Easy Handmade Stocking Tutorial

Last year was my daughter’s first Christmas, and because I had not actually sewn or made much for her – which, believe me, I cannot believe?! what happened, I was so excited – I wanted to at least make her a stocking. It was really easy, and last year I wrote up a quick tutorial I’d posted on an older blog (that, to be honest, I never really used). I’ve reproduced it here, so if you’re interested, here’s a quick how-to!

better stocking graphic

Materials

-stocking template
-one fat quarter printed fabric
-one fat quarter lining fabric
-scrap of cotton fabric approx. 9″ x 5″ for cuff
-scrap of aida (or linen, evenweave, etc) approx. 9″ x 5″ for cuff
-scrap of striped fabric for cuff hem and hanger
-batting (low loft)
-thread
-embroidery floss
-water soluble fabric marker
-(optional) bias tape maker

 MAKING THE STOCKING

The first thing you need to do is get a pattern for your stocking.  There are 3 easy ways to do this.  You could find a pattern online (there are lots to choose from, many options free!), trace a stocking you already have, or draw it freehand.  The instructions will work for any method, you may just have to adjust the sizing a bit.

Select the fabric for the outside of the stocking.  This is my favorite part!  There are so many gorgeous holiday fabric lines out there, and it can be really hard to choose.  For this stocking, made last year, I went with Heather Ross’s Sugarplum collection.  It is so, so cute! Be mindful, though, of the scale of your print. The fabric I chose had a very large scale, directional print so I had to be more careful of how I cut. I wanted as much visible as possible, and I wanted it to be right side up!

You need a fat quarter, or 18″ x 22″ piece, approximately.  Fold it in half – make sure to fold along the 22″ length, so that when it’s folded you have about an 18″ by 11″ section to work with.  Now use a water soluble fabric marker to draw your stocking or trace your pattern piece.  This is a great trick if you’re drawing freehand, because with the fabric folded you already know exactly how big it needs to be!  Cut out your stocking, making sure to cut through both layers of fabric!  Do the same thing for your lining fabric.  (If you drew your stocking freehand, trace around one of your pieces with your fabric marker.)

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Next, cut your batting.  I laid my stocking pieces right on my batting, sticking with a little spray adhesive, and then cut around them with a rotary cutter (see below).

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Then it’s time to quilt your stocking pieces.  Choose a nice coordinating thread color.  I went with a bright, Christmas red!  If you want to do offset cross-hatching like I did, start in the top corner and draw a line with your fabric marker, approximately 45 degrees from the top of the stocking.  (NOTE: It’s always a good idea to test your fabric marker first on a scrap of fabric before using it on the actual project!)  If you have a quilting ruler, there should be a 45-degree line you can use!  Then, with your ruler, measure however far you’d like between lines – I did 2″ – and trace the next one with your marker.  Continue to do that until you have all your lines on your stocking in one direction.

Next, draw your lines going perpendicular using the same method.  You want your lines 90 degrees from the first set.  Repeat for the next stocking piece!

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Once your lines are drawn on both stockings, take them over to the sewing machine and get quilting!  Sew along the drawn lines.  I used a standard 2.5 mm stitch length and because the batting was so low I didn’t use my walking foot.

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Once the quilting is done, use water to erase all the lines from the fabric marker.  They should be pretty unobtrusive, under your quilting lines, but don’t forget!  Then place your two exterior pieces right sides together and sew together with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  This is a great project to practice going around curves, because it’s very forgiving – but if you have trouble, just go slow.

Do the same for the lining, also using a 1/4″ seam allowance (for the lining your seam allowance can be a generous 1/4″ since it’ll be fitted inside the stocking.

Turn the exterior of the stocking right side out, and place the lining inside, making sure to line up the side seams.  Sew 1/4″ from the top (you can use basting stitches).

