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Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by Adam Kreutinger, Sep 6, 2012.
Thanks for the suggestions.
Hi, Adam. I recently finished making a couple of puppets and I wanted to offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to you for the priceless information you shared in your tutorials. I did a lot of online research before I started, but your videos proved to be the most invaluable and I found myself constantly going back to them throughout the building process. Thanks again for your generosity in sharing your expertise.
I just had a thought about something: I once needed to stiffen yarn for a puppet years ago, and at the time, the suggestion I found was to soak the yarn in glue water, then position the yarn into the shape I wanted and let it dry. It was a very messy process and it took a long time for the yarn to dry: could the spray adhesive perhaps help stiffen yarn in a less time-consuming and less messy way?
I'd say not - the advantage of using diluted PVA glue is that the glue soaks into the fibres which - when they dry - provides some rigidity. Just using spray adhesive would only deliver glue to the outside of the year, and would probably provide not much more than a sticky mess to attract dust and dirt.
For a couple of bucks less I managed to get Loctite brand of spray adhesive . . . though I had to take it back and exchange it for another, because the first can I purchases must have been defective: not only did the adhesive come out in repressed squirts rather than even sprays, but the can immediately clogged afterwards and no amount of cleaning the nozzle would unclog it; the other can I've got now works a lot better, no problems at all.
Anyway, I've picked something up from this tutorial: while the whip stitch didn't really work that well for me (it didn't seem to head seams as well as the Henson stitch), I liked using a single strand of thread rather than the traditional doubling and knotting the end as I've always done - it certainly reduced the number of times the thread would get tangled and knotted while sewing (still had that problem here and there, but not as much), but there is one problem I kept having that I never encountered when doubling the thread: my needle kept coming unthreaded. After a while I had to make note to check my needle periodically to tighten the thread to prevent it from pulling lose.
Sorry, folks. I know a lot of you say it's best to sew the head fabric to the mouth fabric, then glue the mouth fabric to the mouthplate and invert the fabric over the foam skull to fabricate the head . . . I did that with three different puppets, and the results were awful: the mouth fabric wouldn't stick to the mouthplate nice and flat so there were bunches and bubbles in the fabric, and it's near-impossible to align the seams of the head fabric evenly with where the foam skull pieces are glued together. Not to mention the lips wouldn't come out even. I'll just go back to what I've always done: glue the mouth fabric to the mouthplate, glue fabric to that to create lips, then cut and sew the fabric to the head.
I've accidentally discovered a really great sewing technique for whenever you fabricate the fleece over the foam while you sew (as opposed to sewing the fabric pattern beforehand, then pulling it over the foam) that actually kind of combines the Henson Stitch and the Baseball Stitch.
Essentially, what you do is with the fabric over the foam, you sew into one piece of the fabric from the inside out, after you pull that through you sew into the opposite piece of fabric the same way: from the inside out. Like all stitches, you don't want to pull too tight as you sew, however, you want to pull it just a little taught to secure the two pieces of fabric together. Also, it's important to note that you don't want to sew too close to the edge of the fabric, because it'll cause the edges of the fabric to sort of bunch up, which will expose the seam a little more; likewise, you don't want to sew too far away from the edges either, because that will expose the thread more. Also, it varies on the kind of fleece you have: if you have polar/blizzard fleece, the results are excellent, whereas if you have a non-pill fleece, the results are little more middling. Likewise, I find the straighter the edges of the fabric, the better the results - this is how I've been doing hands: the sides of the fingers turn out great, but the rounded tips of the fingers are trickier, so the seams tend to bunch a little there. And, like the Henson Stitch, when you go back over the seam with your needle to cover the thread with the pilling, the results will bring you a virtually invisible seam.
It's also a less time-consuming method of sewing, I find.
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