Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas Crafts, Day 4: Appliqued Felt Stocking

Last year I made new stockings for everyone in my family. Although I grew up with the traditional red and white ones from Kmart (only the best for the Jowett family), the stocking of my childhood was not a tradition I had any trouble giving up. My husband is English, and his family uses shooting socks for their stockings. For those of you requiring an English/American translation, shooting socks are very long, very thick wool socks, preferably made in Scotland, that are worn to go out shooting, of course. After spending my first Christmas in England many years ago, the advantages of the shooting sock as a stocking were apparent to me immediately. First of all, they hold way more loot. And they stretch, so you, or Santa, or whoever does the work for you, can fit a variety of items of various shapes and sizes in there.

Although Henry does actually have a bunch of shooting socks stashed away somewhere around here, I decided it would be nice to make personalized stockings for each of us. They're huge, about two feet long from top to heel, another eight inches long in the foot (heel to toe), and about eight inches across. Since they can't really stretch like shooting socks, I wanted them to be big enough to fill without ripping them. And if you're wondering what I put into them, my boys typically get new toothbrushes, paperback books, a big candy cane and small toys (slinkys, silly putty, harmonicas and the like).

This year I needed to make another stocking for our au pair Ania. She's from Poland, and this year will be her first Christmas away from her family.

To make your stocking you'll need:
Half a yard of felt plus enough of a contrasting color felt to cut out the letters of a name
Straight pins
Coordinating thread

To begin:
With your felt folded in half cut a stocking shape out so that you have two pieces. You can draw the stocking freehand with tailor's chalk, or cut out a paper template beforehand and trace it.

Next you need to cut out the letters of your name. I use a sharpie and draw them freehand onto the fabric (so I draw them backwards) and cut them out. If you want tidier letters than mine or can't be bothered to think about how to draw them backwards, you'll have to make letter templates with paper, then trace them backwards.

Next you'll want to pin your letters onto the right side of one of the stocking pieces. Sew the letters onto the stocking with contrasting thread.

Next pin the two halves together, right sides facing each other (so the name will be hidden inside), and sew all the way around the edge of the stocking, using about a quarter of an inch seam allowance.

Turn the whole thing inside out, et, viola. Your stocking is finished. It would probably be a nice touch to finish this stocking with a little felt hanger, so you can take a rectangle of leftover felt and fold it into a tab a sew it into the back seam of the stocking if you want. I didn't, mainly because in my husband's family the stockings were left at the foot of children's beds, so they get to open them as soon as they woke up in the morning. We don't leave them on our kids' beds, but we lay them out on the sofa rather than hanging them.

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