|Greaseproof paper pattern|
Recently, I made a beautiful Rob Ryan stocking using a very simple tea towel specifically designed for festive transformation. The leftover fabric had sweet little birds and stars on, so there wasn’t a chance I’d throw it away. However, it was only after a little thought that I decided to try and make a few more stockings using offcuts of red pillowcases I already had. So here’s my step by step guide to making a simple stocking!
- Choose an easy to stitch fabric. A plain weave cotton, not too loose, is best. If you’re using scraps, like I did, make sure you’ve got enough for the front and back panels, even if they aren’t the same fabric, and also make sure you’ve got the right thread. I quite like contrasting thread but if you don’t head to your local haberdashery for the correct colour.
- Make a template pattern. Greaseproof or tracing paper will do. Remember you just need to make one boot shape so keep it simple and remember to make it slightly larger than you want the finished stocking to be, as there needs to be an allowance for the seams.
- Pin your template onto the fabric and draw round it in tailor’s chalk. If you don’t have tailor’s chalk use pencil very lightly (I won’t tell anyone you’ve cheated). Make sure you’ve pinned the template on correctly for the ‘front’ and ‘back’ if your fabric has a right and wrong side. Cut out very carefully using very sharp scissors, preferably fabric scissors.
- Now this is where you need to do any applique if that’s in the plan. Position the item and pin into place, I usually just use a straight stitch to go round the edge of the shape and then go over with a zigzag stitch, trimming off any excess fabric once the fabric is secure. This is a very basic form of applique, but since this is labelled an ‘easy’ stocking guide I thought I should keep it as simple as possible. Heck, you can even use fabric glue to stick on embellishments afterwards if you want to make it super easy!
- Next to sew it together. Pin the two halves of fabric together face-to-face, check very carefully it’s been pinned properly with no folds or kinks. Whether machine or hand sewing, a simple running stitch all around the edge, with a minimum 5mm seam allowance, should be enough, although I recommend doing two rows of stitching, one a few millimetres parallel from the other, for extra strength. Remember to backstitch a little every time you begin or end sewing, to reduce the chance of unravelling, and use a needle to thread any loose ends through to the inside so they don’t show.
- Hopefully, now if you turn it inside out you’ll have something resembling a stocking! Check it over and if everything’s ok turn it back again and fold down the neck and pin. This will be harder to sew as it’s a loop so be sure that none of the rest of the stocking gets caught in the stitching, especially if feeding it through a machine. If you want to add a loop to hang the stocking up this is when to stitch it to the inside of the stocking’s neck.
And there you have it, a very basic way to make a stocking. For kids why not try making stockings with felt, stitched together with wool and a plastic children’s needle to minimise risk of injury. Mini stockings make great tree decorations too, or strung together as bunting, so get sewing and get creative!
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