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Topic: Key Lime Bear  (Read 865 times)
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Brutemus and friends
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« on: May 04, 2011 09:42:05 PM »

Please post a constructive comment! No "cute" posts. I want to improve and know what you're real opinions are ^___^

I've been making more bears :]

In my last thread [ http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=378363.0 ] I received a lot of constructive feedback, mostly dealing with the stitching on the face and ears and the stuffing of the bears.

I stuffed Lime more than Honey and Chocolate, and I have to say I love how he came out. Even though he is "fatter", he wont be flat or saggy or wrinkly :]

As for the stitching, I made it smaller and with less of a gap between them. I hope everyone can see the difference. I also used fleece for the muzzle and inner ears instead of felt this time.






Made from fleece, bead eyes, poly fill, and felt.
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2011 09:53:23 PM »

I think saying these are cute qualifies as a "constructive" post. Doesn't it build up your confidence in your art to have people say they like your things? Also, I don't think anyone who says your creations are cute is lying about it--that's probably their "'real' opinion." It's kind of unfair to try and demand certain kinds of comments on a craft forum that's about sharing crafts and opinions.

That said, these are cute. I admire your work.
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2011 10:09:49 PM »

I think saying these are cute qualifies as a "constructive" post. Doesn't it build up your confidence in your art to have people say they like your things? Also, I don't think anyone who says your creations are cute is lying about it--that's probably their "'real' opinion." It's kind of unfair to try and demand certain kinds of comments on a craft forum that's about sharing crafts and opinions.

That said, these are cute. I admire your work.

I don't think posting "These are cute" is very constructive at all. Everyone says it, and it doesn't help me improve my technique or the quality of my plushies. If someone likes something they should be able to expand on it or specify :] That would be better.

I don't think it is unfair at all :] Why shouldn't I ask for people's opinions, especially on a forum where everyone is a crafter or plush maker? I think it's the perfect place to ask. 10 comments saying "cute" doesn't help me very much. I don't mind hearing it as feedback, but I would also like to hear other things as well.

I hope you can understand, and thank you very much for posting something other than "cute" hahaha xD
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2011 10:17:34 PM »

YAY! I think Lime is much better! His cuteness factor is now much higher in my eyes Cheesy I honestly can't think of anything to nitpick this time around, so I guess you have a winner!
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011 02:27:01 AM »

Honey is too cute!  Cheesy Actually I mean it, she'll appeal to little girls, but unless you are intentionally targeting that market, I think her features are limiting in their appeal, but then, a few may sell well, where a lot may not.

I like Chocolate, especially the contrast stitching, although his mouth doesn't smile like the rest. I appreciate that contrast stitching is going to be harder, as it must be even. You may want to consider different colour eyes on the dark fabrics, although I doubt that would improve them.

As far as the fill goes, I actually prefer Honey's fill because there are less creases in her arm joints, but it would depend how much the fill flattens over time. If she were flat after a few weeks of childhood loving I'd be pretty disappointed, whereas my preference of her filling at the moment is only slight.

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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011 06:08:08 AM »

First off, they are cute and there is nothing wrong with them the way that they are but of course there is always room for improvement in everything no matter how perfect you think you've got it. Now that that's out of the way I can give you a brutal critique, when I was in school our teachers were so harsh and that's what helped us become better stitchers the most so I do think it's highly valuable.


