Monday, January 3, 2011

DIY Project: The Plight of the Stockings

Heya Nesters!  As mentioned before, I had many DIY projects underway for Christmas gifts and couldn't show you until after the wrapping-paper-ripping was over.  I couldn't ruin the surprise! After all, occasionally family members do stop by the ol' Nest. Anyhoo, one day in November, I got an email from Pottery Barn advertising their Christmas stockings.

via Pottery Barn
Since I had already been hemming and hawing over what homemade gifts to churn out I thought, "What a better gift for a new family {Joe, Molly and the Raz} than a family of matching homemade stockings!"  HA! How wrong was I?!

Don't get me wrong, they were still a good gift for the new fam. But confession time: I actually struggled a little.  Luckily, as each one went on I learned a little more and they became easier.

Step One: I started by sketching out my shape ideas on some wide width pattern paper.

The green outline is what I ended up deciding on. I love the pointy elf toe.  

Step Two:  Make the sketch into a paper pattern.  If you aren't familiar with translating this to a hand drafted pattern, basically, I just traced the outline of the whole boot {including the portion under the cuff} and added 1/2" seam allowance around the entire thing. Then repeated this process with the cuff as well.

Step Three: Pick up the goods.  I headed out to my local fabric store {with coupon in tow} and some ideas in mind. I knew I wanted velvet. Initially, I wanted to go with green for the boys {Joe and the Raz} and red for Molly.  I second guessed myself when I saw the price tag was $16 more expensive per yard for the green than the red velvet.  Maybe it would be even cuter if they all matched and were red?? Right?  Hi, remember me? I'm a cheap-o.  I picked up half a yard of red velvet, a yard of red corded trim from the upholstery department, quarter yard of faux fur for the Santa-esque cuff and lastly another half yard of some green-on-green cotton calico with a pinstripe of gold. Festive, right?

Step Four: Cut out pattern pieces.  I quickly realized that I just did not buy enough velvet. Ugh! Back to the fabric store.  *Two thumbs down for eyeballing!* At this point, I knew this was Karma biting me in the behind for not buying the green before. Okay, okay... I'll stop being cheap and get the green velvet, Karma. Jeez.  I also picked up some white corded trim to use on the green stockings as a contrast.

Remember to cut 2 of the boot in the velvet, and 2 in the lining.  The cuff should have 2 cut from the fur and 2 from the velvet as well. 

Step Five: Cut a 5" piece of ribbon and fold in half.  Pull out only one of your lining boot pieces. Baste flush with the top of the boot, loop pointing down, at the back of the "calf".  As I poorly Photoshopped in here...

It was just too hard to verbalize, I needed to show you were to put it.

Step Six: Stitch the velvet boot pattern pieces to the velvet cuff, with right sides together.  Then stitch the lining boot pattern to the  fur cuff.  Carefully press open your seams.  WARNING: Velvet is very difficult to press!  You can crush the grain and make an imprint of your iron if you aren't careful.  So just be totally sure you use a very low setting and work quickly.  You don't need this to be perfect but just so that it is a smidge smoothed out. You should now have 4 pieces: 2 all velvet and 2 that are half lining, half fur. 

Step Seven:  Stitch each of the matching pieces together down the sides of the boot, crossing at the toe.  

Be sure to trim the excess seam allowance at the curves, particularly at the toe. Since the shell is velvet and, as we discussed above, it is difficult to press.  By trimming as close as possible {without snipping through the seam} this will give a smoother look to the final product without having to worry about pressing.

Step Eight: Adding the fancy stuff!  Now we can add the trim to the stocking. I wanted it to be placed at the bottom of the folded cuff, so measured enough trim out that would loop around the diameter of the opening plus a little extra so the ends will overlap.  Then I pinned and basted it, tape side against the cut edge of the velvet cuff.  This might actually be easier to do by hand because you would have to bust out the zipper foot.  But you'll have to shortly anyway, so either route you'd like to take, be my guest!

I actually did these steps ass-backwards.  I told you there was a learning curve! So I had stitched the trim on before I whipped up the sides, causing me to hand stitch through the cording. Oy vey.  Trust me, stitch it on second, MUCH easier.

Step Nine: Almost done!

Now that the trim is on, pop the lining into the shell, right sides together and stitch around the top, leaving a small opening at the back of the stocking to turn it right side out.

Step Ten: Pull the stocking right side out and hand stitch up the hole. 

All done!!  
Not lookin' too shabby, right?  Here are how all 3 came out for me.

There you have it Nesters!!  So what do you think? Something you would attempt yourself?  Has anyone made theirs in a different way? Perhaps with a different trim? Spill those guts, guys!


One last thing....  For your viewing pleasure, I thought I'd throw in a shot or two of what my living room/workspace looked like for about a week before Christmas while I was crafting my sass off.

A bomb truly went off. Ahh!  Please tell me this happens to you too....


  1. Gina, I LOVE our stockings! They are so beautiful. :)

  2. You are so brave! I'm a freelance clothing designer and I've never tackled stockings! They look amazing!
    Kristina J.

  3. Thanks guys! Kristina.... Those were tough. Really tough. Thanks for the kind words! But I think I'll stick to making clothes and pillows! hahaha!


Heya Nesters! I always love your feedback! So dish, because we all want to hear it! <3