The other morning, Doodles (4) walked into the dining room, admired the re-hung crystals on our chandelier and asked in wonder “Mommy, is it almost Chwistmas?!” “No,” I informed him, that’s just the way the light is supposed to look. Then he told me “I like candy socks with the REAL chocolate monies and oranges and boxes of candy in candy canes! It’s so extitin!” Translation: I like stockings with chocolate coins, oranges, and those candy cane shaped packages filled with candy… it’s so exciting!” He perked up even more about the “candy sock” situation when I started to pull out supplies to make stockings with the kids. Yes, it’s time for our next Sewing Saturday project, hand-sewn stockings for Christmas! I would really like to make two variations on this with you, but I’m just not sure I’ll have the time to work on it with you all… we’ll see. But for now, come join the kids and I as we make some stockings to use this year!
The way we’ll be making ours is with felt and embroidery floss (also called embroidery thread). You’ll just need a template, scissors, and an embroidery needle (they have a larger eye hole to fit the larger thread), your felt and thread. Speaking of felt, You’ll need by-the-yard felt for this project, not the sheets that you can typically buy in the craft sections of stores. You could also use fleece instead of felt. But one stocking will require a minimum of 1/3 yard. Depending on the bolt you get your felt from, that may be enough to make 1, 2 or up to 4 stockings. It really depends on the width of the fabric on the bolt. Sorry if that doesn’t seem helpful!
This project really couldn’t be much simpler. The kids had a blast with it, though I must admit that they did get frustrated when starting out. It’s not so much that this is a difficult project as it is about the thread occasionally being hard to pull through the layers. Be prepared to get pricked (thimbles may not do much for you), and if you are really struggling, grab a pliers to lend a helping hand. There are two reasons it can be difficult to pull that thread and needle through. 1) The thread is thick, which automatically makes it more difficult to pull through. 2) Felt is made from matting fibers together, so it can be denser from one spot to another. Don’t give up, just keep trying!
I’m including a stocking template for you to use for cutting out your pattern and giving you 3 sizes to cut out. Ours are the medium-sized stocking. They aren’t huge, so if you are looking for something bigger, you can adjust your cutting accordingly. You will need to cut out two stocking pieces to create that pocket. I will readily admit that this is my first time ever making a pattern and figuring out how to upload it, so I hope it works! If it doesn’t, let me know. As I’m still figuring things out, you’ll have to download both pages for printing… I couldn’t get the files to combine for you. Sorry! Download and print both pages, and tape the pieces together so that the lines overlap. Then cut out the stocking size you would like. The sizes are roughly 11 1/2″, 12 3/4″, and 14 1/2″ from top to toe.
This is your first project that we’re using a pattern with! And I’m keeping it simple for you. In fact, this is as about as simple of a pattern you can get. To cut out your stocking, you can cut one piece out at a time, or layer the pieces of felt and cut them both out at once. You’ll need to print off your pattern and tape the pieces together. Pin the paper to the felt, keeping your pins just inside of the line of the stocking. Then cut on the printed line! Don’t worry if you veered a little bit inside or out of the line, but do your best to stay on it.
We chose not to pin our two pieces to one another after cutting them out because felt has a tendency to cling to itself, and since we were going to be hand sewing, I figured the kids didn’t need to be accidentally pricking themselves more than necessary.
The felt we used was some dark red felt that I purchased by-the-yard years ago and had remanents of. I would highly recommend using by-the-yard felt because you can have a lot more flexibility with the size of your stockings. I chose to use white embroidery floss because I wanted our hand sewing to be visible since we’re using a decorative stitch to hold the stockings together. You’ll be using the blanket stitch on the whole project, so it’s a good project for practicing consistency on a small scale (instead of trying it out on an actual blanket off the bat). When cutting your embroidery thread, cut a length that is roughly one arm’s length (adult arm length). Longer than that and you’ll end up with unintentional knots, shorter than that and you’ll be getting annoyed by how often that you need to rethread.