Green bear looks like you did a better job clipping the curves so they are more smooth and not as wrinkly looking, that's a great improvement.
Green bear's head is not quite symmetrical which is fine if that's the look you're going for but if ALL the bears don't have the same sort of quirk it will look like a mistake. To that end you might want to consider using the freezer paper technique to keep your stitching more accurate every time instead of using a paper pattern. If you don't want the bother of having to use freezer paper you can cut a card stock stencil and trace it onto your fabric as this will give you a definite stitching line when you are piecing them together. Or make sure they all look slightly wonky in their own way, this is great for expressing character.
I prefer the contrasting stitching on the brown bear to the same colour stitching on the others, if the thread is going to show make it a design element, having it the same colour as the felt to disguise it for me brings more attention to it instead of less. Those stitches could be a little smaller, keep them very even and closer to the edge of the muzzle fabric, this will make them look more professional and like that piece of fabric is on there more securely.
The eye, nose, mouth placement are generally Ok but you may want to devise a stencil for yourself to mark placement so it is always consistent, perfect and even.
I realize that this will create more work for you but I think it's worth it to cut separate arm and ear pieces to set in to the project. This will eliminate the buckling of the fabric at those joins as well and giving the arms more movability. If you do the ears this way you can use batting or fleece between the ear pieces and stitch right through them to give the ear some definition, then sew them to the head (again using a template or positioning mark to make sure they are placed perfectly). Cut the ear pieces and the lighter inner piece so they both are inserted into the head, then you only have to hand stitch around the curved part, not the flat part that meets up with the head.
If you are using safety eyes make sure to put a small piece of non-woven fabric behind them on the inside of the head, this will help them not to pull out which is important if these are intended for small children. I have had eyes that small pull out of creatures because fleece stretches, keep the insertions holes as small as possible too.
Keep the basics of the bears exactly the same to give them a unified theme but change small things like the facial expression via nose size and mouth shape.
If this is intended for small children adding a jingle bell inside is a fabulous feature. I use those cat toys that are a bell inside a little ball, those won't be too muffled by the stuffing to jingle. You do have to make sure you stuff more firmly for that though so the ball doesn't move around inside and end up against the fabric instead of surrounded by stuffing. You can sort of wrap stuffing around the ball before you put it in too, this helps keep it surrounded.
One last tip about the tag, I'm sorry but it's the first thing I take off when I give a toy to my small one. I would make sure it's small enough to easily cut most of it off, yours looks quite wide.

I hope that was helpful to you. Please remember that there is nothing wrong with your initial design, I think it's cute, I'd consider purchasing it for a child. But if what you're after is to improve your technique and style go for it. Best.
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011 07:51:57 AM »

I like the way Key Lime turned out. I think he looks super happy.

The only criticism I have is that I agree with craftylittlemonkey about the tag. I don't really care for them. I realize it it part of showing who made it. But honestly, if I'm buying this from etsy or some other similar place, I already know who I bought it from. I personally think they take away from the overall look of the bear (they're distracting and draw my eye to it) and they are itchy and take away from the cuddly factor for children. I realize I can just cut it off when I get home, but I really don't like how that leaves just the tiniest amount of tag still there.
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2011 10:29:58 AM »

Yay! Thanks everyone for all the advice :] I am definitely going to try and improve my next bear  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2011 10:32:47 AM »

Here are my thoughts:  First, I agree on the tag issue with meleriffic and craftylittlemonkey - no tag is best for children.  I like all three bears - I like that they are not "perfect" - I can buy a perfect (whatever constitutes perfect), mass produced, others-have-the-same-one stuffie at a toy store, Walmart or a garage sale.  I like the uniqueness of each character and I like that they do not imitate each other exactly.  I made my son (now 33 yo) several small stuffies when he was little - I had a pattern, probably Simplicity or McCalls, which had the three bears (Papa, Mama and Baby), very similar in looks to these - I made him the smallest bear (Baby Bear), and I still have it in my "stuff to keep forever" tote.  If I were making several of these bears, or several sets of these bears, I would create them similarly, but would not worry if each bear exactly replicated the next one.  Handmade is more dear (my opinion) and special, and differences make the piece(s) unique not only to the creator but to the recipient!!  I think these bears offer everything a child needs - cuddly, friendly, and hug- ability are just some of the words that come to mind.  Good job - keep making the bears.  Your way!!  Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2011 06:13:04 PM »

It seems like the curves on the ears and underarms need to be clipped more, and the arms on the brown and green ones seem a tad bit too long, but that may just be the angle. Other than that, they're adorable.
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