DIY Finish Your Needlepoint Project into a Stand-up Figure

  • 01 of 09

    Do-It-Yourself Needlepoint Stand-up Figures

    Completed Needlepoint Stand up Figure
    Cheryl Fall

    Want to make your completed needlepoint piece stand-up for a three-dimensional look? Do your own finishing and turn it into a free-standing work of art that can safely be displayed on a table, counter or special nook in your home.

    In this needlepoint tutorial, you'll learn just how easy the process is for making a stand-up, weighted needlepoint figure that works for almost any style project. This technique can be used especially to finish holiday ornaments, Nativity figures, nutcrackers, fancy eggs, paper weights, doorstops as well as any other full-figure needlepoint designs.

    Simply follow these basic steps to do-it-yourself and save some money while you experience what it is like to make a stand-up figure like the professionals do.

    Continue to 2 of 9 below.
  • 02 of 09

    1. Prepare the Stitched Needlepoint

    Completed Needlepoint Stand up Figure
    Cheryl Fall

    Block the Completed Needlepoint

    The stitched needlepoint MUST be blocked and allowed to dry thoroughly before turning it into a stand-up figure. Even if you have stitched the project on stretcher bars, you will still need to do some minor blocking to get the completed needlepoint as straight as possible.

    If this is not done, the stand-up figure will not be perfectly aligned vertically, causing it to be unsightly and lopsided.

    Depending on the canvas, thread and stitches used in working the design, you may need to add a thin layer of extra sizing or multipurpose craft glue on the back of the blocked needlework to further stiffen and firm-up the canvas before finishing. Make sure that it is completely dry before taking the next step.

    Cut the Backing and Measure the Base of the Figure

    1. Next, trim the blocked needlepoint front to within 1/2" of the stitching. You will need this 1/2" seam allowance for finishing.
    2. Using the trimmed needlepoint front as a pattern, cut the same shape from the backing fabric. Backing fabric is usually medium to heavy weight like velveteen, corduroy, ultra-suede and some home interior fabrics.
    3. Measure the bottom stitched edge of the needlepoint (see above image). Do not include the 1/2" seam allowance in your measurement.
    Continue to 3 of 9 below.
  • 03 of 09

    2. Make the Pattern for the Base

    Stand Up Figure Base Pattern
    Cheryl C. Fall
    1. Using the measurement in the previous step, draw an oval on scrap paper, having the curved edges the same measurement as the bottom edge of the figure. This measurement is represented by the dashed line in the figure above, and will be the stitching line.
    2. Draw lines 1/2" inch from the dashed lines for the seam allowances. These are represented by the solid lines in the figure above.
    3. Make a small dot in the corners of the pattern, on the stitching line.
    4. Using the pattern, cut the bottom piece from the backing fabric, cutting along the solid line.
    Continue to 4 of 9 below.
  • 04 of 09

    3. Stitch the Backing and Bottom to the Needlepoint

    Stand Up Needlepoint Wrong Side
    Cheryl C. Fall
    1. Using 1/2" seam allowances, stitch the bottom to the needlepoint front and fabric backing with right sides facing. Ease the curve in the bottom piece to fit along the bottom edge of the needlepoint and backing between the two dots. IMPORTANT:  Do not stitch beyond the two dots.
    2. With right sides facing, stitch the fabric backing to the needlepoint front along the side edges. Leave a 3-inch opening along one side edge that is one-inch from the base.
    3. Clip the curves as shown in the above image to reduce bulk, allowing for a smooth curved edge after turning. USE CAUTION - clip close to, but not through the seam stitching.
    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    4. Turn the Figure Right-Side-out

    Stand up Needlepoint Figure Inside out
    Cheryl C. Fall
    1. Trim along the seam stitching as close as possible. Pull the right side of the needlepoint/fabric through the one-inch opening.
    2. Smooth the fabric pouch with your fingers along the fold edge all around the figure. If needed, use a blunt tipped tool (letter opener or similar item that does not have a sharp point) to further smooth out the corners and any other angles in the figure. 
    Continue to 6 of 9 below.
  • 06 of 09

    5. Stuff With Fiberfill and Add Weight to the Base

    Needlepoint Figure Stuffed With Fiberfill
    Cheryl C. Fall
    1. Stuff the stand-up figure with fiberfill, making sure to get it into the corners and crevices. Stuff as closely as possible to the one-inch opening; but do not stuff too tightly or fill in below it to leave room for the base weights.
    2. Fill the bottom one-inch of the figure with polyester pellets as a weight. If polyester pellets are not available, you may also use a small bag filled with sand, small pebbles or pea gravel.
    3. Add more Fiberfill to make the figure firm; and then, stitch the opening closed with sewing thread.


    Continue to 7 of 9 below.
  • 07 of 09

    6. Prepare the Trim or Cording

    Twisted Cord for Stand up Needlepoint Figure
    Cheryl C. Fall
    1. Cut two lengths of Memory Thread 1.5 times longer than the outer edge of the figure. The two lengths can be the same color, or different colors as shown.
    2. Twist the two lengths tightly together to make a flexible trim.
    Continue to 8 of 9 below.
  • 08 of 09

    7. Stitch the Trim in Place

    Attaching Cord to Needlepoint Stand up Figure
    Cheryl C. Fall
    1. Insert 1/2" of the twisted trim into the seam allowance area where the side edge of the figure meets the base.
    2. Using sewing thread, stitch the trim in place invisibly, working through the back loops of the twisted trim.
    3. After stitching the trim in place, cut the excess trim 1/2" from the end. Tuck the end in place as you did when you started.
    4. Details of the tucked ends can be seen in the next step.
    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    8. Side View of Figure

    Side View-Completed Needlepoint Stand up Figure
    Cheryl C Fall


    Here you can see how the ends of the trim are tucked into the side seams of the figure, completely hiding the raw edges.

    Add additional trims as desired, or leave as-is. The figure will now stand on its own.

    Edited by Althea R. DeBrule