Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Posh Paws

I was hunting through my computer files today and came across a tutorial I put together a while ago.  I guess it's not much use to anyone gathering dust in my pc files, so I thought I'd share it here and put it on my 'tips' page in the hope someone might find it helpful!

Starting at the very beginning - a simple tutorial designed to help you achieve a professional finish for traditional paw pads,
particularly on larger bears.

1. Draw out your footpad on the reverse side of your fabric and inside the cutting line, draw a sewing line. This can be done by reducing your foot pad pattern to incorporate your sewing seam, or if you are careful, you should be able to wing it like I do, by carefully using your existing footpad as a template - shifting it to accomodate the seam allowance (I like to use about 1/4" seam allowance for a nice secure footpad.)

2. Cut out your foot pad and fold in half. Using dressmakers' glass head pins (large size) mark the centre of the toe and heel from reverse through to front side of fabric as shown.

3. Pin the toe of the footpad horizontally through the seam of the foot piece - toe end. Then pin the heel of the footpad horizontally through the seam of the foot piece - heel end. Make sure your pins are inserted through the seam allowance area and NOT through the main footpad area.

4. Using the dressmakers pins vertically, pin evenly around the footpad, into the seam allowance, gently easing the edge of footpad into place so that it is level with the mohair foot edge.

5. Oversew footpad in place by hand, removing pins as you sew. Take care to stitch seam of foot at toe and heel, securely and centrally to footpad.

6. At this point your footpad should be securely and evenly hand sewn in place, like this.

7. Transfer your work to your sewing machine. Making sure your tension and stitch length are perfect for sewing invisible stitches (ie they don't show when leg is turned rightside out) sew carefully around pre-marked stitch line taking particular care around the corners.

8. Remove footpad from sewing machine and by hand, tack a piece of quilting wadding/batting (for my big 'uns I prefer to use 8oz wadding/batting) so that it covers the footpad. Take care to stitch into the seam allowance so tacking stitches are not seen when leg is turned right way out. Trim away any excess wadding to ensure a perfect fit, before turning leg the right way out for stuffing.

9. Finally, turn leg piece right way out and stuff foot evenly. If you've done a good job, your footpad will be completely smooth, even in shape and you shouldn't be able to see the stitches ... check the corners of your footpad carefully as this is where the stitches are most likely to show if your tension is too loose.

When drawing out your second footpad, make sure you reverse the pattern piece first. If you've done a really good job, both finished footpads will match in size, shape and finished quality!

In my experience over the years, there are no short cuts to achieving professional looking footpads!


  1. PAULA!!!!!!You're such a darling! I wanted to tell you that my bears now have such perfect footpads, thanks to you!!!! Your tecnique is brilliant, and it was particularly useful with leather pads.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your tutorial.
    I still find it a bit difficult to put in the paws.
    I will try this manner.
    I linked you to my blog and I removed the picture off my dog.
    I did not know it wasn't allowed. I love your circus bear! And the dolls too.

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed the tutorial and that it was helpful - thank you for letting me know!

    Danielle, thank you so much for the link and please don't worry about the Guild picture of your lovely dog ... I should have made the requirements clearer on the front page.


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