Is it possible to hand sew and CE mark? This question often comes up on the groups and the answer is yes it is possible, but you may need to tweak a few things on your design.
Hand sewing can actually turn out to be stronger than machine sewing in some instances, but here are a few tips to ensure that your hand sewn toy is in top form.
- Thread – check your thread is a good strong one. If something is going to break in testing it’ll usually be your seams more likely than your fabric. If you’re worried your thread isn’t strong enough run up a test seam before using it on your test toy, sewing it the same as you would on your toy and give it a go with the weights, if it fails, double up the thread if possible and try again.
- Stitching technique, tiny stitches will hold better than bigger ones but consider stitch type for example strength eg back stitch vs running stitch, blanket stitching or top sewing to finish the edge will also give an extra strength to your project. Keep stitches as uniform size as you can to ensure strength throughout.
- Keep stitches uniform to the toy – you must sew your project the same way each time its made, to keep it true to the testing. So keep a good note of your stitching pattern and write yourself a guide to refer back to for your technical file.
- If it calls for it, use a doll making needle and sew right through the toy as well as around it when attaching heads for example if the toy is not a flat seam around type.
When testing remember to go for the most ‘onerous’ seam – IE the one which is most likely to break. Choose the one with the most pressure on it and/or the closing seam after stuffing.
You will be surprised on how much a few hand stitches can hold! However If it fails first time, don’t give up, have a rethink and try again. Try double stitching, a stronger thread or a different technique and you’ll probably pass easily next time around.
Decorative stitching does not need testing if it is flat and there is nothing to pull off of it (for example embroidery) this also holds true to appliqué as long as you can’t slide a corner of a credit card beneath the layers.
Hand sewn/attached additions
Additions such as buttons should always be tested thoroughly with weight testing to the full 9.2kg. To ensure you’re testing a toy as it will be sewn in the future, take note exactly how the addition is sewn on so you can repeat it every time.
Snaps attached with a hand press are a bit of a risk, so ideally you would use a machine, but as those machines do cost a fair amount so in most cases a hand press is the more affordable option. Usually once a snap is pressed on its near impossible to remove (and guarenteed when its in the wrong place!) but occasionally snaps can pop off with weights. Think carefully about how you attach your snaps and whether you can devise a way to keep the same pressure in your snaps each time, you could also consider more regular testing to ensure nothing changes in attaching them.
Bad Habits and sharp consequences..
I know quite often as a hand sewing person I used to pop my needle into my work when I’d finished part way through to go back to later. Be wary of habits like this just in case your needle works its way into your toy and your needle gets misplaced! I’ve heard of people using hand-held metal detectors to scan their toys (though this isn’t necessary!) however you may wish to devise a plan for your risk assessment such as counting in and out your pins/needles and documenting it.
Hope this brings some reassurance that its fine to CE test a hand sewn toy, and that you don’t need to even have a machine to be a toy maker! As with everything its all very procedural, and as long as you’re documenting everything you’re most of the way there already!
Got a question? comment or something I’ve missed? pop it in the facebook comments box to discuss!