Monday, December 14, 2009

How To Make A Stocking In 43 Minutes

In the Army Man's family, the stocking is one of the most important parts of Christmas morning. It's the first thing opened (such a foreign concept to this girl who always opened hers last!) and it is always stuffed full of goodies. Since the Army Man won't be with us for Christmas this year, I realized that his stocking would have to be shipped to him. But that's a risky endeavor, and I just couldn't stomach the thought of mailing his precious childhood stocking halfway around the world. I mean look at it:
That thing is simply irreplaceable. The Army Man loves his stocking and I would never forgive myself if something happened to it. So one day, less than an hour before picking Laura up from school, I decided to make him one. Yes, I know I could have just bought one at Target for $5. I even saw those stockings with my own eyes when I went there to buy gifts to put in the stocking I made. But I had this ugly Christmas fabric laying around and no other use for it. Plus, like women who cook for people as a sign of their love, I craft for people. So making a stocking for the Army Man is the Claire equivalent of grilling a delicious steak and mailing it to him. Which really wouldn't be a good idea. Hence, the stocking!

Making this stocking was quick and easy. The only thing that slowed me down was me taking pictures of my progress, because right when I started, I decided to write a stocking "tutorial" in case any of my readers are inspired to do make one. If you're an experienced sewer, please hide your eyes from my silly instructions. If you're a novice sewer, please feel free to be wowed by my excellent sewing skillz.

To start out, I simply folded my fabric in half, right (patterned) sides together. I had a yard of fabric on hand and that was plenty to also make a lining for the stocking. I used the stocking I already had as a template, but you could certainly just cut one free hand. Place the stocking on the fabric, and cut around it.Do this twice; once for the outside, once for the lining. Since your fabric was folded in half, you'll end up with 4 cut outs of the stocking. Next measure the approximate length of the top of the stocking, double it, and add about two inches. Use this measurement to cut a length of fabric that is 2 1/4 inches wide and as long as you came up with through your higher math. In my case, mine was about 19 inches long (8.5 plus 8.5 plus 2). If you're interested in making a loop to hang the stocking with, cut another strip of fabric that is 3 inches wide and about 16 inches long.Now take these strips to your ironing board and iron them in half with the wrong (non-patterned) side facing in. Open them back up and fold the sides in to meet that center fold. Refer to picture below. Do this for both strips.
See what I mean? Now, look at your loop fabric. Chances are you'll probably need to cut a few inches off of the length. I think 16 inches ended up being too long, but I can't remember what I cut it down to. Fold it in half and see if you like how long it is. If not, cut off a bit. Don't worry how much, just eyeball it. For JUST the strip for the loop, fold down the end just a bit, and iron it. Clip the corners. Do this on both ends. For the hanging loop, fold the strip in half lengthwise and sew along the open edge to close it. Then fold the strip in half to form the loop, and sew the end. This is going to be a pretty thick bit of fabric to sew through, so make sure you have the correct needle on your machine. Your finished loop should look like this, only better, because my pictures are terrible:Now it's time to sew the stocking. This is so easy, and so fast. With the right sides together, sew a 1/4 inch seam all the way around the stocking, leaving the top open. Back-stitch at both ends. Do this for both the outer part and lining. So you have both sections done. Turn them both right side out and iron the seams to your liking. Then turn one back inside out, and shove it inside the other stocking. Mess with it until it's good enough. You should be seeing the patterned side on both the inside and the outside.

Now it's time to do the trim around the top. Take the trim piece and place it so that it's folded in half and encasing the raw edge of the top of the stocking. Pin it in place.You should have plenty of extra trim. Since you only want it to overlap a little bit, cut one end off diagonally and fold and iron the other end like we did for the loop fabric. Overlap the two ends nicely, and pin in place.Now sew along the entire trim, about 1/4 inch from the edge. If you feel so inclined, you can even use coordinating thread.
Next position the loop to your liking and sew it in place on the inside of the lining.
Lastly, take an awful picture because you just realized you're late to pick you daughter up from school. Fill the stocking with goodies and mail it off to your husband, praying that it gets there in time. But be smart enough to not mention what you actually put in the stocking, just in case he reads your blog.Now that my tutorial is posted, I'm not sure how much use it will actually be to anyone. I realize now I didn't take the right pictures...I took so many pointless ones and totally skipped some crucial steps. But I've always wanted to give writing a tutorial a try, and I have to admit it was fun to attempt to share my idea. I also want to say that looking at that final pictures makes me realize that looks nothing like a stocking but rather a misshapen boot or something. Luckily for me my recipient was a man, and the Army Man at that. There's no way he'll notice what it looks like. He likely won't even realize that I made it.


This Little Hen said...

What a great tutorial! By the way what machines do you have? I want to get new machines, but am not sure what to get.

Patty said...

The picture of the Army Man's well worn stocking brought tears to my eyes. I have been worrying about what he will do without it this year! Your stocking turned out just wonderfully and I know that he will be very excited about it. Remember to pack yours and Laura's for your trip out here, we can't wait!

Claire said...

Hi Hen! So nice to "hear" from you! My sewing machine is a Kenmore that I bought at Sears-a very basic model. I'd say it cost about $100 and is perfect for a beginner sewer. It works well but I am beyond ready for a new one!!

I bought it at the beginning of the year as a stand-in for my old machine, fully intending to buy something better in just a few months. I still haven't gotten a new one but I think I will be soon as I have been trying to save up for a fancier one. My mom recently got a very nice Janome which she really likes.

My serger is by Brother and so far has been wonderful.

Three Dog Days said...

Even though I don't sew I enjoyed the tutorial. The inner liner is cool, as is the binding at the top. Since I'm your sister, I can say this: for some reason with the fabric choice it reminds me of a oven mit. Not sure why, and I hope your feelings are not hurt. It is 242% better than anything I could ever make. I hope it got there in time!

Claire said...

I am laughing so hard at the oven mitt comment! It totally does look like one....I knew I didn't quite like the finished shape of it, and now I know why. How funny!

It did get there in time, and the Army Man had a great Christmas. I don't think he realized that I made the stocking though.