Saturday, 24 November 2012

An Easy-Peasy Christmas Stocking


It's true, we can no longer escape the fact - Christmas is coming! 

Here is a quick and easy Christmas project for you; you don't need a sewing machine, you don't need to spend much money, and you could make this in an evening if you put your mind to it. I know it's not December yet, but I know we're all busy and we have to plan ahead with our Christmas crafting.*

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Hanging a stocking on Christmas Eve, ready for Father Christmas/Santa to fill with gifts and treats, is a huge part of a child's Christmas here in the UK.  Do you hang stockings in your house? Or a pillowcase? Over the fireplace or at the foot of the bed? I always love to know what traditions other families, and indeed other countries, have for celebrating Christmas.


In our house, the stockings are hung on the fireplace throughout December, then on Christmas Eve they are taken upstairs and hung on the foot of the children's beds. We fill them with small presents, nothing expensive, and for some reason we always put a satsuma or tangerine in (which never gets eaten), and we always put a sugar mouse right down at the toe. No idea why, but Christmas traditions do become set in stone rather quickly.


This template is based on the stockings I made Bella and Angus last Christmas. I like it as no sewing machine is required. Given that using my sewing machine involves dragging it out from behind the sofa, wiping the dust off it, setting it up on the dining room table only to have to pack it all away every meal time...well, sometimes hand sewing is just so much easier. I've made six now; one each for my children, and four more for friends' children. The two in these photographs are for my friend Lesley's son and daughter, Stanley and Edith (are they not the best names?). I have chosen to decorate my stockings with the child's initial, but you could use any motif like a star, snowflake, gingerbread man, fir tree...

To make one stocking you will need:
  1. Bondaweb or similar fusible interfacing. You only need enough for your initial or motifs.
  2. A cardboard stocking template.
  3. A piece of felt in your main colour measuring around 60cm/24" by 80cm/32".
  4. A small piece of felt in the colour of your initials.
  5. 50cm/20" of ribbon.
  6. Embroidery thread in the colour of your choice.
  7. Buttons to match your two chosen colours.

I found the size worked well - not so skinny that nothing would fit inside them, and not so wide that all the presents slumped down to the bottom. Neither too big or too small. They were, in fact, just right. My stocking measures 18cm/7" wide at the top, is 51cm/20" from top to bottom and is 35cm/14" from heel to toe. But really, so long as it looks stocking shaped and isn't too big or too small, anything goes.

First, using your template, cut two stocking shapes from your main colour felt. (You don't have to use felt, but I like it because it doesn't need hemming, and it feels so soft and Christmassy).


  • Then sketch or trace your initials onto the paper side of the bondaweb (1). Remember to use the reverse of the initial, as you will be ironing it to the reverse of the fabric scrap, and you want it to be the right side up at the end.
  • Iron the bondaweb to your felt or fabric (2). If you are using fabric, remember to iron the bondaweb to the reverse of the material. 
  • Cut out your letter shape, peel away the papery backing layer, then iron the initial to the stocking (3). Iron over a tea towel as the felt scorches easily.
  • Using straight stitch, sew around the letter in an embroidery thread of your choice (4).

  • Sew small white buttons onto the initials, just to add a bit of detail and sparkle (5). 
  • Then sew larger red and white buttons randomly all over the stocking (6).
  • Pin the two pieces of stocking together, securing the ribbon in place at the top with pins at the same time (7). 
  • Using a thread that contrasts to the main colour of your stocking, join the two pieces of felt together with blanket stitch (8).

The ribbon will be held securely in place by the blanket stitch down the side. Trust me, it's enough support for a well stuffed stocking! Lastly, blanket stitch along the top of both front and back pieces, just for decoration. Then hang and hope you've been good enough throughout the year so that Father Christmas pays you a visit.


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* I am assuming you like crafting and Christmas. I hope you do, as you'll be seeing a lot of both here over the coming month! 

46 comments:

  1. Dear Gillian
    A lovely idea and 'how to' as well. We used to have one of Dad's(clean) socks containing our stocking presents, which always included a satsuma and an apple. I used to love tipping the presents out and finding the satsuma, usually right down in the toe. We also left a mince pie and some sherry out by the fireplace and I was always overjoyed to find them eaten and drunk! Happy memories!
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Yes, we always left the mince pie and sherry out too, and a carrot for the reindeer, and I was always thrilled to see the empty plate and thank you note on Christmas morning. It's such fun re-creating those same traditions now. x

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  2. Have just dropped by on your blog and saw your Mouse Shoe Box - it is delightful!. As a child I used to make dolls furniture out of match boxes. (I am OLD a war baby we didn't have toys then!) We belonged to the library and the Dolls Match Box book was renewed about 10 times cos I just loved making the dolls furniture. Your blog did bring back such fun memories. Glad you liked making yours. A Granny xx

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    1. Hello - thank you for your lovely comment. My daughter and I really enjoyed making ours and we are planning another soon. How I would love to get my hands on the Dolls Match Box book! I bet there are some fantastic ideas in there.

