Dec 8, 2011

Christmas Stockings

This year, as you know, I got married.  Which means many things, like:  finding out I hog all the covers, learning my husband is extremely picky about bowls (yes, bowls), and grasping that the title "wife" really means "husband's homing device for all things he's misplaced randomly throughout the house".

But it also means making new Christmas stockings.  :)  My family has a tradition that my great-grandmother started, where we make our own Swedish folk-art styled stockings.  My grandmother has a billion on her mantle.  This was last year, and will be gaining 3 new additions to the set this Christmas.
  My mom has less, but her supply is growing quickly.  Also last year; also gaining 3 new stockings this year.  
This year, with Blair's arrival into the family, means I have to make four stockings (Blair = 3 - my grandmother's house, my mom's house, and our house, and one for me for our house).  Easier said than done.  I always thought they looked pretty straightforward and simple.  But alas, I was wrong.  (another thing I learned to say a lot more often now that I'm married).   So if you are looking for a quick, no hassle stocking, this is not for you.  It takes a couple of days.  But if you are looking for an awesome, one-of-a-kind heirloom stocking, this is a must.

Supplies List:
  1. Felt - at least two colours (one for the stocking body and the other for the liner and character)
  2. Fabric glue 
  3. Pinking shears
  4. Scissors
  5. Ribbons - anywhere between 9-15 different ones, depending on width of ribbon and personal taste
  6. Embroidery Floss (same colour as felt liner/character)
  7. Sewing machine / thread (same colour as felt body)
  8. Beads (optional)
 Steps:
1.   Using pinking shears, cut out two layers of felt the shape/size of the stocking body you want.  Mine are about 17" long and 5.75" wide at the widest spot, and the foot hangs to the right.
2.  Set aside the back layer, as you won't be needing it for a while.
3.  Using regular scissors, cut the ribbons so that each one is slightly longer than the stocking body (about 1 inch on either side).  You will need two strips of each ribbon; one for the front and one for the back.
4.  Embellish the ribbon as you see fit.  I used creative stitching on some (like sewing french knots with red thread on the noses of the reindeer ribbon) and beads on others (like making it look like snow around the snowman ribbon).
5.  Cut out your character.  I was given a duck when I was born, so I used that character again for mine.  I chose a rocket for my husband's because he is a rocket scientist (literally). 

6.  Layout the ribbons on top of the felt so you can see how you want them arranged.  Start about 1/2 inch down from the top.  Do about 4-5 ribbons, then leave a gap for the name, then about 3-4 more ribbons, then a gap for your character, then about 3-4 more ribbons on the toe.
7.  Once you have everything laid out and know that it fits in a way you like, pin down the two ribbons that will frame the name so you have a guide when you start stitching.   Remember, you are still working with just the front layer of felt. 
8.  Cross-stitch the name onto the felt. This is the hardest step. Since you are doing it without a guide, don't be surprised if you have to start over a couple times.  Goodness knows I did.  I chose to do 7 cross-stitches up and 5 cross-stitches over for each letter of the name.
9.  Once the name is finished, lay out all of the ribbons and the character again.  It will look something like this: 
10.  Using the fabric glue, glue the ribbons down, making sure to get the edges solidly glued to the felt front. 
11.  Flip the front layer of felt over and glue the extra edges down.
12.  It's now time for the second layer of felt.  Layout the second set of ribbons exactly as you had on the front.  TIP:  It helps if you lay them on top of each other for easier placement.
13.  Glue the ribbons down.  Flip and glue the extra edges down. 
14.  When everything is glued, the insides will look something like this: 
15.  Let the glue dry overnight so you don't gum up your sewing needle when you sew the front and back together.
16.  With pinking shears, cut a rectangle of the liner felt that is the same width (or just a smidge smaller) than the top of your stocking and about 2 inches long.
17.  Also with pinking shears, cut one long rectangle from the stocking body felt that was extra.  It needs to be about 4-5 inches long.  This will become the tab from which you hang the stockings.
18.  Pull out and thread your sewing machine.  (for me, this needs to be a separate step because I literally haven't used my rinky-dink little machine since my senior year of college!!  See the manual?  Yep, I needed it to even figure out how to store my thread on the machine.  I'm so lame.  But I'm learning!!)
19.  Fold the tab in half, so it is now two layers, and sew the bottom of it to the top of the back liner felt.
20.  Sew the liner felt rectangle to the tops of the inside stocking pieces.
21.  Sew along the edges the two stocking sides, along the right, bottom and left sides only.  Make sure to not sew the top closed, or you won't be able to get any presents in there!
22. Hang on your mantle...or in my case, hang on your wall because we aren't blessed with a mantle.

23.  Fill with fun goodies!!  (I don't have a picture of that step yet, but hopefully come Christmas morning our stockings will be overflowing with treats.  *hint hint*)

2 comments:

  1. Great job! They look great! Can't wait to hang Blair's with the rest of our family's stockings!

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  2. Nice job! I have to admit, I'm pretty intimidated by it. Maybe I should save your post so that I can give it to my kids when they want to make their own (because I don't think I will be doing it myself!)

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