Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tutorial: The easiest Christmas Stocking you’ll ever make

Recently, our mom’s group stitched up some super easy stockings for Craft Hope Project # 14, Christmas in Dixie, which sent stockings and other Christmas decorations to tornado victims in the South. When we decided to participate in this project, I had the perfect stocking pattern in mind…but it needed a bit of tweaking. So I give you…..The easiest Christmas Stocking you will EVER make!

This pattern originally came from the Bernina USA website, circa 2004-ish. My Kansas hometown fabric store, where I learned to sew AND worked for around 7 years off and on during high school and college, taught sewing and machine embroidery classes. This stocking was one of those classes and was taught by my friend and coworker, Serena. She upgraded Bernina’s pattern into a lovely embroidery project, complete with a soft batting layer, that was constructed of shiny satin or warm wool. In fact, our family stockings are made using the original pattern. Aren’t they cute?


I deconstructed the pattern a bit for this project, because most of our mom’s group seamstresses are beginners

Here’s how to do it:


*Note: The following fabric measurements give you enough to do TWO stockings. I use this measurement to compensate for any design directionality (one-way Santa print, for example). If you’d rather not purchase that much, just take the pattern with you to the store and get exactly what you need*

1/2 yd of outside fabric (cute Christmas print, etc) can be cotton, felt, anything really that is easy to work with.

3/4 yd lining/contrast (plain color that goes with your outside fabric) If using felt, you really don’t need a lining, so you’ll just want to buy enough contrast for the toes, heels, cuff and hanger.


Spray Adhesive (optional)

Cut List

For the Stocking body: Cut, using these stocking bottom and stocking top patterns, 2 bodies from outside fabric and 2 bodies from lining fabric

For the Heel and Toe: Cut, using this pattern, 2 heels and 2 toes from contrast fabric

For the Cuff: Cut one 8” x 15” rectangle from the contrast fabric

For the Hanger: Cut one 1.5” x 5” rectangle from the contrast fabric


Your first step is to satin stitch the heels and toes onto the outside stocking body pieces. Spray the wrong sides of all toes and heels lightly with spray adhesive. Stick them in place to the right sides of both outside stocking pieces. Satin stitch, on the inside edge only, toes and heels to stocking. Satin width approx 3, length 0.5-ish. *Note: If you’d like to interface the heel and toe pieces for more body, feel free to do so…we didn’t just for simplicity sake.


Now you will lay all your body pieces in the following order, from top to bottom: Outside body pieces on top, right sides together, then lining pieces beneath, right sides together.

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Pin all four layers together…this is where the magic happens. You will only stitch around once, combining all layers and, when you turn the stocking, it will be automatically lined! Brilliant! Stitch around entire stocking, 3/8” seam, leaving the top open.

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Next, clip your curves


Clipping your curves helps with turning. For inside (concave) curves, simply clip straight into the seam allowance, being sure not to clip your stitching. For outside (convex) curves, clip out triangle shapes all the way around the curve, again don’t clip your stitching. This reduces the bulky seam allowance which makes the curve more round and nice.

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Now the magic happens. To turn the stocking, reach inside the two outside stocking body pieces.

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Grab the toe, inside, and pull it all the way out the top.

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When the stocking is turned right side out, stick your hand back in there and poke out the heel and toe so it looks nice. Observe how the stocking is turned and lined all in one motion! How cool is that?! Give it a quick pressing at this point.

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Next, let’s get the cuff and hanger ready. Take your 8” x 15” cuff piece and fold it in half width wise. Pin the raw edges and stitch across, 3/8” seam.

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After stitching, open up the seam allowance and press open. Then fold the cuff, WRONG sides together, in half length-wise. The right sides should be on the outside and it’ll look like a finished cuff ready for installation.

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For the hanger, take your 1/5” x 5” rectangle and fold in 1/4” on each of the long sides. Press.

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Fold the hanger in half length-wise, containing the raw edges inside. Top stitch up both sides, making a nice sealed hanger.

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Fold the hanger in half and pin it to the INSIDE of the stocking at the heel seam, raw edges together.


Grab the cuff and place it INSIDE the stocking, over the hanger, and pin it in, raw edges together.


Now stitch around the top of the stocking, 3/8” seam. You’ll be stitching the cuff on and stitching the hanger in, in one motion.


Reach in and pull the cuff up and out of the stocking.


Then fold the cuff over the top, on the outside of the stocking. Your seam allowance is now hidden under the cuff. No need to finish it unless you want to zig-zag the edge. The only reason I would consider finishing that raw edge would be if I plan on washing the stocking often, otherwise You’re DONE!


How simple was that? You can make them for the whole family in one naptime. So super simple!


Our Awesome Austin Moms ended up sending 16 stocking to Christmas in Dixie. They all looked great and I hope they will bring joy to the recipients who lost everything in last summer’s tornadoes.


