I came to the conclusion there were two issues here, one with the fiberfill used for support and another with the duct tape used for patterning. The duct tape often sticks to itself before it sticks to the model, so It's hard to get a pattern with any kind of fine detail. I had problems with the tape sticking to itself especially around the knuckles and tendons and in between the fingers. This post will be about the solution to this problem with the tape. Look for more about the issue with the fiberfill in my next post.
At this time I got the idea to redo a pattern directly from the felt handpaw, sketching out potential changes in Sharpie, cutting and resewing, disassembling the paw afterwards and making the new pattern directly from that. Before, I felt a finished handpaw was something of a holy relic and I would carefully stash it in my ever growing pile of drafts. I recall the oft repeated art mantra, sometimes you must murder your darlings. Here, a few tentative changes can be seen around the knuckles. I'm still pretty cautious in my changes here.
(What are all the random thick black marks on the paw on the right hand side, you may ask? These are where I'm anticipating cutting the revised paw apart to make the new pattern.)
Imagine also, how the two different paws would move. The one on the left could wiggle its fingers more easily, and spread them more widely than the one on the right.
You can see the palmar pad and dew claw still attached to this piece. I am happy with the patterns I have for these parts already, and since whether or not they're there doesn't effect whether or not this piece lies flat, I've left them there.