Saturday, November 12, 2011

Simple Felt Stocking Tutorial

I looked forever for a simple stocking tutorial but never found a great one. After a friend requested a how-to it occurred to me that other people might be looking for easy directions as well. I hope these make sense. Let me know if you have any questions. And if you make one I'd love to see a picture! Enjoy!

This is the stocking I had intended to make for Syd. In fact, I still have it in my closet, waiting to be listed on eBay. If anyone's interested, I'm selling it cheap. But after you read this, you'll never be tempted by these kits again. Because I've made these kits and it is not a fast project. Or easy. Or self-contained. By the end of it you're cursing the spirit of Christmas and busting out the glue gun. I got smart for Syd's and trusted my own creative talents (and those of other artists on etsy/pinterest/facebook).

My first step was to browse the internet and find what style I was looking for. I knew I wanted something nature-y and I was drawn to simpler designs (for ease and aesthetics). I came across a beautiful appliqued stocking with a single red bird and knew I'd found it. When we were in Minnesota I learned that having a bird on your Christmas tree is good luck. At the raspberry house we had a cardinal that lived in our bushes in the back. My favorite ornament is a little red bird. And Syd's favorite song? Three Little Birds. Perfect.

The supplies for this project cost me less than $5. I had the embroidery thread on hand, but even if you chose a more intricate design with more colors and had to buy thread and needles, you'd likely still come in under $10. I bought a half of a yard of white felt off the bolt(I think it came out to a couple dollars). The other colors I just bought in the craft section. I think they were on sale for .20 a sheet and I needed 1 red, 1 brown, and 1 green. I have lots of scraps left and a ton of white felt left. If you know of a good project for white felt, please let me know!

For the design I google imaged "Silhouette bird" and picked several that I liked. Then I google imaged "Silhouette branch." Rinse and repeat. I found a couple that fit well together and printed them out. I had to modify the branch a bit to get it to work with the stocking, but it wasn't hard.

Once I had my design printed out, I traced each piece onto a piece of wax paper. Next time I would use tissue paper, but when I was doing this I couldn't find my white tissue paper. It was on top of my dresser. Which makes perfect sense considering there's absolutely no reason for it to even be in the bedroom. Moving on...
I traced the outline of the Bucilla stocking to get my base piece, but this could easily be free-handed. I used each of the traced images as a pattern for cutting out my felt.
This is where I stopped taking pictures, because it seemed like this project may actually come together in time for the holiday. Bear with me and I'll try to explain what I did.

Based on my design, the leaves needed to be under the branch, which went under the bird, so they needed sewn on first. I put all the pieces down, then glued the leaves with a small (and therefore temporary) bit of white glue. Then I put the branch and bird pieces to the side and sewed the leaves on, using green embroidery thread and a simple whip stitch. I built the design up from there, adding the branch and then the bird.

For the name at the top, I wrote out Syd's name on a piece of wax paper, layed that over the green, and embroidered through both pieces. I used a chain-stitch because I know how, but there are prettier stitches out there. When I was done I just ripped the paper away from the stitches. Make sure your knots are tight or else you'll accidentally pull out half of an "e." Not that I speak from experience...

Once the embroidery was done, I sewed the top part of the green to the white, using green thread and a blanket stitch. I made a small loop out of a 1x3 rectangle of white felt and sewed that in the corner of the back piece. I didn't worry about this being pretty and just sewed an "X" several times. Remember that this will need to be weight bearing, so strength of stitches is key. Then I sewed the front and back of the stocking together with white thread and a blanket stitch again (my embroidery arsenal is small, but effective), sewing under the green. The final step was to sew the sides of the green down (green thread, blanket stitch).

And Voila! (or as Eli says "Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!")

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