Christmas stocking, finished at last…

I’m celebrating finally finishing two Christmas stockings I began 8 years ago.

Christmas stockings
finished at last

I’m celebrating finally finishing two Christmas stockings I began 8 years ago. The children for whom I began making them were 7 and 11, are now 15 and 19. If you want the whole story check out my archive for December 2012and January 2013. Suffice to say Christmas is always a busy time and sometimes you just have to prioritise, Sewing takes second place to shopping, cooking and cleaning only once a year, at Christmas.

Christmas stocking
both finished

So beginning where I left off, one of the stockings was quilted and ready to be made up, the other was not. I wanted them to be the same and I had lost the quilting templates, 5 little cardboard stars in graduated sizes which I created using cookie cutters, which I had also subsequently lost, and to this day have not turned up… I suspect foul play.

Thankfully the templates did turn up, and this Christmas I was determined to finish what I’d started. I used a disappearing pen, (which for some reason isn’t disappearing) and drew the stars on the lining of the stocking, then putting the gold thread in the spool and a transparent thread on the top I quilted from the back stars in different sizes to fill the spaces round the motif in the centre of the stocking leg, and in the foot of the stocking.

Christmas stockings
final finishing touches

Putting the right sides together I stitched the two halves around the edge with a generous 3/8ths seam allowance to make it easier to neaten the edges. To finish the seams on the inside I cut away the wadding, and hand stitched the lining closed over the raw edges down to the bottom of the leg. Beyond there the foot still has raw edges showing, well not showing, but that’s the point, you can’t see it so I’m not going to worry about it, I may overlock the raw edges with a machine stitch…when I have a minute.

christmas stocking
another mistake

Next, I had to make the swing tags for each stocking, cutting two squares of fabric for each tag, and applying a gold letter to the green side of each. I worried that the gold letter might eventually peel off having been applied with Bondaweb, so I used my gold thread again and stitched around the edge with a machine blanket stitch, not very accurately I have to say, but I wasn’t about to unpick and start again.

Right sides together again, with a little wadding on the back, I made another mistake; if you leave the hole to turn the fabric at a corner you’ll never achieve a neat closure… unpicked and did it again, this time with the turning gap amidships.

christmas stocking
better, all 4 corners stitched and clipped.

Having snipped the corners and turned each tag right ways out, I neatly closed the open edge by hand. Then I topstitched a gold border using another fancy machine stitch like the one I used on the stocking motifs.

Christmas Stocking
ribbon loop


Finally a loop of ribbon was attached to the back of each tag, these ribbons tend to get ragged over time so rather than stitch it into the seam I’ve just tacked it to the back. The 15 year old is a Millennium baby, born in 2000, and when I first knew him at 7 he couldn’t say Millennium, he would a say Millellium, or Minnellium, it has always been a thing I could tease him with, so I used some ribbon I had tucked away since the Millennium, it has “Marking the Millennium” printed on it. Maybe if he keeps and treasures his stocking, it may make him smile every Christmas…long after my day.

christmas stocking
millennium ribbon

And so they are completed and hung up ready for Christmas… now all I have to do is help the 19 year old make a wall hanging, and start the wrapping, with only 3 days left till Christmas.

Christmas stocking
and here’s a few I made earlier


Return to sender, for refill

The stocking needed …(a gift tag)… with very specific instructions, to return the stocking to sender for an annual refill.

Christmas Sparkle
Christmas Sparkle

The Angels have all been outlined in gold thread to give them some shape and depth. Some of the stars stitched to hold the layers together, and the continents outlined too. Then the two sides stitched together, a ribbon tucked into the back edge to allow the stocking to be hung up; the excess wadding trimmed off and the seam allowance snipped where needed on the curves to allow the stocking seams to lie flat. I hand rolled and stitched the raw edges of the seam allowance to neaten the inside.

return to sender
return to sender

This stocking needed two gift tags one to identify the planned recipient and wish her a Happy Christmas, and the other with very specific instructions, to return the stocking to sender for an annual refill. Each panel had a medallion printed on it, a sun and a moon, which I wanted to use to make the gift tags. Problematically they were largely but not accurately round, I initially planned to force the medallions onto a circular shape but realized that I would lose the integrity of the design, so they finished up with all of the design intact but a rather wobbly, not quite round tag. I cut a circle of wadding first, applied it to the back of each medallion, and stitched it down with a little gold thread, then took a plain piece of the panel and wrote my messages on with a laundry marker, sadly the marker did not enhance my hand writing, it kept running dry and had to be retraced, but it’s the sentiment which matters, not the wobbly hand in which it is written. The two sides were stitched together with a gap at the top and turned out, a ribbon attached and the small gap closed with hand stitching. A line of gold top stitching holds the edge flat and secures the ribbon.

coins and an orange
coins and an orange

What to put in the stocking? Traditionally it should be a few coins and an orange, or in this case chocolate gold coins, and a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. I won’t tell you what else is in the stocking, the recipient should be the first to know and I’d hate to spoil the surprise. I had planned to deliver the stocking today but yesterday my car decided to make ominous noises, bump, thud, bang, metal screeching on metal so I had to stay off the road today until I could get it fixed.

Oh Dear, parking brake spring disintegrated into rear nearside brake disc, much damage done, big bill, but back on the road, thankfully.

ready to go
ready to go

To finish those stockings

I hit another snag, the mark didn’t show at all on the green fabric. Work came to a full stop again. Till I worked out that if I put the gold thread on the bottom bobbin and marked the quilting out on the lining, I could achieve the result I wanted, problem solved.

which fabric?

I wanted to make a swing tag for each stocking. A gold initial on a swing tag to hang from each one. I’d originally planned to put the initial on the red material of the stocking but realised it would not work visually; the material is too busy and the initial would not be well defined, so I chose the green fabric.

Font: Hobo

I chose a simple font, this is Hobo, which is chunky and nicely shaped without any difficult to cut out narrow bits which would have made appliqué complicated. I enlarged the font in bold, and traced the initials onto bondaweb (if you are going to do this do it rough side up or print off a reversed initial, or your finished initial will be the wrong way round).

bondaweb on gold tissue

I ironed the bondaweb onto some gold tissue fabric, cut out, peeled off and ironed into the green fabric. If this swing tag was likely to be washed I’d consider some stitching round the edge to keep it in place but I don’t think it will be necessary.

quilting design

To quilt my stockings I was struggling to find a suitable quilting pattern, I’d initially thought of using a holly and berry pattern I already had but it wasn’t right, then looking at the green fabric I realised throughout all the co-ordinating fabrics there were 5 pointed stars. Coincidentally I’d just bought a set of star cookie cutters. I drew round the 5 star cutters onto cardboard, the points were a little rounded which I didn’t want, so I cut them out sharper. I used the smallest star along the top edge of the stocking, the middle size down the sides of the panels, and all 5 size stars on the foot of the stocking.
Next problem! I planned to use an air erasable pen to mark the shapes onto the stocking, but in the bright sunshine streaming into the room, the mark was disappearing before I could stitch the stars. I gave up, and found something else to do till it went dark.
Then moving on to the foot of the stocking, I hit another snag, the mark didn’t show at all on the green fabric. Work came to a full stop again. Till I worked out that if I put the gold thread on the bottom bobbin and marked the quilting out on the lining, I could achieve the result I wanted, problem solved.