Jointing A Teddy Bear or Doll

The conventional bear assembly method is to complete the head and attach it to the body and then to sew and attach all 4 of the limbs to the body un-stuffed.  The bear is then completed by stuffing the body and limbs all at the same time.  I find it is better for the way I work if I completely finish each limb with the disk joints, then the stuffing, and the seam closure, and then attach each finished limb to the body as I go. The body is stuffed last with all four of the completed limbs attached. This way there is less bear to maneuver around than when the stuffing is completed all at the same time, and with fewer tendencies to stuff a "twist" into the limbs and/or body. I also have an idea of what the finished bear will look like as he/she is being constructed.  However, if you wish to use the conventional method, you may do so.

Follow the jointing method used in the instructions or choose any of the other methods listed below to joint the bear or doll. 

Safety/Plastic/Doll Joints:  These are manufactured joints that are purchased in sets.  They are typically made from plastic.  They are pressed together with the fabric in between.  Once they are installed, they will not come apart.  Follow the manufacturer's instructions.

String Joints:  This is the simplest.  Thread a 5" to 7" doll needle with approximately 1 yards of upholstery or carpet thread. With doubled thread, start at the underside of one of the limbs, leaving a five or six inch long tail and push the needle thru to the outside of the limb.  Go back thru to the inside of the limb taking a small stitch on the outside.  Push the needle thru the body and out on the opposite side.  Go thru the other limb from the inside to the outside.  Taking a small stitch, go back thru the limb to the inside, back thru the body and thru to the outside of the first limb. Repeat this procedure thru the limbs and body gently pulling the thread to tighten the joint with each pass thru, one or two more times, but do not indent too deeply. End on the inside between the body and the first limb.  Tie off with the tail of the original thread.  With this method, the head is not jointed, but sewn on by hand and is stationary.

Button Joints:  Follow the string method, but on the outside of each limb, take the thread thru a button instead of the small outside stitch.  With this method, the head is not jointed, but sewn on by hand and is stationary.

Bead Joints:  Used more commonly for dolls. Thread a 3" to 5" doll needle with approximately 1 yards of upholstery or carpet thread.  Tie a knot in the bottom of the doubled thread.  Inset the needle into an outside point of fabric on the limb to be sewn and take a small stitch, string a bead on the thread and take a small stitch in the opposite point of the limb.  Pull the bead snugly into the limb.  Go back thru the bead and take another small stitch in the first point where you began.  Continue to sew back and forth thru the bead and into the limb points 4 or 5 times.  Tie off.  Repeat this method for all of the limbs.  With this method, the head is not jointed, but sewn on by hand and is stationary.

Cotter Pin & Disk Joints:  Tools needed are needle nose pliers for rolling the cotter pin down.  For the limb placement, poke a hole from the inside out at the mark in the top of the limb.  Assemble a cotter pin with a washer and a disk. Insert the legs of the assembled cotter pin thru the hole from the inside of the bear/doll's limb out, so the cotter pin's legs are sticking out of the top of the bear/doll's limb to the outside. 

To join the limb to the body, poke a hole in the body from the outside to the inside at the joint limb mark on the body.  Attach the limb to the body by poking the cotter pin's legs protruding thru the top of the limb into the hole.  Add a washer and disk onto the cotter pin's legs that are sticking thru to the inside of the body and hold the disks together with your fingers.  Make sure there are no folds of material between the disks.  Using pliers, tightly wind each cotter pin's leg down separately into a roll onto the top of the washer on the disk to join the limb to the body.

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