Friday, November 28, 2008

How to Make a Christmas Stocking

A Christmas stocking. What could be a nicer item to make for a family member, a friend, a pet, or to sell? This project will cover from start to finish how to make a strip pieced/string quilted stocking. Some people use strip piecing and string quilting interchangeably. We'll use the term strip primarily to explain the method. Get your holiday fabrics, a bit of batting (we used a recycled mattress pad), and trims together. You may want a rotary cutter, mat, and ruler, or you can use scissors, a ruler, marker, or whatever tools you have at your disposal. The goal is to have fun and make something that looks a lot more intricate and difficult than it really is. This is a project I originally designed for in November 2002, while providing content for their site. As with all of the projects on, this is a jumping off place. Use your imagination and natural creativity, along with materials and fabrics you have on hand, and go nuts!

Cut a lining for your stocking using a stocking shape of your choice. You can use a traditional sock shape or use a fancy boot shape. It's up to you.

You also need to cut a back fabric. We're going to strip piece the front onto the lining you cut in the previous step.

Using your stocking pattern or the back piece cut previously (or both), cut a piece of lining. We used a recycle mattress pad. You can use batting, a light towel, a receiving blanket, or other material of your choice.

Choose three or four fabrics to cut into strips.

Using your rotary cutter and ruler, cut 2" strips of each fabric. You can also use scissors. An alternative is to cut irregular width strips.

Choose a fabric for the top trim of your stocking. We chose the same fabric as the back of the stocking.

Cut a 2" strip long enough to go across the width of the stocking. Set aside.

Layer your fabric so that you have your lining on the bottom, the filler second, and place your first strip right side up on the batting for the top. The direction you want would like the strips to run (diagonally, horizontally, etc.) is determined by the direction of this first strip.

Add the next strip of fabric face down (right sides together) on the first strip.

Stitch through the two strips, the batting, and the lining in a 1/4" seam fron one side of the stocking to the other.

Turn the top strip (the one that was right side down) over, showing the two strips right side up, and finger press.

Place another strip of fabric face down (right sides together) on the strip prior sewn. Sew your seam and then turn the strip up, finger pressing once more.

Pin the top trim fabric right side up on your stocking. Do not sew it down.

Continue sewing strips until you reach the trim piece on the top of the stocking.

Turn the top strip (the one that was right side down) over, showing the two strips right side up, and finger press.

Place another strip of fabric face down (right sides together) on the strip prior sewn. Sew your seam and then turn the strip up, finger pressing once more.

Move the trim piece out of the way as you sew strips closer to the top.

You will sew this piece down later. Right now, it's serving mainly as a guide.

Return to the bottom half of the stocking and sew strips in the same order as you have been using until you reach the toe. Make sure your strips are long enough by trying them right side up in the position they will held after being sewn, then put them right sides together with the prior strip to which you are sewing it.

The strips will probably extend beyond the edges of the stocking. That's okay. We're going to trim them up in the next few steps.

Temporarily remove the top trim piece that you had pinned in place.

Trim the top strips which extend what will be under the top strip.

Turn the stocking over and using the lining fabric as your guide, stitch about a 1/8" seam around the strip pieced stocking top.

Trim the excess fabric from around the edges of the stocking top.

If you would like to add bits of lace or other trims to your stocking, this is the time to do it, before we put the stocking together.

We used lace, rick rack, and ribbon, stitching in the ditch of each seam.

Place the top trim piece right sides together on the stocking front.

the top trim piece with a 1/4" seam, turn it so it faces right side up, and finger press. If you would like to add trim to the top piece, you can do that now. We used silver rick rack to match trim on the stocking.

Place the stocking front and stocking back right sides together.

Stitch around the stocking (do notsew the top closed) in a 1/4" seam.

Serge the seam allowance if you can. If not, trim it with pinking shears or regular scissors.

You can use any bias tape that you like; we chose a store-bought piece. Place it around the top edge of the whole stocking.

Stitch the bias tape in place with complementary thread.

Cut a small piece of trim to make your hanger with. We used a bit of silver rick rack.

Stitch the hanger onto the stocking in an appropriate location.

Voila! A Christmas stocking.

Below are a few other stockings I've made over the years. They're shown as examples. You can let your imagination be your guide and use any fabric, any trim, any shape, any design. There are no rules. Have fun and make someone happy with their own one of a kind Christmas stocking!

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