Joe Snow and Sally Snow Stand up Figures
Joe and Sally Snow were two Lizzie Kate Special Edition Kits (now retired) that I included in my July "catching up" post on Needlework Finishes. They were in my stash for quite a few years before I completed the cross stitching in 2018.
After Needle Nick, I decided to continue with the Christmas/Winter theme, so Sally and Joe were the next two stand up figures to be finished.
Their assembly process was similar to Nick's with a few slight differences.
First, I couldn't fuse interfacing to the back of the completed needlework because I had already attached some of the buttons and embellishments from the kit, and I was afraid they would melt or be distorted by a hot iron. So instead of interfacing, I used a piece of cotton muslin fabric, cut almost to the same size as the linen. The muslin was "stuck" to the back of the needlework with temporary adhesive spray.
I used Needle Nick's paper pattern to cut out the front and back pieces for Sally and Joe.
This is the needlework side with muslin lining piece, pinned to the backing fabric.
The backing fabric did get a layer of fusible woven interfacing before cutting. Here it is, pinned to the needlework piece.
After sewing the front and back together, I clipped the curves carefully, then turned up the bottom hem about 1 inch below the cross stitch bottom of each figure.
The bottom hem was hand basted on each. After turning right side out, I carefully pressed the side seams toward the back.
At this point, my project paused for a few days. I had used almost all of the fiberfill in my stash to stuff Needle Nick and needed to buy more for the remaining stand up figures.
When I looked online at my usual local shopping sources (Michaels and JoAnn Fabrics) their websites indicated that they didn't have ANY fiberfill available in-store or for curbside pickup. It was available online only - so I ordered enough to finish my projects, then waited impatiently several days for the fiberfill to arrive (and did the prep work for the next 3 stand up figures).
The next change I made from Needle Nick's assembly was the base cardboard piece. For Nick's base, I traced around the pattern piece from the kit instructions, then cut it out using scissors. The oval shape wasn't exactly symmetrical and the cardboard edges were a little rough.
For Sally and Joe, I decided to try cutting their cardboard bases using my Brother ScanNCut machine. The machine's built in oval shape could be adjusted to the exact length and width I needed, so no tracing or scanning were needed. I set the size of the oval to 5 inches wide by 4 inches deep and tested the cut on plain cardstock before moving on to the cardboard.
It took a bit of trial and error to come up with the right blade depth and cutting pressure to cut through my cardboard pieces, but eventually I got two very nice pieces to use. I ended up using the Deep Cut Blade, with the cutting pressure set at 7 or 8, and even then I had to cut each piece twice to get through the cardboard. But the end result was worth it!
The bases were covered with pieces of fabric. I glued the fabric to the outside of the cardboard and simply ran a gathering stitch by hand on the inside.
On Needle Nick, I had glued both sides, but that made it more difficult to sew the base to the figure because there was no "give" to the fabric to take a stitch easily. With the inside gathering pulled tight, but unattached, it was easier to hand sew in place.
Here is Joe's base piece sewn in place using the ladder stitch. It's not quite invisible, but will be covered by twisted cord later. I left a small section un-stitched at each side seam for concealing the ends of the twisted cord.
I chose snowflake fabric in red and blue colorways to go with the snowman theme, Sally in red snowflakes and Joe in the blue version.
When it was time to make the twisted cord, I spent a lot of time deliberating over the colors to use for cord for all six stand up figures, scouring my stash of embroidery threads for the "right" colors to match both the needlework and backing fabrics.
After I had made my color choices, I realized I didn't have enough floss to make cord for any of my stand ups. A trip to the local Michaels was in order, and I found the right colors in a sufficient quantity only for Needle Nick. The colors I wanted for the remaining stand ups were either out of stock or only a single skein was available. So I went home and started looking for online sources of DMC floss.
Online shopping wasn't successful either. There were 5 colors I wanted to use, and every online shop I visited either had only 4 of the 5 or didn't specifically state that they had them in stock, but cautioned that they might be backordered.
In frustration, I reached out to my Material Girls, Denise, Kris and Judy, hoping that maybe they'd have one or two skeins in their stashes, or at least a tip on where to shop locally. And the MGs delivered big time!
- Kris didn't have them herself, but she welcomed an excuse to go to her local Hobby Lobby in North Carolina, where she found exactly what I needed and mailed them up;
- Denise didn't have them either, but she was in touch with another Material Girl, Michelle from Pennsylvania, who added them on to her own order of floss and sent them to me;
- and Judy had 2 floss cards full of the blue floss I needed for Joe and Sally and mailed them both to me.
I needed about 40 inches of cord each for Joe and Sally, planning to have 4-5 inches extra. I used 3 strands of 6-ply embroidery floss, about 120 inches in length for each color, to make the twisted cord.
To find the precise length of finished cord needed, I pinned it around the side seams and base of the figure.
One end of the cord is tucked into the opening I left on the side near the base.
Before cutting off the excess cord, I saturated about 1 inch with glue and let it dry completely.
I used matching embroidery floss to sew the cord to the figure by hand, traveling over the side seam from one bottom edge, up and over the top to the other side, then around the base. The single strand of floss was "buried" inside the twist of the cord as I stitched.
After the cord was attached, I set Joe and Sally aside for a couple of weeks while I worked on the other three stand ups. The final embellishments were added in mid-August.
Joe's carrot nose, scarf and broom were stitched on by hand, according to the kit instructions. His ear muffs were glued on last.
Sally's carrot nose, head bow and shovel were stitched on by hand as directed in the kit instructions. Her wreath and ribbon were glued in place as the final step.
Their finished size is approximately 9 inches tall, 5.5 inches wide and 4 inches deep (front to back at the base).
The remaining three stand up figures, Pansy, Clara and Henry O'Hare, will be featured in my next post.
Recap of supplies used in this project:
- Completed needlework designs, kit embellishments
- Cotton fabric for backing
- Fusible interfacing
- Cotton muslin lining
- Stiff cardboard for bottom base
- Poly-fil polyester fiberfill
- Cotton embroidery floss for twisted cord, 2 skeins each color
- Twisted cord drill
- Fabric glue, temporary adhesive spray
More in-progress photos can be found in my Google photo album, Stand Up Figure Finishing for Counted Cross Stitch