I thought the next mini tutorial could show you all how to ladder stitch a turning/stuffing hole closed to give a smooth and neat finish. I will also do a second part to this tutorial showing you how to also use ladder stitch to attach the antlers.
With some of our softies, such as Phoebe or Magoo, there are parts of the design that cover any turning gaps; this of course is lovely, but is not possible with all softies. Some softies have a turning gap that will be visible and since we are using flat cotton rather than fleece or fur, it is especially important to try and have a neat closure.
Here is the underside of my firmly stuffed Rudy showing the turning/stuffing hole. Try to ensure as you stuff your softie to keep the seam allowance of your hole tidy and folded under - this will make a neat closure a lot easier.
Take your needle and thread it with a folded length of strong polyester thread. Thread the needle so that the folded end is the longest length. Do not knot.
Now take your needle and thread it through a few fibres on one side of your stuffing hole. Pull the thread through most of the way, and then thread the needle through the loop created by the folded end of your thread. This will secure your thread without a knot.
On the opposite side and right at the edge of your turning gap, take a small stitch along the folded gap edge.
Now take a small stitch into the edge on the other side of your gap. Enter this stitch in line with where your first stitch exited.
Continue on like this until you have stitched approx 1/2" in length. Your stitches will begin to look much like the rungs of a ladder.
At this point, pull the thread slowly but firmly in the direction shown, to pull the two edges together and close the stitched area.
Continue to ladder stitch in the same way, pulling your sides together about every 1/2", until you have a small 1/2" gap remaining.
At this point it is possible that you have a bit of a dimple along the softie edge that you have ladder stitched. If this is the case, insert some small wads of stuffing into the space beneath your stitches using the flat end of a wooden skewer Make sure that you keep the threat taut when doing this so that your stitches do not start to undo.
Now continue to ladder stitch the remaining gap.
Pull the thread to close the gap; it should now stay closed on its own quite well. Tie a few knots close to the base of your thread.
And then sink the knots into the softie (refer to previous tutorial if unsure), taking the needle out at another point in the toy.
Trim the thread right against the softie at the point of exit.
You should now have a nice neat and flat closure.
And no dimple along that edge of the softie!
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