As this paw is so much bigger than the wearer's hand, it was clear from the get go it would need some kind of internal support, as otherwise it would look like a weird bag hanging from the end of the wearer's arm. I had some faint hopes that I could just stuff it with fiberfill and use the lining to hold the fiberfill in place, but nope, too blobby. See above left.
The next solution to present itself was stuffing the original foam hand (from which I made the pattern) inside the fabric one. Remember this guy?
So.. next approach, two considerations... First, can I use only parts of the foam hand? What is the minimum amount of foam I can get away with to get the look I want? Second, since I can't stuff a finished foam hand into a finished fabric one, to what degree can I add foam as I sew up the hand and build the support as I go?
When I flipped the whole thing right side out again, I was much happier with how the fingers looked while moving, from above anyway. When viewed from the underside, the palm and fingers bunched and folded in some pretty odd ways. Time for more supports? I decided to try adding some foam to the undersides of the fingers, in the process connecting the palm piece with the toebean pieces. Also, putting the parts together as above allows me to line up and glue the top carefully before turning it right side out, but not the bottom. (I imagine I could do it the other way too, lining up the bottom but not the top, though the top being the more complicated piece it makes sense to do it that way.) How could I line both the top and the bottom parts up carefully before turning everything right side out? If I left one end of the foam tube open, I could lay the tops of fabric and foam together, line them up and glue them down, roll the fabric and foam over like a giant burrito, repeat with the bottom pieces, glue the ends of the foam tube together, then turn right side out. Viola!!
I also found that when the bottom of the finger was supported, the top didn't bend back as easily as it had before, so I could get away without foam all the way to the fingertips, just stuffing instead.
Finally, I sewed the sleeve back on, using a ladder stitch as I had to sew on the "good" side (such as it is with felt) as opposed to the underside, as it was now very difficult to turn the paw inside out again. The spray adhesive complicated matters, as it wanted to collect on and knot up my thread and needle. I'm not sure if I'll be using the temporary adhesive for paws I plan on selling, so this may or may not be an issue.
Next, to make a pair of finished paws using this pattern, and actually offering them for sale! Stay tuned!
PS Fun fact!! Trying to describe hand parts in this post made me go on a somewhat useless Internet search for the terms. I did find the term "Flagina", which supposedly is a name for the fold of skin between your thumb and forefinger. Hee hee!