      Gillian x

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  3. Great tutorial, We have a stocking by the fireplace and a pillowcase at the end of the bed. And we always have a satsuma and a bag of golden chocolate coins. Sarah x

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    1. Chocolate coins! How could I forget about them? Yes, I always put chocolate coins in the stocking, as well as the advent calender. Thanks for reminding me! x

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  4. Gillian. I have been inspired! I have followed you for a while, and love all your craft projects. I have little/no confidence when it comes to crafts, although I have made cushions covers in the past.

    We leave a pillowcase with a favourite teddy to look after it until Father Christmas arrives! But I am going to make a couple of these for family members.

    x

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    1. Oh Leanne, thank you for such a nice comment. That really does mean the world to me. I hope you have a go and gain confidence in what you can make. Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can!

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  5. I love christmas traditions - our stockings come out when the tree goes up and hang on the fireplace and like yours are taken up to bed on christmas eve. I seem to have lost many stockings over the years - this year might just be the one I finally get round to making a set for the whole family - adults get stockings in our house too!

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    1. I wish adults got stockings in our house too, but we never do that. Maybe this year I need to introduce that tradition...yes, I do like that idea! x

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  6. Great tutorial Gillian ... our stockings hang on the end of the bed ... and have little treats in ... our little ones were so delighted with the contents last year ... they thought that was all Santa had brought ... they couldn't believe there were more things when we came downstairs ... it just shows the little things are as good as the big ... looking forward to the run-up to Christmas ... Bee xx

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    1. Ah Bee, that's lovely! Bless them. We always say that the presents under the tree are from family, and those in or by the stocking are from Santa - it can get a bit confusing though and we have to make sure we've all got our stories straight! x

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  7. What a great tutorial. I never had a stocking as a child, so I suppose this is why my kids don't have them either. I was one of three children and our sacks all had their own places on the sofa, mine was in the middle. It's the same with my kids, Daniel on the left hand side and Eleanor on the right. I always used to have an orange at the bottom of my sack.

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    1. I guess a sack is the same principle as a stocking. More room for gifts too! Isn't it funny how the traditions we begin for our own children are so influenced by the Christmases we experienced ourselves as children? x

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  8. Great tutorial, I really need to get into the Christmas spirit, I've usually nearly finished the shopping by now and am thoroughly excited. This tutorial has inspired me, maybe I should put some decorations up soon, just to help with the mood!... x

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    1. I hold back until December 1st before getting the decs out - otherwise I get bored or them too quickly! I really need to get on with my Christmas shopping before the shops get too busy... x

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  9. These look great, straight forward ideas with a great design, I like how easy that are to personalise too.
    My brother and I have stockings from Traidcraft that we've had since we were very small, we still get stocking presents even though we're both in our late 20s. My parents and grandparents had old woolly hiking socks for years but we've been gradually replacing them so that now we've all got nice ones.
    http://ahandfulofhope.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. How fun that you still get stocking presents! My sisters and I did even after we left home - if we went home for Christmas, we got a stocking. But then you have kids, and the focus totally shifts to them, which is nice, of course. x

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  10. Thank you for the really clear tutorial. I bet the children are thrilled with their stockings.
    As children we had pillowcases at the end of our beds. Our two have stockings which they hang on the handle of their bedroom door. These are filled with little bits and pieces which are just from Father Christmas.
    Lisa x

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    1. That's just what we do. I used to hang them on the door when I was terrified of waking them, but now i feel safe to tiptoe in! x

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  11. Gorgeous stockings! ooooh bring on the Christmas magic Gillian, thats what i say, can't wait!
    thank you for your very kind words on my last post, they mean the world to me
    love jooles x

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    1. Thanks Jooles! You are very welcome. :-) x

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  12. I never had a stocking but I started the tradition with my daughter. I hang it on her bedroom door and she brings it in to my room on Xmas morning to open before we go down to open the main presents. I always put a bag of chocolate coins in the bottom plus other choccies, socks and odds and ends. x

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    1. That sounds lovely. Our two bring their stockings in to our bed as well, and watching them open them under the covers while I have a cup of tea is the best part of Christmas for me. x

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  13. Hi Gillian,

    I've been loving all of your recent crafty Posts, you clever thing! I really loved your living room wall of Liberty loveliness and your t-shirts are wonderful too (particularly the ones with the Pears).

