Christmas in July – Christmas Stockings

This was written in January… but I saved it up to post now.  I am not going to update the “what I am doing” section – it’s a look back to January!

I’ve been pretty busy with a newborn, 5 year old & Christmas prep going on.  I made very intricate cross-stitch stockings for Kevin & myself over the years (started mine in college & his while we were dating).  I started one for Andy when I was pregnant with him – 5+ years ago… it still isn’t done!  So I figure at this rate Sam will never get one!  Time to make a new plan!  I saw this pattern (Merry) by Camille Roskelley when she made them for herself & in her instagram posts during the holidays.  Here’s a peak into my finished products.IMG_5484 - 2013-12-10 at 22-04-20

 

I made a few changes and adjusted the method a bit as I went along since I was making so many.  Here are the highlights of my changes….

  • I paper pieced the half-square-triangles for the zig-zag and the pinwheel versions.  If you have never paper pieced – don’t worry I hadn’t either!  In fact I had NEVER sewn a pinwheel or zig-zag before these!
  • Having never made these before my math converting Camille’s directions into paper piecing somehow doubled what I needed – so I made double the stockings(!)
  • I finished all of my tops & then went out to get lining & backing…. Camille suggest 1fat quarter for each stocking piece basically.  If you are making one, you need a 1/2 yard + a fat quarter – but since I was doing 8 stockings I went ahead & combined – buying 4 different lining/backing choices & for each one I bought 1.5 yards which was enough for 2 stockings.  Honestly once I laid my pattern out I had close to a fat quarter extra because I was able to arrange the stocking shapes to maximize my fabric use since I bought a full piece instead of fat quarters.   I used similar math for the batting – I bought that on the roll at my local quilt shop where they sell it double wide.  So I needed 3 yards total for 8 stockings.
  • I wanted to use leftover of the multi color dotted material which brought all of the colors together for the cuffs.   More on my sewing info for how I messed that up (and fixed it)!

Paper Piecing Info

  • I used templates from Quilting and Whatnot
  • 2 1/4″ HST template for the zig-zag
  • 2 1/2″ HST template for the pinwheels
  • For both of these sizes you can fit 12 FINISHED HSTs on an 8.5×11 (you will see 6 squares as you sew)
  • To make 2 pinwheel stockings I used 7 sheets of the template & did groups of 4 “squares” (8 finished HSTs when you are done) of each fabric combo
    • The math – 7 sheets = 84 finished squares – each stocking needed 40 – which is 3 1/3 sheets for ONE stocking.  Keep your grouping to 4 FINISHED (2 of the neat squares on the template) per color combo which is what you need for one pinwheel
  • To make 2 zig-zag stockings I used 7 sheets of the template & did 4 color A & 3 color B
    • The math – 7 sheets = 84 finished squares – each stocking needed 38 – which is about 2 colorA and 1.5 colorB for ONE stocking (you will have a few extra)
  • For both I paired a “print” & a neutral – the neutral was identical for each set – a gray snowflake pattern for some & solid white for the others.

HST Sewing Info

If you have sewn HST or paper pieced before this will be old news, but it was all new for me.

  • Print on the cheapest/thinnest printer paper you own (I used 20lb printer paper)
  • When paper piecing shorten your stitch length…. it’s easier to sew straight when sewing faster when it is shorter AND the paper tears MUCH easier!  My mom told me this thankfully!
  • Sew along the sew lines & cut with ruler/rotary trimmer along the cut lines
  • To tear off the paper I folded over the big side to form a crease in the paper & then it tore away easily

Stocking Assembly Info

I changed a few things here too.  I wanted to use as much of my pieced tops as I possibly could… so I made my own stocking template (Camille’s is beautiful but smaller).

I am including a free download of mine here.  I can’t say whether this template works with her hexagon stocking because I only made the two styles.

To mark the pattern onto the stocking I used my Fons & Porter mechanical pencil and white or dark lead depending on the fabric.

Since I used a different stocking template I needed to make the cuff bigger than her pattern – only I didn’t.  Whoops!  AND I used up all of my remaining polka dot fabric when I cut out 8 wrong sized cuffs.  After a bit of thinking on it, I decided to do a pieced cuff – the front is polka dot & the backs were a bit of whatever was left over…. so they don’t all look identical.  To accomplish that,

  • I cut 2 – 7.5×9″ pieces for each stocking & sewed them together to make a 7.5″x8.5″ tube.
  • I didn’t follow Camille’s exact directions for making the cuff either.  Have I mentioned I have a hard time following directions?   I “folded” my tube in half so it was 4.25×8.5″ with right sides out.  I did a quick 1/4″ seam on the raw ends to hold it together.
  • I then added the hanging tab as shown in this picture – to keep those raw edges hidden inside the stocking.  I put it just slightly to the back of the stocking because I was already going to have alot of fabric on the stocking seams & wanted it offset from there.
  • The tube then slid into the stocking with the raw edges lining up with the raw edge on the stocking.  I took alot of care to make sure my seams lined up on the sides of the stocking.
  • I used my walking foot to sew the cuff into the stocking with a simple straight stitch
  • Flip the cuff up & out, folding it over.  I lightly pressed mine to lay flat.

The last bit was the names.  I debated using my Silhouette Cameo to cut out letters & applique them, but I really don’t enjoy applique letters.  I don’t have an embroidery machine – but my mother does… 1000 miles away!   I chopped off some of the aqua fabric (I had plenty) and mailed it to her.  She embroidered the names & mailed it back.   Total turn-around was about a week.   We left her stabilizer on the back of the fabric to give it a bit of stiffness when I was done.  I cut them to size – leaving the names slightly off center & made a matching back piece.   I sewed them right sides together, leaving one end mostly open.   I pressed my seams & turned right side out.  Then I topstitched with a triple stitch on my machine (too bad I didn’t have aqua thread to hide my topstitching!)  I used the eyelet stitch on it’s largest setting (I had to do the stitch 3 times to get it to really look nice (I found using the correct foot made a big difference too).  A quick hole punch & some ribbon – presto!

I also added labels from Sweetwater – LOVED them!

Here is the finished product – all 8 of them!  Since I doubled up – 4 will be for the family visiting us over Christmas.IMG_5549 - 2013-12-13 at 11-32-12

And… I meant to post this before Christmas – finished up the whole post other than attaching pictures.   So I tucked the written post away on January 1st to save for July!  YEA It is July!

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