Happy Stocking Making!



Monday, November 28, 2011

Dino Tails

The other day I was watching Abigail for a couple of hours and she just kept snuggling Asher’s little stuffed Stegosaurus. I asked her if she wanted her own dino tail and she got so excited. So we went at played in the craftroom and whipped up a couple of tails using a tutorial by Jess of Running with Scissors.

Dino Tails

A few days later we had a great time wearing them at the Austin Children’s Museum which currently has a Dinosaur exhibit. Asher and Abigail had lots of fun and looked super cute

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This was a great tutorial. Asher is interested in costumes and dressing up right now so this tail is getting tons of use. He even likes to play “sleepy dino” which is really just taking a good nap while wearing the tail.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tutorial: Reusable Snack & Sandwich Bags

Cam received an excellent reusable sandwich bag for his birthday last year and since then I’ve been reusing and washing it at a constant pace. One day, while at Joann’s, I found a really unique fabric that seemed perfect for bibs, called Oil Canvas…different from oil cloth, oil canvas has a definite “canvas” weave look rather than the slick plasticated coating. One day while washing Cam’s sandwich bag for the 50th time, something snapped in my brain and I knew that yard of “bib” fabric would be perfect for more bags! Brilliant!


Not only that, we had a need for a smaller snack-sized bag. Cam’s school constantly threw away all my snack ziploc bags, so a smaller reusable bag would fix the waste problem.

Both bags are so easy. Here’s how to do it:

Supplies and Cut list:

Oil Canvas, for Sandwich Bag cut 15” x 7”, for Snack Bag cut 9” x 7”
Velcro, 7” for both bag styles

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*Note: Oil Canvas doesn’t ravel, so just turn down and stitch.*
To start, put a 3/8” hem in the 7” long edge. This applies to both bag styles. Then stitch on the hook portion of the velcro. For the sandwich bag, stitch the velcro 1 1/4” from the hem edge. For the snack bag, stitch the velcro 1/2” from the hem edge.

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Next you’ll make the pouch. For the sandwich bag, fold the velcro edge up 6”, right sides together. For the snack bag, fold the velcro edge up 3”, right sides together. Pin the edges and stitch along both edges 3/8”, being sure to backstitch well at each end since you will be washing and turning the bags often.

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Once seamed, turn the bag right side out. Next you’ll need to hem the remaining side seam, which makes up the flap part of the bag.

Note in the picture below, the larger bag flap side seams have been hemmed.

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You’ll need to work your presser foot inside the edge of the bag to start the side seam hem, as pictured, backstitch, and seam 3/8” up the edge. A pin might help get this process started.


The last two steps are to hem the top of the flap and attach the loop velcro. These steps can be combined. Grab your loop velcro in one hand and fold down the top edge 3/8” and then lay that velcro right at the edge over the hem. Get it under your presser foot and start stitching the very edge. Pin if needed.

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When you get to the end turn the corner and continue around the edge of the velcro til it’s all stitched down. You’ll notice this piece of velcro is longer than the bag, due to the original cut being 7”. Since you’ve already hemmed the sides you’ll have excess velcro to cut off on one or both ends. No worries, just snip it off and YOU’RE DONE!


The sandwich size bag fits standard bread slices and the snack is about half that size.

Cool bags for school, playdates or gifts. Your friends will be envious, so make them some! YAY!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

56 Monkeys


The Craft hope project 15 Deadline is just 2 days away. Today we drove up to Georgetown to drop them off. A big thank you to the Awesome Austin Moms and the Art students and teachers of Westwood and Cedar Ridge High school. 

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We hope all these monkeys find a great home. Especially these creative guys from Cedar Ridge.


Thanks Jade for your wonderful website. I can’t wait to see what you have lined up for us in 2012.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blankets for Brother

It’s a rainy day, Asher is a school and I have the itch to make something quick and easy. Specifically something for Ash’s brother (coming soon). So I thought of all the presents that we received when Asher was born and the one that has gotten the most use in the past 3 years was actually the very first gift. My sister’s sister and mother-in-law (I call them my non-in-laws) sent a homemade oversized receiving blanket. Measuring 39 inches square it quickly became the only blanket large enough to swaddle my very long baby boy. It was even the blanket used on the birth announcement.  Almost 3 years later, he still uses it for napping at school. That is some serious longevity for a newborn gift. Birth announcement

So I decided to make a few large blankets using flannels I found at Joanns. To get the biggest blanket I could I bought a length of fabric equal to the width 42 or 44 inches depending on the selvage. I prewashed, cursed at the skewed cutting job, ironed and cut the largest square I could. On two of them I did a 1/2 inch double folded hem and the other 2 got a homemade bias tape trim.

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Now brother will have 4 (5 if I can get Asher’s away from him) giant blankets waiting for him and I have a sense of accomplishment for the day.