Saturday, December 3, 2011

25 Days of Ornaments: Cross-stitch Toy Soldier

For today's ornament, I tackled this cross-stitch toy soldier. I'd bought the kit at Joann's for $1.29 but I didn't like the red, cheap plastic frame that came with it so I decided to give him a fabric backing and then stuff him instead.

This is a pretty easy ornament to make though if you're new to cross-stitch, my best advice is to pay attention to the details. You really have to be precise and get the needle exactly through the holes or else the backstitching will be a nightmare; you know you've done a good job if the back of your stitching is nearly as neat as the front.

Once I finished the cross-stitching, I picked out a piece of scrap fabric and freehand cut out the shape around my soldier, leaving about 10 holes on either side. It's important to leave enough room so that your soldier doesn't look cramped AND so you have enough room for a seam allowance. Once you have your two pieces, lay your cross-stitch and backing front to front, with the ribbon in between them, facing down (when you turn him right side out at the end, the ribbon will then go the right direction). Sew all the way around - I left about a quarter-inch margin - leaving the bottom open.

Then turn your soldier right side out; this was probably the most difficult part since he's small. (I found it easiest to press down from the top.) Then stuff him, turn in the bottom, and sew your toy solider closed! I was pretty nervous about sewing him together - had I cut the margins wide enough? were the sides even? - but in the end, my worries were for naught and I was pleased with how this one turned out.
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  1. May I ask what stitch did you use to sew up the two pieces of fabric? Also did you do anything special to "seal up" the cross-stitch cloth after you cut it to prevent it from running? Thanks

    1. With right sides facing each other, and the cross-stitch-fabric side up toward me, I use a basic cross-stitch backstitch, sewing over two squares, to sew these up. Because I can't sew in a straight line, I find that using the squares already in the fabric helps keeps everything symmetrical. I usually start near the top to make sure that I catch the ribbon while I'm still paying attention to it, and then when it's nearly sewn shut, I turn it inside out. I don't really have a great method for sewing the last part shut; I fold the fabric into each other, mimicking the rest, and do my best to sew an invisible whip stitch. That tends to be a small area, so it's generally not all that noticeable.

      I don't do anything to the cloth. I've probably made about 7 of these since this soldier, and I haven't had any issues. Granted, they only hang undisturbed on the Christmas tree, but I haven't seen any wear and tear from use.


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