Christmas stockings have been hung over fireplaces for centuries. Here's how to make your own. By Kirstie Allsopp
The tradition of hanging stockings is thought to have been started by the saint of Christmas, St Nicholas. He wanted to give some money to the three daughters of a family who had fallen on hard times. On Christmas Eve, he spotted their stockings drying by the fireplace, popped gold coins in, and the tradition began.
I visited Dandelion Designs, where pattern designer Mandy Shaw showed me how to make a quilted Christmas stocking of my own.
If you want to add a stick-on design you'll also need some bondaweb, a piece of felt and an iron and ironing board.
Easy, if you're good at sewing. Actually, even if you're not good at sewing, you should still be able to follow this step by step guide.
You'll be using scraps of material, so the cost will be minimal. If you’re asking father Christmas for your own sewing machine, you can get one for less than a hundred quid. The savings you can make by making things yourself are huge... but don’t stitch yourself up - speak to a specialist for advice on the best one to suit you.
Step One: Cut Out the Shape
The first step is to make my stocking shape. I used a very simple pattern, cut out of paper.
We're going to start of with the base fabric, which is wadding. Pin your paper pattern onto the wadding, cut out your shape - and hey presto, you’ve got your surface that the fabric gets stitched onto.
Step Two: "Stitch and Flip" Quilting
To decorate my stocking, we’re using a quilting technique called stitch and flip. To begin, you take two bits of fabric and pin them face-to-face on the wadding. You then stitch down the spine of the two pieces, and that attaches them both to the wadding.
Flip them open like a book and this creates a seamless quilting effect.
Step Three: Finish the Quilting
Keep adding fabric to the different edges of material until the stocking shape is completely covered. Then lay it face down (so you can see your stocking-shape again) and cut around the outside edge. This produces the front panel of your stocking.
Step Four: Decorate the Stocking
Your stocking will already look lovely with its plain quilting, but now you can decorate it with sewing tapes and ribbons. Lay them out, pin them on, then sew carefully along both edges of each tape. Ribbons need very fine sewing, so make sure your sewing machine needle is very sharp.
I’m also adding a little red reindeer to my design. But don’t worry if you’re no Picasso; you simply trace a picture onto a piece of bondaweb – which is that double sided sticky stuff that holds up your hem when you’ve got no time to sew it - and iron that onto a piece of felt. Cut it out - carefully! - then it’s back to the ironing board to press it onto the stocking.
Step Five: Add the Lining and Backing
Now it's time to get the fabric that will be the lining of your stocking (I used a super-soft Viyella type material for mine) and the backing fabric that will be used on the reverse of the stocking.
Here's where it starts to gets tricky, so listen up! Take the two layers of the lining fabric. Put a layer of the backing fabric on top of that. And put your stocking, face down, on top of that. Then sew round the edge of the stocking (making sure to leave the top open!) and trim the excess lining and backing fabrics from around the edge.
Step Six: Make It Into a Stocking
Once all the layers have been attached, you'll need to turn it the right way round. Do this by looking into the inside-out stocking and finding the decorated (quilted) side and the backing side - and turning it the right way out from there. Magic!
Step Seven: Hang It Over the Fireplace
All that's left is for you to hem the stocking top and hang it on your fireplace. Father Christmas will be so pleased!
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