Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Patchwork Christmas Stockings

My mother made beautiful, hand appliqued Christmas stockings, dozens of them-- for her children, for her sons and daughters-in-law, for many of her nieces and nephews, and finally for her grandchildren. Each time I hang them up, I am flooded with wonderful memories of Christmases past:

Now I love to see Delys, Elin, and Laurel beginning their own stocking traditions. Recently, however, Laurel had an unexpected and unpleasant surprise when she went out to her storage closet and discovered that all their Christmas decorations had been destroyed by water and mold from an undetected leak in the apartment above. So I dashed to my seriously over-loaded fabric closet, pulled out some favorite Christmas fabrics, and went to work.

I know it's already late in the season, but if you are looking for a fun way to make unique Christmas stockings, read on. (This technique can also be used to create beautiful pillows and quilt squares any time of year.)

Mom made up her own pattern. I am less creative and bought this one. It is a traditional shape and size and was easy to work with.

Now, select your fabrics. I chose fairly traditional Christmas patterns, but you can also think outside the box with colorful polka dots, florals, or even elegant velvets and brocades. You can choose as few or as many patterns and solids for the patchwork as you want. You will only need large scraps--a few inches wider than your stocking pattern. You will also need two pieces of fabric that are about 3 inches wider and longer than your pattern. One of these will be the backing for your patchwork, and the other will be the back of your stocking. (See below.) 1/2 yard will be plenty for the back, backing, and a cuff:

Start by cutting a fabric strip the width of your backing and as deep as you choose. Place it right side up on the bottom of your backing:

Cut another strip, lay it right side down on the top edge of your first strip, and stitch across the top through both strips and the backing with a 1/4 inch seam:

Fold up your second strip and iron it flat:

Repeat the process, building your design upward and varying both your fabrics and the depth of your strips to create an interesting pattern:

Once you have filled your muslin backing with strips, you can add interesting detail either by sewing rickrack, ribbon, or braid over each seam line or sewing across the seams with a decorative stitch. That is what I chose to do:

Now you are ready to cut out your stocking. Lay your pattern on your completed patchwork, pin it in place, and cut it out. (You will also need to cut out a stocking back.)

Pin the stocking and stocking back right sides together. Sew around the entire stocking with a 1/2 inch seam. Be sure to back stitch both at the beginning and the end. Carefully make tiny clips from the outer edge toward the seam line around the curved parts of the stocking, being careful not to cut through the seam. This will make the curves look nicer when you turn the stocking inside out:

Turn right side out and press. Cut out two pieces of fabric using the Cuff 5 pattern and follow the directions for stocking B, steps 10 through 12. Now, tuck the cuff inside your stocking so that the right side of the cuff is touching the wrong side of the stocking and the raw edge of the cuff lines up with the top of the stocking. Match the cuff side seam with the left side seam of the stocking. Pin it in place, and stitch around the top of the cuff and stocking with a 5/8 inch seam. Turn the cuff to the outside and press. I cut a 3 inch piece of ribbon, folded it in half, and stitched it to the inside of the left seam to create a hanger:

Using the same fabrics, but changing how I placed them, I created four coordinating but unique stockings. And as their family grows, it will be easy to add to the collection. I personalized each stocking by stitching a name along one of the solid fabric strips. (You will want to sew the name on before you sew the stocking front and back together.)

Merry Christmas!


  1. This is on my to do list for some christmas in the I have an online reference. Thank you!!

  2. Your mother also made matching stocking for her siblings, their spouses, and her nieces and nephews. We have actually stuck closer to her pattern, with the names 'couched' onto the front in the same way. I've made them for my kids and grandkids, and I just made one for Becky's fiance, JD.