Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Grinch in the Christmas Tree


A couple of weeks ago, my sister sent me a picture from Pinterest and asked if I could make it for her daughter, as a Christmas decoration. It's the Grinch, his rear end sticking out of a Christmas tree, as he presumably gets ready to steal it.

Like a fool, I said yes. Seriously, what the hell was I thinking? 

Of course, I couldn't find a pattern online for this monstrosity. So, I had to wing the whole thing.  

Prepare for swearing.

The shopping was going to be the easy part. I could break down the various parts in my head before I cut a single piece of fabric. I knew right away the Santa coat would be made from a Christmas tree skirt. I picked one up at Target for $15.99. I think it was 48" across.

The 2 yards of green polar fleece, Fiber Fill and wooden dowels came from Wal-Mart. The feathers were from A.C. Moore. The two Velcro ties came from Home Depot. The thread I used was already mine. I even used the leftover polar fleece pieces as stuffing in the body. None of that green fleece was wasted.

The fact that the Grinch is not a regular person took a lot of the pressure off me. I decided to use a variation on the poppet pattern from Good Cookie Creations. I sketched out enlarged versions of the legs (stopping at the ankles), front and back pieces with a Sharpie marker on the fleece and cut them out.

For the feet, I still had enough green fleece, so I decided to stick with his natural green feet and not make Santa booties for him. I traced around one of my Converse Chuck Taylors on a piece of cardboard. Then I enlongated it and thinned it out, giving it a pointed toe. I made one of these for each of his feet, as kind of an insole.

I traced around those pieces, twice each. One piece became the bottom of his foot, and the other became the top of his foot. I used a small rectangle of fleece for the back of each foot. For the sides, I roughly sketched out on the fleece what the sides of Chuck Taylors might look like.

I sewed the front and back pieces together. I think once or twice, I went back over my stitches to take some of his "girth" in.

When I sewed his legs together, I actually ended up making them a little shorter than originally planned. If I hadn't, his legs would have been longer than mine! Instead of using joint buttons, I sewed the legs into the body like I was making a leotard with skinny leggings, and flipped the whole thing right side out.

I sewed the feet pieces together, flipped them right side out, and slipped in the cardboard insoles. I stuffed them firmly, folded over the top edges of the feet and whip stitched them to the legs.

At this point, I inserted a wooden dowel into each leg and started firmly stuffing around the dowels. At the very top of the dowels, I used Duct Tape to attach them to each other for extra stability. While the dowels do go all the way into the ankles, these dowels are really what makes the Grinch stand by himself. I did try stuffing the legs without dowels, and his just fell over. I think the dowels I used where just over 1/4" wide. I didn't trim them for length.

When I got his legs completely stuffed, I started whip stitching the top (just north of his rump) halfway closed. After I had him stuffed completely, I finished sewing him closed. It didn't matter how neatly this as sewn, because it got covered up anyway. I went back and after adjusting the Fiber Fill, I was able to take his hips in a little more, which actually helped to get that booty of his under control.

Once the entire body was stuffed and sewn shut, I draped the Christmas tree skirt over his hips and rump and started whip stitching that into place. There's no real way to describe how I did it, other than just folding and adjusting the skirt as I went, so that it looks like the bottom portion of a Santa Claus jacket.

But because I can't ever be satisfied with something the first time, I hot glued some green feathers to his ankles, just to hide how they are stitched together. Plus, I wanted another texture on him. In watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" this year, I couldn't decide if the Grinch was furry or had feathers. I didn't bother watching the Jim Carrey version for source material, because I wanted this to look cartoony.
 
Do you know how hard it is to hot glue feathers to polar fleece while your cat is trying to molest you??? Of course, THAT'S when she wants attention! :)
I also whip stitched a Velcro tie to each side of his front, to help secure him to the tree, once he arrives at my sister's house. He's going to be shipped out on Tuesday.

I literally have his ass cheeks sitting on the top of this chair. I am 5'4" without shoes. This thing's "waist" is damn near as tall as mine!




 

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