MAKING THE CUFF

Measure around your stocking to get the measurements you need for your cuff.  My method: lay the stocking flat on my work surface/cutting mat, and measure across the front, rounding up to whole numbers.  Mine was about 8″ across.  Add 1/2.”  Decide how tall you want your cuff – or how much of your stocking you want your cuff to cover.  About 4″ or thereabouts.  The exact measurement isn’t important, as long as you’re happy with how it looks.  Add 1/4″ to your height measurement (you’ll only have a seam allowance on the top where you sew the cuff to the stocking, the bottom will be covered with a thin binding).

Use those measurements to cut your cuff from your fabric scrap and – if you want a name on it – from your aida (or linen or whatever you’d like).  Now it’s time to cross stitch your name!  You can also embroider a name by hand or with your embroidery machine.  Try to get it centered on your piece of fabric – if it’s easier, do the name and then cut your fabric.  There are tons of really cool alphabet fonts out there, or you can just draw letters yourself.  As you can see from the picture, I just used a Times New Roman!  If you’re not sure how to cross stitch, leave a comment and I’ll either link to some tutorials or write a quick on up myself!

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Once your name is done, put the two cuff pieces right side together and sew up the short sides with 1/4″ seam allowances.  Turn it right side out and fit it over the stocking to make sure it’s the right size.  Make adjustments if needed.

Next, time to make the binding for the bottom!  I used strips cut straight on the grain, but if you want to use bias tape that’s fine.  Cut a piece of fabric 4 times the finished width.  For example, if you want a binding going 1/4″, cut a long strip of fabric at least an inch wide (I would be generous with this measurement).  You want longer than you’ll need so you have leftover to make the hanger!  Then, I used a bias tape maker, which made things SO easy!  I definitely recommend it if you have one.  Otherwise, fold the fabric strip in half and press.  Unfold, and then fold in each side until the edge is lined up with that middle crease.  Press (it’s easier to do one side at a time), and then fold in half and press again.  Now put your binding around the bottom edge of your cuff, to measure how much you need.  Mark where the ends should meet, and sew that together.  This is basically just like the binding for a quilt!  If you have trouble with that, you can fold in the raw edge on one end and then trim and tuck the other inside it.  Just remember, if you do that it’s going to be very thick to sew through, and it may not be perfectly even.  After you’ve cut, set the excess strip off to one side for later.

Then, pin or clip the binding to the raw edge of the cuff (I like wonder clips, or binder clips, or even alligator hair clips) and sew around.  (Make sure you have matching thread in your machine – if you used a bright color for quilting, you may want to switch it for a more neutral color.)

Cuff

And you have a cuff!  I used a stripey print from a Bonnie and Camille line, but you can use any stripe or solid, or a coordinating print with your stocking body.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

Take the excess from your strip of binding, and trim it to however long you’d like your hanger to be.  Fold it in half along that middle crease, and edge stitch along the folded edges.  Then take your stocking body and at the seam that runs along the side with the HEEL, pin your hanger strip inside the stocking against the lining.  Make sure that the seam sits right in the middle of both ends – I measure about 1/4″ or so away from the seam for each end of the strip.  If you’d like, go ahead and baste the hanger to the stocking, making sure your seam allowance is less than 1/4″ so the basting doesn’t show. (You can always rip it out, but why not save yourself the trouble?)

Turn your cuff inside out and stuff it inside the stocking.  The LINING should be against the WRONG side of the cuff.  Think about it like the lining is the wrong side of the stocking, so it’s wrong sides together.  Line up the TOP edge of the cuff – without the binding – with the top edge of the stocking.  Try to line up your side seams.  Pin or clip the stocking and cuff together.  If you didn’t baste the hanger, make sure to pin that as well.  It should be between the stocking and cuff.

Then sew around the top edge.  Pull your cuff up and over the stocking.  Press.

And that’s it!  If you’d like, you can add more embellishment after.  This is totally customizable, too.  You don’t have to quilt it, or you can quilt it in a different way!  This is an easy and really satisfying project.  I was so proud after I made it that my daughter’s first stocking was handmade by me.

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Thanks for reading, everyone!  Let me know if anything was unclear, and I’m always happy to answer any questions.  Feel free to share any stockings you’ve made, from this or any tutorial! 

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