The project: A cold snowman
The original prototype center: we had planned on stuffing it. I tested it out with muslin and filled it with small pieces of fabric, as I don’t have however many pounds of stuffing on hand that it would take to fill a whole snowman:
Since it was going to be on a machine that would shake him to make him look like he was shivering, and since it was going to be constantly shaken for over a month, we decided it shouldn’t have as much possibility of shifting. Hence, foam:
Since the fur was so thick, I could mark the pieces on the back with impunity, including an arrow to keep the nap straight:
What with all the cutting and the serging and so forth, the flying fur dust became overwhelming. I finally tied some fabric scraps over my face:
I soon discovered the difficulties in covering something round with fabric that was not stretchy. My original pattern pieces, designed to make 6 panels per sphere, worked okay on the head, but came out looking really lumpy on the bottom snowball. I draped a piece of fabric over it and figured out the maximum possible width, which more than doubled the quantity of panels.
I still had to pull the fabric on really taut to keep it from looking like an albino pumpkin:
Pulling, scootching, and pinning; stitching, then somehow finding more fabric that could be pulled, scootched, pinned, and stitched. Repeat.
Then go through each seam with a pin and loosen every tucked-in fur fiber.
It actually looked better in person than I could get a picture of, but you can see in this shot that it’s significantly better than the original pumpkin.
Now to style the face. Carrot nose:
Here he is pre-eyebrows, with all his features pinned in place, and his eyes cheerfully sad:
Eyebrows made from velvet-covered wire:
You’d think it would be easy to put someone’s hands into a position that looks like they’re rubbing their little mittens together. Not so. If his thumbs don’t show in the front, it’ll just look like socks. If you put the palms together, it looks like he’s praying. It was hard to keep the bend only at his elbows and not partway down his forearm, which would have, aside from the horrific element that added, solved the hand problem.
The sticks are holding his hands in place while they dry:
Big Carlos used techniques he’d learned in Columbia to dust the whole snowman with glittery snow so that it wouldn’t shiver off.
Taking this shot through the glass, it was difficult to keep that blue light reflection from landing right on his face:
Also in Mr. Snowman’s window, giant blow-ups of crocheted snowflake ornaments, some of them on motors to make them spin:
I had tried out making them out of rope, but it took a whole thing of rope just to start one snowflake, and we determined that the time involved and the logistics of how to make it stiff enough to even hang, let alone to spin, just weren’t worth it:
The screens set up to show the kids running through the tubes look like they’re in miniature glaciers:
The whole Brrr window: