A Holiday Craft...For the "Un-Crafty"
This is going to sound crazy, but if I was honest about the number of hours (days) that I spent looking for the perfect holiday stocking for my home, you would think I was nuts. It's not like me to be that much of a perfectionist about things either, but I really wanted a nice holiday stocking that did not look over-commercial or had any kind of character, puff paint, animals, etc., or anything.
I wanted something more rustic/natural and personalized looking. After spending way too much time online, in-stores, etsy, everywhere (I did find a few that were OK, but were way over priced - to purchase four I was going to spend over $400. I don't love Christmas stockings that much!!) I stopped into one of my favorite home furnishing stores in Newburyport, MA The Red Bird Trading Co. And happened to approach the owner, Kerry Vaughn, and asked her if she sold any holiday stockings. Her store is filled with beautiful and unique items from all of the world, and she has such a great selection of holiday decorations... I was sure she'd have something. I asked if the store had stockings and Kerry said, "no, I don't because I couldn't find any that I liked!" I thought, Oh thank God, I am not crazy, even the experts can't find a good stocking, ha! We discussed this problem for a few minutes, and she gave me a great suggestion. She recommended that I buy an antique European Grain Sack that she sold, and make it myself. Amazing! Just one problem. I hate crafts, I am terrible at them, and I don't think I remember how to sew. Well, after thinking it over a little while, my crazy desire to have just the right stocking gave me that extra push to buy the vintage sack and give it a try. How hard could it be?
Turns out it wasn't too hard, and the stockings turned out exactly how I wanted.. perfectly, un-perfect ;). I am sure there is a more sophisticated way of doing this, but I just pretty much cut the shape out of the grain sack and sewed it. Here is my step-by step to making these stockings.
1) Step 1- Create the pattern. Kerry from Red Bird gave me a nice long piece of brown paper. I drew the shape of the stocking that I wanted on the paper. Then just cut it out. Very simple. I'm positive there are fancy patterns out there, if one would prefer to use those. I just decided to wing it.
Step 2 - I lined my stocking pattern on the grain sack. I used the side with the wide seam as the top, to give my stockings the appearance of having a finished edge on top. Because it is a sack, you only have to cut the shape out once (if you have sharp enough scissors to go through both sides of the grain sack).
I then placed some tape in between the paper stocking and grain sack to help it stay in place while I cut around the shape. I cut the shape out but left the seam on top held together. That helped keep both sides of the stocking in place while I sewed it. I liked the rough cut, frayed edges, so I decided to leave that on the outside (as opposed to sewing it and then flipping inside out).
Step 3- Sew. I had planned to use a red thread to sew the fabric together. I thought that little bit of color would be cute. However, because I am not a great sewer, I matched a thread to the grain sack, to hide my not so great stitching skills. The frayed edges were also great at helping blend my stitches in:). I started below the red line on the right side. I sewed half way around the bottom of the "foot". I then cut the seam on top. And then sewed up the rest of the sides.
Step- 4. The Hook Loop. You need the hook loop on top to hang the stocking. Once both sides of the stocking were all sewed together. I cut a piece out of the seam to use as the hook. I cut about a 6 inch piece out of the seam. Folded that in half, then sewed both sides of the loop into the inside right corner of the back side of the stocking. And voila, you have a stocking! The next two steps are optional.
Step 5 - Stencil. I bought a 3 inch letter stencil from the craft store. I wanted to make my stockings a little more personalized. I bought silver fabric paint and small paint brushes. I then painted the letters on to the stockings and let them dry for a few hours.
Step 6- Pom-Pom Tassle. I saw something similar to these in a high-end catalog. I went to buy them and there were not only sold out, but again, more than I wanted to pay for a tassel for a stocking. So I searched Etsy for Peruvian pom-pom tassels, and found these for $12 a piece. All together, I spend about $100 for the 4 stockings. I am so happy with the outcome and the price! And the fact that me, the most un-crafty person could make such beautiful, timeless stockings for my family, well, that's just priceless.