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.*
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:
- Bondaweb or similar fusible interfacing. You only need enough for your initial or motifs.
- A cardboard stocking template.
- A piece of felt in your main colour measuring around 60cm/24" by 80cm/32".
- A small piece of felt in the colour of your initials.
- 50cm/20" of ribbon.
- Embroidery thread in the colour of your choice.
- 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.
* 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!