Saturday, November 9, 2013

DIY How to make a personalized Embroidered Christmas Stocking

One of the traditions I've started for our family, is making a personalized stocking. The first three I made were ones I picked up at a local craft store. The design and all the material came in a pack and it helped me learn all the tricks of embroidery. After making three, I decided I would try designing my own and it turned out beautifully. The best part was including caricatures of our family, which made it more fun and meaningful. The first design I came up with and made included a scene where our family of four was singing Christmas carols and I gave it to our youngest (at the time) who loved it.

Somehow, I got a bit behind and wasn't able to make a stocking for our son before our last baby was born. Since the baby would be using our plain stocking I decided I better get to it and make one for our little guy. I decided to use a snowball fight scene and love how it turned out:

If you're interested in making your own personalized stocking, but don't have much experience with applique, or embroidery, then you could start out with a kit that includes all your supplies, and instructions (like Bucilla's stocking kits), or if you feel brave you could try it on your own (like I did here). There's so many good tutorials and guides on embroidery that you can find on the web. So you shouldn't feel completely lost. Here's a basic outline of how I made mine:

First, I got flannel as fabric for the front and then cotton gingham for the inside. I already had a lot of leftovers of felt for my scene. You can find felt in any craft store as well as embroidery thread, beads, and sequins. After cutting out the shape (make sure to account for the seam allowance and cut it out bigger than you'd like the finished product to be), I sewed another piece of fabric so the inside would look nice, and so the goodies Santa brings wouldn't snag on embroidery threads. Just put right sides together and then later it will flip over so you'll have a beautiful seam. Only sew the top. Don't finish the sides until your design is complete.

Then I drew what I wanted the scene on the stocking to look like and cut out the background first (a sledding hill).

Then  I pinned where I wanted other pieces of the picture to go:

I'd then start to cut out pieces of felt to make the characters. Here you can see I changed how my arm and the position of the baby with the felt versus where it was in the picture. When the top part of the body was done I started the hair.

For the hair I wound embroidery thread around a couple of times trying to make it a tad longer than I wanted the length of hair to be. I then would stitch the thread to the top of the head (I wasn't too careful about how it looked since I knew the hats would cover the hair).

Since I was making it for a child, I made extra stitches to make sure the hair was nice and secure.

Once I was done I'd snip the ends to the desired hair length and would add a hat:

Here's how I made the pom pom on top of the hats. Grab the color/colors you want:

Wind the string around your finger. Do it loose enough you'll be able to pull it off. Then take a needle to the top or bottom of all the strings and tie them together a couple of times. Make sure they're all secure then snip the top to desired length and fluff the strings.

You'll wind thread to make bangs as well:

Then stitch the bangs securely in place and cut to desired length (see the bangs on the side haven't been trimmed like the bangs on the right):

Here's a trick I'd keep track of all the small felt pieces I'd cut out: I'd baste stitch on top of my picture and would adjust to how I really wanted the pieces. I also pinned the pieces to make it all really secure:

Here's how you can make curly hair: Double up a long piece of string as shown in the picture. Then, begin to twist the tops and bottoms in opposite directions...

Then push your ends towards each other and the strings will wind around each other even more like this (except you will have two hands since you won't be taking a picture):

I stitched the curls to the head leaving extra to hang over side so the curls would stay. I actually didn't cover this girls hair and just sewed it in place...

After all your caricatures are pieced and sewn together, you can add stitches to make the face. You can also add thread and sequins to add details to your picture to make snow flakes, Christmas lights, eyelashes etc.You can also add a little stuffing to add depth and a more 3-D feel.

My kids all loved that Daddy was laughing about a snowball getting him really good. Who do you think plastered him?

I like adding thread to the bottom of the scarfs for detail. I also did french knots to make polka dots. I've used french knots to make eyes before as well.

After you're done add your child's name to the top (examples on stockings below) and you're done! While it takes a lot of time, these stockings will be cherished and much more special than a plain ol' one you can pick up at the drugstore.

Here are the first two stockings I made from Bucilla. They came with all the supplies and explained how to do all the stitches. So, if you need a more in depth tutorial, or don't think you can come up with a fun scene of your own, these are beautiful and fun as well. I found that my own design went a lot quicker though since it wasn't as intricate as these so if you want it done before Christmas I suggest you get started soon!


  1. That stocking is so adorable! Maybe someday I'll make my own.

  2. You should! If you do make sure to post a picture or send it my way!