidered toes, I prefer to start it stitch from the top of the toe as this curves the toes over and under - looks more natural. Take the thread through foot , exiting along the footpad seam.
Bring the thread over the foot and enter at the base of the toe, coming out again at the seam directly above. Repeat this at least once more, pulling gently each time until the toes starts to form (add more stuffing if you need)
With the thread at the base of the toe return to the same position at above, but this time take the thread through the foot. Go back and forth from top to bottom (keeping the thread inside this time) Pull on the thread gently as you stitch and you should see the toe appear even more pronounced.
When you are happy, move the thread down to the next toe and treat this exactly the same, by swinging the thread over the foot to begin, then taking it through to finish as before.
You should soon have 3 or 4 nicely rounded toes formed : )