Starting at the opening of the stocking and working your way down one of the sides, begin stitching. Insert your needle with the knotted thread somewhere between 1/4″ and 1/2″ in depth. Whatever depth you choose, that’s the depth you’ll be sticking with, so play around with the tip of your needle to see what looks good. Whatever depth you choose, your stitch spacing should be roughly the same. If you choose a 1/2″ depth, your stitch spacing should also be roughly 1/2″. Use a ruler if you feel like you need the help staying consistent, but otherwise, just take your time and eyeball it. I did not measure and for the most part, I was able to stay pretty consistent.
The kids struggled a little more with consistency, but the further they got into their stockings, the better of a job they did.
You’ll be using the blanket stitch to join both pieces together around the sides, but not the top. On the top, you will continue to use the blanket stitch, but not to join the pieces. Instead, you are just finishing the edge of the opening to give it a nice consistent detail. You’ll knot your thread on the inside to finish off your project (always knot on the inside except for when you are starting).
The stocking won’t do you much good if you can’t hang it up though, so you’ll need to create a loop for hanging it by! We used two contrasting threads to created a chain and attached the chain to the top corner of the back edge of the stocking. Start by attaching 4 pieces of embroidery floss to the correct corner of the stocking (it should be on the corner that would go on the back side of your leg if you were to wear it). Make a chain of knots (I did mine in friendship bracelet fashion) about 3-4″ long. Thread your needle with one of your threads from the chain and bring it back into the stocking, , come out, and go back inside again, knotting on your other threads from the chain on the inside (see pictures for details, as questions if you are confused!).
If you know how to do a little embroidery, you can work on embroidering names or decorations into the stockings, or you can get out some puffy paints and write names or draw decorations, or skip it and keep them plain. If you are going to embroider though, I’d recommend doing it before assembling the stocking. My favorite thing about this project is that it’s an inexpensive one. You can do this for just a couple of dollars, and if you don’t like your end results, you can make another without breaking the bank. But honestly, I’m loving the look of my children’s diligent efforts, even if they aren’t perfect!
A stocking needs to be filled, and if you are looking for some ideas of gifts to fill your stockings with, you should really check out the awesome Handmade Christmas Gift Boot Camp! I had the pleasure of making a video tutorial for it on how to make a potholder mitt. You can laugh at my Wisconsin accent if you’d like 🙂 (It’s not always noticeable, and then every once in a while, it stands out like a sore thumb.) But there’s a lot of great tutorials in there. Not everything would fit into a stocking, but a lot of these gifts would. I’m going to be making bars of soap (though I don’t think I’ll be filling any stockings in our house with it), and I’ll be making some of the other gifts with the kids like lip gloss, cinnamon ornaments, and paracord bracelets. I’m sure I’ll be making some of the other gifts on my own as well. It might be fun for you to make up some extra stockings to stuff with some of your handmade goodies to hang on your neighbors’ door this Christmas season!
Oh, and I have great news! Bill and Jennifer of Self-Reliant School (the people who are running this awesome online boot camp) have decided to keep the sale price of $39.97 until November 20th! It’s great news since it’s a fantastic way to learn a bunch of new skills! I’ll be making soap here for the first time in the next two weeks thanks to the boot camp 🙂
Next week, we’ll either be making another version of a stocking or some felt ornaments… either way, it will be a handsewn project. I’d like to let you know now what we’ll be making, but stuff comes up and I never know what will end up on my calendar at the last minute! Pretty soon, my sister-in-law and Scott’s fellow beekeeper, Tiffany, will be having their baby, and I plan to help out by making some meals for them and possibly working on a few things around their house (I just worked on putting in peel-n-stick vinyl flooring in their bathroom, ripping out wallpaper, and painting the whole room…), so we’ve got that coming up, plus we have another round of chicken butchering coming soon, and I have lots of plans to make for our field trips that are coming up!
As always, let us know if you have any questions! And please, pass this on to your family and friends, share, share share! We want to help as many people learn how to sew as possible while making it practical and fun. The kids thank you for following along on this project with them! They all tell me they’d like to see your stockings, so if you do this project, please, send us pictures of your finished stockings!
(And in case you missed those file links, here they are again.)
Love~Danielle, Pumpkin, Peanut, and Miss Lady
P.S. Did you miss the rest of our sewing series? Check it out here!