Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Handmade Stockings

Handmade Christmas stockings - finally.

Handmade stockings

In 2013, it occurred to me that if I wanted to make childhood stockings for my children, as I have always intended to do, that I might want to get moving. After all, my eldest was due to turn 18 years old after the holiday. That was when I realized that her childhood was coming to a close, and her childhood memories were pretty well formed, but this was one last thing I could give her before she became an adult. That summer, fueled by guilt and a deadline, I purchased an 18" Bucilla felt Christmas stocking kit she picked out, and I hand stitched the stocking over the course of a couple of weeks. Several of my friends thought I was a bit nuts to start with my eldest, but they didn't understand that this was the only way it would get done, and I felt that she had earned the privilege to receive one first. 

This project was the first big embroidery project I had ever done, and I learned a lot about how to stitch, but also about the chaos and mess that a project like this brings to the house. First and foremost, I learned that it is best to not dawdle over it; just get it done quickly and say goodbye to the piles of felt, floss, sequins, and beads as soon as possible. 

I love how the stocking turned out, and I love that it matches my daughter perfectly. I substituted the backing felt that came with the kit for a wool/rayon blend, and added a silky lining. The kit does not come with lining, but I think stockings really need it.

Felt Christmas Woodland Snowman Stocking

I have two other girls who were eager to have stockings on par with big sister's. Earlier last year, they selected the stocking style they each wanted. I stuck them in a cabinet for months. In July I started feeling guilty and pulled out my now 12 year old's candy snowman stocking. I made a bit of progress on the background and snowman base, but quickly grew bored with the project and shoved it back in the cabinet until early November. My plan was to have both girls' stockings done in 2014, as well as mine, and I was behind schedule. Nothing like a deadline to get you moving.

This past Christmas was my Supernatural Christmas. I stayed up into the wee hours each night watching Sam and Dean fighting supernatural creatures season after season while I stitched stockings for my younger girls and then myself.

This candy snowman stocking makes me smile; making his scarf almost did me in (so many hours), but it was so worth it. I loved making all the little candy pieces, and it is so appropriate because my 12 year old is the one with a sweet tooth.

Candy snowman stocking

Predictably, my six year old daughter chose the girliest stocking she could find, but I was happy that the sugar plum fairy stocking is not too juvenile and will work for many years. (You may have noticed that they also all chose the most elaborate kits they could find. They think big - like me - and I don't discourage them often.) By this point, I was in full obsessive compulsive Supernatural and stocking mode, and I flew through this one. 12 days of sewing and 1.5 seasons of Supernatural, and it was done. It probably isn't evident in the picture, but the Christmas tree candy cane stripes are all satin stitched. It took forever, and Bucilla (as always) didn't supply near the amount of red floss that was needed for the stocking. They also failed to pack the beads for the tree garland, so I substituted with some beads I found at Michael's. They are larger, but I really like how they turned out. Again, I loved making the candy, especially the swirled felt lollipops and ribbon candy.

Sugar Plum Fairy Felt Stocking

I really didn't have any desire to make an ornate felt stocking for myself. I decided to make what I love most - quilted scrappy English paper pieced hexies. My husband has a lovely handmade felt stocking that his grandmother made for him when he was a child. It is huge, and I love the shape. I used it as a template for my stocking and started digging through my fabric. 

Stocking fabric pull

In order to not go crazy making hexies, I traced the outline of the stocking on wax paper and then traced tessellated 1" hexagons onto the paper so I could count how many I needed. I originally planned to add a white cuff to the top with my name, but I was so sad that I only needed 100 or so 1" hexagons and I didn't want to reduce that number to account for the cuff. Making it larger was also out of the question, as I didn't want it hanging in the fireplace.

Basted hexies for my Christmas stocking

This stocking went by so fast, and I am in love with everything about it - the fabric, the shape, the quilting. It pained me to pack it away after Christmas, and I already can't wait to see it again later this year. The backing, binding, and hanger fabric is a snowflake print from Kate Spain's line In From the Cold. The lining is a solid pale aqua.

Hexie stocking quilting detail 

Quilted hexie Christmas stocking

After Christmas, I sat down and made myself a simple monogrammed felt stocking hanger.

Monogram name tag

Finally, each family member has a handmade stocking. Next Christmas, the sewing will be more relaxed, but not nearly as epic.


  1. here's to epic Christmas sewing! you rocked it!

  2. Simply amazing! I wish I started making stocking as I had each of my children! I now have 7 children! Eek! I think I need to go with a a much simpler design (although I do love embroidery!) I think buying those kits would cost an arm and a leg to get in Australia and oh how I love the shape of your stocking! Well done! You are the sewing queen!

  3. I love it. It looks huge and perfect without the cuff!

  4. You have inspired me to get busy!!!!! I am going to make sure I do some sewing or stitching everyday.