Steiff Manufacturing

  Production of Steiff Pieces
Cutting out
The pattern is used to produce screen-printing stencils for articles that are cut out by hand, or punching tools for the cutting of the individual pieces.
Punching tools can be used to cut out pieces from woven plush where the pile is no longer than 10 mm and from smooth fabrics.
The tried-and-tested tracing or screen-printing method is also used. This involves tensioning the reverse side of the woven plush and tracing the pattern outline onto the backing fabric (warp/weft).
The individual parts are then cut out by hand, whereby just the backing fabric is cut to ensure that the pile is not damaged.
A Steiff animal comprises 35 plush and felt pieces on average.
Traditional methods are used at Steiff to dye certain mohair products by hand using a template in order to optimize the plush structure and the markings on the fur.
The cut-out pieces are sewn together on the wrong side. The pile from both pieces must be pushed through to the right side before the seam is sewn with very fine stitches.
The sewn body or shell is then turned to the right way round. Great care is required here to ensure that every seam is shaped into the right form.
Synthetic filling material:
Compressed air is used to blow this material into the sewn body. The body is weighed first, before being filled with a predetermined constant amount of material. Steiff uses synthetic wadding or foam cuttings. These filling materials are machine washable, hygienic and dimensionally stable.
They are used for soft toy animals, Cuddly Animals, Pets and Farm Animals, Wild Animals, Baby Products and many other items.
Wood shavings (excelsior):
Animals filled with wood shavings are always stuffed by hand. A stuffing tool is used to push several strands of wood shavings into the shell, one after the other, making sure that every corner is filled properly. The article is then shaped to produce the required form. Wood shavings are the ideal choice of stuffing for contours or faces. This work is very demanding on the person performing it as it requires a surprising amount of strength and a feel for the material to ensure that the seams are not stretched beyond their limits.
Wood shavings are used to stuff replicas and Studio Animals, in particular.
Fitting the joints
Joints are fitted to the arms, legs and heads of jointed Steiff products and these are then permanently attached to the body. Plastic joints are fitted into washable products, whereas metal joints are used for mohair products. The joints are fitted before the main body of the article is stuffed and the final seam is sewn by hand.
Giving a product a personality
 with a voice
If an animal is given a voice, it is usually fitted in its tummy or body. The voices used at Steiff are
 - squeakers
 - growlers
 - mechanical musical boxes
 - pull-the-cord voices
The voice is protected inside the body of the animal, surrounded by the respective filling material.
 with decorative stitching
This operation gives a Steiff animal a personality and breathes life into it. The pile is trimmed around the eyes and muzzle.
The noses, claws and mouths of all replicas and the majority of classical products are lovingly stitched by hand.
A machine is used to stitch the mouths of soft toys like "Teddy bear Petsy".
The whiskers are also sewn into the mouth by hand to prevent these hairs from being pulled out by children.
 the way in which the eyes are secured
There are two types of eyes:
Safety eyes Drawn-in eyes
These eyes are secured in the shell like rivets before it is turned the right side out. This type of eye is used for all soft-filled toys. A long needle is inserted from the back of the head and secures the eye with thread. A tiny bead of adhesive is used as a supplementary measure to fix the eye to the fabric. You can feel a slight indentation in the back of the neck of an animal that has these eyes.
The safety requirements stipulate that an eye must be capable of withstanding 90 Newton (around 9 kg) tensile load.
 with painting
80% of Steiff animals are given a special "make-up" treatment. This involves a special airbrush technique in which the markings are applied by hand and gives each animal its own individual appearance.
See for yourself - the difference between an animal before and after painting!
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