Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Scared Crow? Stand-up Figure

In September I completed the stitching and wrote about this needlework kit from Bent Creek; but I hadn't decided how to "finish" it -- a wall hanging or a stand-up figure? I decided to make a stand-up.


I didn't have any fabric in my stash that seemed suitable for the backing, so I took this piece with me to the Quilt Pink event at the Cozy Quilt Shoppe on September 22 so I could find just the right backing. I chose a fabric with a barn red background and blue and red flower designs. I like how the barn red background coordinates with the scarecrow's button and the other floss colors; it's not a "perfect" match, but like any good outfit, it goes together well.


I used the last of my silky soft fiberfill and this guy was only 3/4 stuffed! So on Saturday I had to make a special trip in search of more. JoAnn Fabrics in Ramsey didn't have any left so I went to Michael's Arts & Crafts; they didn't have exactly what I wanted either. I ended up with a close enough substitute, which I decided was okay, since it was the bottom of the figure.

After it was stuffed as full as I could get it, I made the bottom piece. I traced an outline of the basic shape of the figure onto a scrap piece of mat board, then rounded out the edges using a round shaker box as a template. I cut a piece of fabric about 1 inch larger than the mat board and basted around the edges to gather it around the board; once it was gathered tautly, I made a knot and then pressed it flat. I also basted a line around the bottom of the figure where I wanted the bottom edge. Then I invisibly stitched the fabric from the bottom piece to the basted bottom edge of the figure, leaving a small opening along one side seam. I don't put a weight in my figures, though most instructions suggest it. I haven't found that they tip over or become unbalanced, so I don't bother.

I made the twisted cord from 4 skeins of DMC floss from my stash in the same green colors used on the scarecrow's checkerboard shirt. I wanted the 2 colors to twist a certain way and to get a long enough section of cord, I had to stand all the way across my sewing room while twisting. Then, I had to enlist Rich to help hold it taught as I let it twist back on itself; I ended up with nearly 4 feet of twisted cord and only had an 8" section left over when I was finished applying it to the figure.

I stitched the twisted cord to the figure using a doubled strand of embroidery floss. I started by inserting the knotted end of the cord into the side seam I left open when stitching the bottom piece to the figure. Then I wrapped the cord first over the top seam of the figure and then around the bottom edge, pinning it every few inches. When I was almost done stitching the cord to the figure, I put a glob of fabric glue at the point where I would need to cut the cord. While the glue was drying, I took a break to watch some of the Met's game -- that was the day John Maine had a no-hitter going into the 8th inning. . . and the last game they won this year. When the glue was finally dry, I cut the cord to size and finished stitching it in place. And he was finished! He stands a little more than 11" tall and about 7" wide.

Here's a close-up of the cord at the starting point:

I made this stand-up figure last fall:

This is a Lizzie*Kate kit called Betty Broomstick. I was really lucky to find *the* perfect backing fabric -- complete with yellow stars and purple and green witch hats:


I made the twisted cord for this one, too. It was made from DMC floss plus a strand of fuzzy yarn to get the black frizzies that go with Betty's hair. This figure stands about 10" tall by 5" wide.

What's my next Needlework project? At this rate, I seem to be starting and finishing about one each year. I have another Lizzie*Kate figure lined up . . . it's a special edition kit of a Santa. I haven't begun stitching it yet, but I've serged the fabric edges. Before I can go ahead with this, I need to decide what I'm making for First Christmas ornaments for nephews Ryan, Joseph and Richie. If they are going to be hand-stitched rather than machine sewn, I need to get moving on them -- and soon!

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