    Most Aussie families seem to go for the big santa sack or pillow case but since my Mum is American we've adopted more of the stocking tradition. We hang stockings over the fireplace and fill with lots of little inexpensive items - they would go at the end of the kids beds but I just know they wouldn't sleep waiting for them to appear or they would peek so they stay on the fireplace :-) I am 1 stocking short this year (expecting a baby any day now) so may have to try out your tutorial.

    Mel x

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    1. Hi Mel - thanks for your lovely comment! Nice to hear from you. I can definitely see the logic in keeping the stockings hung on the fireplace! Good luck with the new arrival. Gillian x

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  14. great minds think alike- i have a stencil and fabric sitting on the table ready to go,just need a baby sitter for half an hour!! nice tutorial gillian!

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    1. Yes, fitting these things around babies and kids can be tricky, I should've mentioned that... x

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  15. Your Christmas stocking tutorial is lovely - so atmospheric as well as being beautifully clear. Everyone has a stocking in this house on Christmas morning - young, old or anywhere in between! I love planning the contents - I try to find inexpensive, little but useful things to go with the statutory tangerine or apple, chocolate coins and handful of nuts in the shell which never get eaten but make the toe of the stocking wonderfully knobbly! I'm sure your friend's children will be thrilled with their new stockings this year! E x

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    1. Thank you! I agree that stocking fillers should be inexpensive. Every year I am infuriated by the magazines in the weekend papers and their stocking filler ideas like an iPod or a designer wallet. Surely that would be the main gift?? x

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  16. I love crafting and Christmas, but why does it have to be so soon! I need about another 3 months to be ready!!

    My lot always had proper stockings - provided by my Mum who has worn stockings and suspenders her entire life - and they were only given them on their way to bed on Christmas Eve. I would have a second set of stockings ready stuffed with little Santa presents and would make the swop once they were all asleep. Always an orange, an apple, a sugar mouse and foil wrapped chocolate money in the toe. Presents from family and friends were left under the tree. It was exactly how things were done by my parents when I was growing up. The Mr. on the other hand had had a pillow case for all his presents, large and small.

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    1. Annie, I also need another three months. As usual I have bitten off rather more than I can chew!

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  17. Beautiful stockings gillian and a great tutorial too. We leave stockings in the kids bedrooms from santa and then under the tree presents are from family. My mum has made them some new ones this year - Elizabeths with fairies and Archies with bob the builder! Love both Christmas and crafting by the way. xx

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    1. That's how we do it too. It's easier that way. The stocking your mum made sound perfect! x

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  18. Beautiful stockings...I love all the little buttons! I really like your tradition to hang them at the end of the bed on Christmas Eve! Ours are hanging on our mantle for Santa to come and fill on Christmas. Also, I love the festive lights on your mantle!!

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    1. Thank you. The lights are currently strung along a shelf in the kitchen. I want them on all our kitchen shelves but John says no.

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  19. Hi Gillian! Lovely stocking : -) My girls hang theirs up Christmas Eve as we don't have a fireplace to display them beforehand. They love wriggling their fingers right down to the toe of their stockings and finding the last little treat.

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    1. Yes - happy memories! I used to love doing that, then shaking it upside down just to be absolutely sure there was nothing left...

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  20. Super cute,and your tutorial is really easy to follow. I may have to make some x

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  21. Beautiful. We all have stockings that I made. It is a wonderful christmas craft and I hope the boys will treasure them forever

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    1. I am sure they will. If you made it they will love it, how could they not!

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  22. Great (and easy) tutorial! I have bookmarked it to hopefully make one day :-) x

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    1. Oh good, I hope it is easy! I am slightly phobic of complicated looking tutorials. x

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  23. i love christmas stockings! my gramma made felt stockings for her family when they were all quite young in the early 1950's. i based the stockings i made for our family on the ones she made. i had a lot of fun making a new stocking this year for our soon-to-be-born baby. i think he might have the best stocking of all of them. i might have to redo the rest of them next year.
    we hang our stockings above the fireplace and leave them there. we always open them first on christmas morning. they're filled with little trinkets, candy and sometimes a satsuma. my husband grew up celebrating st. nicholas day, which i think we might start doing too. it's not a big holiday here in the states.

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    1. My friend Debora grew up celebrating St Nicholas day in Germany - kids would leave their shoes out and overnight they would be filled with trinkets or sweets. Such a nice idea - people don't celebrate it here in the UK either. x

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